Wrap up courtesy IKA
After four days of spectacular racing at Crissy Field, San Francisco, Johnny Heineken (USA, Ozone/Mike’sLab) and his sister Erika (USA, Ozone/MikesLab) have taken the North American continental titles. The podium was completed by Bryan Lake (USA) and Riccardo Leccese (ITA) for the men, and Nuria Goma (ESP) and Catherine Dufour (CAN) in the womens fleet.
The final day of racing was split into the Silver, Gold, and Platinum fleets. The Silver fleet contained thirty seven racers vying for the Silver podium. Andrew Wong from Canada pulled out some stellar racing to take top of the podium for the Silver fleet. Nico Landauer of Uruguay gave a great battle for second with local Kevin Growney of San Francisco taking third. The battle was tight as Nico and Kevin tied for points and the person with the best score in the last race gets the tie breaker.
The Gold Fleet was split into Gold and Platinum fleets for the final day. Platinum riders were the top ten riders of the event at the end of the third day with the Gold Fleet riders battling for the remaining positions from rank 11. What a battle it turned out to be! Wilson Veloso from Paraiba, Brasil, came out strong. His initial points lead from the prior days put him solidly in eleventh overall (separation point from Platinum). The Gold Fleet races proved to be off the charts competitive as Jhon Mora from West Bay, Grand Cayman, came out and jammed the fleet with two firsts for the day in the Gold fleet. This put him fourteenth overall, tying with Stefano Rista from Canada for thirteenth. That is how close the racing was all week. Mora and Rista both tied in point’s scores with Rista taking thirteenth due to a better last race. Second in the Gold Fleet races was clinched by Alejandro Climent Hernandez from Valencia, Spain, putting him twelfth overall.
Erika Heineken from San Francisco powered into the final day by being the only woman in the Gold Fleet. Her power and speed on the water placed her twenty ninth overall, clinching her the title for the women’s fleet. Nuria Goma from Barcelona, Spain, took second. Catherine Dufour from Quebec Canada battled with Goma the whole way, separated by only five points to took third overall.
The top ten sailors after the final series lined up to hash out who was going to be the Kiteboard Course Racing North American Champion. The talent and athleticism of these racers means they blasted off the start line on all four heats. These racers were fast and close, like watching formula one auto racing wheel to wheel.
Johnny Heineken and Bryan Lake went into the finals both with the possibility of clinching the overall win based on points. Heineken made several mistakes but recovered to take the Platinum Bullet in each of the four heats. Lake was right on his heels making sure Heineken felt the pressure. Lake kept the pressure on for all four heats battling it out with Riccardo Andrea Leccese from Italy. Lake and Leccese swapped out second and third for all four heats. Lake came into the Platinum Fleet with a few less points, clinching second overall, with Leccese taking third. The rest of the Platinum fleet played out as Brian Kender, Adam Koch, Blazej Ozog, Joey Pasquali, Tomek Janiak, Sky Solbach, and Tybur Reed finished out the series in that order.
The media coverage and professionalism of the entire event was top notch. Jamy Donaldson provided a live feed during the entire event on LiveStream.com. Michael Petrikov took many amazing photos all week, along with so many others. The St. Francis Yacht Club Race Office, headed by Robbie Dean, has all the bases covered and kept the racing flowing with all the heats and racers. Jessica Barhydt deftly and quickly organized and posted results. John Craig from America’s Cup acting as Principal Race Officer continued to provide invaluable leadership.
Thanks to all the sponsors including RRD, Live2Kite, UltraNectar, Wind Over Water, Patagonia, friends, family, and all donators of time and effort. The St. Francis Yacht Club supports and promotes this sport and all sailing like no other. Every racer, participant, volunteer, and associated individual has built this event and the kiting community into one of the best world class competitions.