The final day of the Lord of the Wind (LOTW) event in Barriles was blessed with strong wind offering a fantastic finale to an exciting four days of competitions, demos, and parties.
Several competitors brought foilboards to the event giving spectators a taste of what is to come in racing and perhaps other disciplines in kiteboarding as well. Training for one month in Maui with the support of Paulo Rista and Alex Aguera before heading to San Francisco to further log hours with Adam Koch and Bryan Lake, La Ventana local Adam Withington had only a little over 4 months of foiling under his belt before entering the Lord of the Wind event. Withington rode his foil in both course and slalom racing, impressing the crowd with his finesse, style and control while throwing in freestyle moves as he practiced between heats. Not to be outdone, Adam Koch also wowed both spectators and judges by using a foilboard in the big air competition — and not only going huge — but adding multiple rolls and spins in old school style, earning the first place finish with a hangtime of 5.27 seconds.
Because foiling is so new to racing, and event organizers had no idea what to expect, event rules stated that foils were only allowed in the Lord of the Wind race competition. Adam Withington’s desire to compete in a variety of disciplines to showcase what a foil could do cost him a DSQ from the final event. This left fellow competitors Bryan Lake and Adam Koch with one less competitor for the foil division for the LOTW Race, where there was a three competitors minimum to make up a class. Florida local Zach Marks, a race competitor who recently started foiling, was enticed to enter the foil division from his fellow competitors with the reasoning that if he could also finish the course on the foil, he would be guaranteed a third place winning and $125. Marks agreed to compete so foilboarding could be showcased and completed the race in 8th place overall. Withington raced as a non competitor starting behind the fleet. Lake was in the lead on his foil until his last tack when he crashed just seconds from the finish line, allowing Withington to catch him at the end. Guadalajara rider Santiago Ramirez came in first for the non-foil/conventional board class, no easy feat as he had competed in every event the previous day and the final course races before the LOTW race on Sunday. He also ended the week with the men’s freestyle finals and big air/hangtime afterwards! A great sportsman and ambassador for the sport, Lake made an eloquent speech at the awards ceremony about what it was like to race on a foil versus a raceboard, his thoughts throughout the race, and he acknowledged Withington’s participation. Withington’s DSQ and Lake’s inopportune crash are all part of what makes up racing. It can be anyone’s game until the final results are tallied and any DSQs or protests can affect the outcome, as happened in this race.
Following the Lord of the Wind race, the men’s freestyle finals were held followed by the big air/hangtime competition. The crowd was not disappointed as competitors threw down with technical precision and sent it to go as big as they could. Cabrinha’s Evan Netsch claimed first place in the men’s freestyle for the second year in a row. In big air/hangtime Best team rider Rachel Callahan claimed first for the women clocking in with a time of 4.28 seconds, and as mentioned previously, Koch took first placeimpressing the crowd with his smooth big air moves (and crashes!) on his foil. Equally impressive was Turks and Caicos rider Hope LeVin who made quite an impression on the crowd and judges with a signature style and technicality that earned her a first place finish in the women’s freestyle finals on Saturday. We look forward to seeing more from Hope, an up and coming Naish pro rider who has been kiteboarding since age 11 and made her North American debut at the 2013 Triple S.
Slingshot sponsored the closing night party with entertainment provided by Los Barriles’ most popular band, Flatdog. A delicious and huge Mexican buffet was provided by sponsor, Buena Vista Beach Resort. TKB got to stay at the resort — an intimate, family run property — and gives it a heartfelt thumbs up. The hospitality of the Valdez family, the creations of chef “Elmo”, the huge natural spring hot tub and abundant fresh, hot showers were very appreciated after longs days of sun, wind, demos and competitions.
This event would not have been possible without the support of main sponsor Annex Brands, the Rotary Club Los Barriles Club Este and their army of volunteers, race director Wiley Nisbet, and outgoing Rotary president Steve Fowler, along with his wife Barbara, who worked tirelessly to coordinate this year’s Lord of the Wind Showdown.
Special thanks to Dakine for providing the competitor jerseys, Exotikite Kiteboarding for sacrificing their beachfront, Airush, Best, Cabrinha, Core, North and Slingshot for supporting the KiteXpo demo and stoking out riders with free demos on all their new 2014 gear.
Emcee Grom and his partner Rachel Callahan, Megan of Exotikite, Steve and Barbara Fowler, incoming Rotary president Felipe Valdez of Buena Vista Beach Resort and TKB staff met for a wrap up and brainstorming meeting after the event and have some very exciting changes and plans for 2015. Mark your calendar for next year’s event in January – it’s going to be sick!
For results only, see here
Wrap up video https://vimeo.com/85161754
Lord of the Wind website: www.lordofthewindbaja.com