Los Barriles, Baja Mexico, was once again the host for the annual Lord of the Wind Showdown and conditions did not disappoint. Now in it’s 3rd year, this year’s event was held from January 10-15, 2013 with wind averaging 22-28 knots daily.
Day one had organizers a bit concerned as they stood on the beach looking at dead calm water and not a breath of wind. Then, as often happens in Baja, on the horizon they saw a hint of a wind line and within 30 minutes a 15 knot breeze reached the beach and the Lord of the Wind Showdown was officially off to a start!
Sixty competitors ranging in age from 12 to 73 registered for the event competing in Elite men and women, Open men and women, and Master men and women divisions for both kiteboarding and windsurfing competitions. Total Prize money for the event was $10,000 with the top prize for the LOTW Showdown at $1,000. Evening festivities rounded out the days with a reggae band at Buena Vista Resort kicking off the first night and selling out to 220 people. The second party held at Palmas De Cortez was a pig roast with music and dancing continuing into the night with over 250 people attending.
An additional highlight of the event was the kids kite flying contest. Rotary bought 150 kites and had the local kids decorate them in advance. On Sunday morning they had over 100 local children at the beach flying the decorated kites on the beach with their families. After the kite flying each child was rewarded with a medal for participation and a pancake breakfast.
New for 2013, The Kiteboarder Magazine coordinated the LOTW Kitexpo with 11 different companies participating offering demos of all their new toys to experienced riders. Locals and visitor alike were stoked to be able to try out the new gear, conveniently located in one place. Monday served up ideal demo conditions but the demo was canceled the next day and has been dubbed by some locals as “Big Tuesday”. The waves were the biggest many locals had seen in over 10 years with wind varying from 10-40. Conditions steadied out a bit toward the end of the day so some exhibitors returned to the beach to demo while others headed to La Ventana for the Demo Kite Week event going on there from January 16-20.
In the end, the Lord of the Wind Showdown earned over $15,000 to be used to build a computer technology center for the kids of Los Barriles. The technology center will open Februrary 24 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and will house seven new computers, desks, printers and a dedicated staff to assist the community. The center will have dedicated hours for local kids but when not in use, then any permanent resident will have access.
This event would not have been possible without the organizational expertise of Steve Fowler from Rotary International Los Barriles as well as the tireless efforts of the many volunteers needed to run an event of this magnitude. Special thanks to all sponsors including Title sponsor Annex Brands; Government sponsors BCS tourist department and La Paz tourism department; Hotel sponsors Buena Vista Beach Resort and Las Palmas De Cortez; and Industry sponsors Exotikite, Dakine, Cabrinha, Elemental Herbs, and The Kiteboarder Magazine. For complete details on winners and more, see www.lordofthewindbaja.com