On January 31, the 6th Annual Jupiter Kiteboarding Invasion went off in great conditions.  North winds from a cold front that came through late Friday afternoon brought 20 – 25 knots and a nice little swell with waist to overhead waves.  It was a bit cold for us wimpy Florida people with air temps in the 50s to 60s.  Heck I actually had to buy a full suit!  The early rounds featured 6 man heats that had 3 wave contestants and 3 freestyle contestants competing in 8 minute heats.  Once the early rounds were finished, heats were run in each discipline with 4 contestants.  It was an interesting format and the event coordinators did a great job of running the heats.

It was really impressive to see the number of strapless riders in the event.  The turnout was quite good and between the amateur and pro divisions there were at least 30 people signed up in the surf category.  The majority of them were riding strapless surfboards and a few skimboards too!

For those of you that do not know, Jupiter is Jon Modica’s home break, and he was on fire during the whole event.  He was really showing off his impressive strapless skills and defending his turf impressively.  The wind was definitely a bit of a challenge on the inside as the wind was slightly offshore at times, which made the riding right in front of the judges a challenge.  It was clear that Jon’s local knowledge and skill played a big part in his success.

Maui standout and professional rider Cameron Dietrich also happened to have been in Florida so he also showed up to rip some Jupiter waves.  Unfortunately, he broke his fin box in his first heat, and  decided borrow a 5′ 7″ S-Quad.

Another rider that was really impressive strapless was Hamish McDonald, who was ripping it hard and very creatively.  He would come in on a wave and unhook and just hold on to his chicken loop or suicide leash – then he would purely surf the wave and loop his kite if necessary.  He was also going for a super sick kiteloop transition that he just missed a few times.

Overall, it was a great day had by all.  It was super inspiring to watch all the riders, and it was super cool to see the movement of strapless riders coming out of the woodwork in a big way.  Great job by all at the event staff. Also, former Miami ripper, and now Jupiter transplant Melissa Gill also lost the straps and dominated the Women’s surf division.  Way to go Melissa!

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