The forecast for the 6th Annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer event called for strong wind and thunderstorms and the day delivered as promised, and then some! The morning started with overcast and somewhat ominous skies but the wind kicked in and the kite derby was off shortly after 10 am.
This year’s course was new as co-organizer Gregg Gnecco and emcee Kevin Murray played with course buoys at least 14 times before coming up with a 2-mile course they were happy with. The course started on the Washington side with a slight upwind leg, followed by a fast downwind leg with a turning buoy directly in front of the Event Site before riders headed back out to another upwind buoy before lapping the course again.
Seeing more than 100 racers coming directly toward the crowd gathered on the grass was a sight to see and spectators and competitors alike hooted and raised their arms in pure stoke as they passed the crowd.
The wind got progressively lighter and inconsistent over the next hour. As kites started dropping around the course like flies, race directors called a hold on the competition until conditions got better.
Within the hour, whitecaps built once again, the skies parted to sunny skies, and the kite derby was off to its second start of the day to the cheers of the crowd. Conditions varied throughout the rest of the event with riders using everything from 5 to 12m kites and mostly directional boards.
The challenge of the day was for kiters to keep their kites in the air when conditions got light as they neared the turning buoy at the Event Site. Dubbed the Black Hole by KB4C veteran Tony Bolstad, competitors looped, sined, and did everything they could to keep their kites filled with air and off the water.
In the end, this may have been the difference between the winners and the losers as the winner Grom Gormley (with 45 laps, close to 90 miles!), never once dropped his kite.
Kiteboarding 4 Cancer is a truly amazing event that brings kiters together for a cause that has touched each of us in some way. Thank you to the community of Hood River, event founders Tonia Farman and Garret Zalen, and the army of volunteers that make this event what it is.
Special thanks to title sponsor Patagonia as well as 2nd Wind Sports, Apple Valley BBQ, Cabrinha, DaKine, Full Sail Ale, Liquid Force, North, Oregon Scientific, Providence Hospital, Slingshot, Native, Team Duke/John Wayne Cancer Foundation, Kinesys Performance Sunscreen, Emergenc-C, Cascade Kiteboarding, Solo Sports, Naish, Palapas Ventana, and Coast to Coast Event Services for their support.
Today’s activities include for Sunday, July 15th:
- 10-11:30 am: Relay Race Late Registration
- Noon: Relay on the Green 4-Person Team Relay Race
- 2:30 pm: Relay Race Awards
- 3:30 pm: Travel Raffle
- 4:00 pm: KB4C Fundraising Awards
- 4:30 pm: Estimated Event Close
KITE DERBY RESULTS:
Derek Fermin: 30 laps
- Rachel Callahan 26 laps
- Carol Bolstad 23 laps
- Jadee deLillie 18 laps
- Team Blade Kiteboarding 37 laps; tied Team Liquid Force and Team Exotikite both 35 laps each
- Grom 45 laps
- Jan Boerssna 38 laps
- Scott Edgar, Phillip Schlohger 32 laps each
- Nick Ward 31 laps