The 2012 La Ventana Classic and KiteXpo has come to a close and the La Ventana wind machine delivered perfect conditions for the last day of the event. After a few days of light wind, there was a lot to accomplish on the last day of the event and the schedule was filled with SUP races, kiteboarding/windsurfing course racing, the Big Air/Old School competition, live auction, huge raffle, and an awards ceremony at Pizza Vela. All of that and more was accomplished while raising more money than ever for the schools and community of La Ventana and El Sargento.

A lot of people heard our plea for help after it became apparent that the La Ventana Classic was being gouged by the local government for taxes and fees that were suddenly imposed on the event and the afterburners were lit on our fundraising efforts. Many vendors generously donated gear for a last minute live auction that raised nearly $6,000 on the last day of the event and helped to push the total to $23,500 USD.

This is the amount of money that will be spent on community projects here in La Ventana and El Sargento over the next year. This $23,500 is the amount of money left after the government taxes and fees and is the most money ever raised by this event in a single year.

Sunday started with an early morning 1-Mile SUP sprint race before the wind arrived and Stephen “Esteban” Winiarski came out on top. After the race Anthony Vela and Candice Appleby began a Performance Paddling clinic that participants said was full of amazing information.

As the wind filled in to the beach, the course racers were sent out to begin racing as the KiteXpo vendors set up kites in preparation of a full day of gear demos. The wind went from light to strong in a hurry and course racing was put on hold to begin the Big Air/Old School contest.

The Big Air/Old School contest is the definite crowd pleaser of the La Ventana Classic. The judging was heavily based on going big with jump height worth 60% of the judging total. The contest finished with two exciting final heats to decide the men and women’s winners and the judges at a very tough time choosing the winners. After much deliberation, it was newcomer Brandon Bowe and reigning champion Michelle Gabriel that came out on top.

Immediately after the completion of Big Air, the course racers were sent back on the water to get in as many races as possible before the wind died. By the time the wind shut off, eight races had been completed giving the racers a total of 11 races for the event. After the results were calculated, Adam Koch and Erika Heineken found themselves on the top of the podium.

While the course racing was still happening, the 5-mile SUP Downwinder was started upwind of the event sight and the paddlers began finishing just as the wind began to die. Yet again, Anthony Vela and Candice Appleby were the first to finish.

With the day’s water events done, the action moved to the beach to raise as much money as possible before the closing of the event. The auction was put together with a single day’s notice and a huge thank you goes out to the kiteboarding industry and brands that support the La Ventana Classic. By bringing the KiteXpo to this event, they have contributed a huge amount to the fundraising efforts since 2008. A very special thanks goes to Liquid Force, F-One/Underwave, and Slingshot for donating $200 each to the cause.

The following companies heard our plea for help, stepped up big time to the plate, and donated gear for the auction: Liquid Force  (Twin Skim), F-One (Manera twin tip and surfboard bags), Slingshot (Verve 6’ surfboard), Wainman Hawaii (137 Blunt), Best Kiteboarding (Armada twin tip), Airush (Crossover 135 twin tip), and the GRAND AUCTION ITEM, a 11m Ozone Edge courtesy of Ozone designer Rob Whitall. SUP boards were donated to the auction donated by Baja Waterman and SUP Mexico. Also, Carol and Tony Bolstad donated a one-week stay in South Padre Island and a personalized painting from Carol. The La Ventana Classic is incredibly thankful for your generosity – Thanks for your support!

The final day of the raffle was begun immediately after the auction and some of the largest prizes had been saved for this day. The top prizes throughout the event included a Surfboard from Best Kiteboarding, Underground FLX Twin Tip, Slingshot Darko Twin Tip, three Mystic Shadow Harnesses from Mystic/Live2Kite, Liquid Force Spinlock Comp Harness, Naish Harness, and the grand prize, a 2012 Wainman Hawaii 10.5m Rabbit Punch.

Jill Stevens, the winner of the Wainman Punch was literally in tears after her name was announced. We want to thank each of the brands that contributed to the raffle as your donations were crucial to this year’s fundraising efforts. Thank you very much for your support!

Even after all of that, they day was not finished. The party moved to Pizza Vela for the 2012 La Ventana Classic Awards Ceremony. After a lot of great food, good drink, and a slideshow of photos from the event, competitors were brought up on stage to receive their awards and prize money. The awards for this event are truly unique as they have each been hand-painted by local schoolchildren.

The party went well into the night and many people made it past midnight, a rarity here in this sleepy town. Today participants and organizers are recovering from a full four days of activities where once again we were able to have a lot of fun and do a lot of good for the local community at the same time. See you next year for the 2013 La Ventana Classic and KiteXpo!

Huge Thanks to all of our Sponsors!

GOLD: Hands of Faith, Pelican Reef

SILVER: Slingshot, Dakine, Baja Joe’s, ECO Design and Build, SUP Mexico

BRONZE: Sol Kiteboarding, Captain Kirks, Elevation Kiteboarding, Scenic Charms, Mystic, Wainman Hawaii, Surfcraft Paddleboards, La Ventana Bay Properties, Palapas La Choya, Morris Olson Attorneys, Oregon Screen Impressions, Isle Surfboards, Patagonia, Teva, Best Kiteboarding, Ventana Windsports

VENDOR-LEVEL: Diamante Real Estate, Kite Line, Underground, Team Duke, La Ventana Experience Wind Center, Naish, Downwinder Inn, RRD, F-One, Airush, Baja Boardriders, Cabrihna, NPX, Pizza Vela, Liquid Force, North, Artwork A-Go-Go, Caracol

PRIZE-LEVEL: KL Reggae,, Kaenon Sunglasses, Mini Super Don Ruben, Mini Super Irene, New Wind Kiting, Palapas Ventana, Rico Baja Sail Repair, El Rincon de La Bahia (Joaquins), Ventanas del Sol (the roundhouse), Ventana Windsports, Viento del Norte (Pablos), YoYo, 4 Hermanos Mini Super, Abarrotes Pili, Aceites y Lubricantes Chaloy, Adobe Restaurante, Amigo Pancho, Abarrotes La Noira, Artesanios La Mixteca, Los Bandidos, BMG, Capt. Kirk, El Moy Ferreteria, Hamburguesas Andrea, Hot Dogs el Pedro, Hot Dogs Rosalba, Latte Café y Star Market, Lavandaria Las Palmas, Lavandaria Rossy, Mariscos El Cone, Mini Super Bella Vista, Mini Super Los Delfines, Mini Super Ballenas, Miscelanea Carnalito, Palapas La Choya, Pepe Pollo, Pescaderia Perla, Pizza Vela, Purificada el Mezquite, Restaurante Las Palmas, Servimaterial el Sargento, Tacos La Torre, Tacos Leon, Tortilleria Las Brisas, Ultramarino Oscaritos, Kiteboarding Baja

We would also like to give recognition to volunteer organizer Shirley Alderson. Without her and her team of dedicated helpers, that handled everything from registration to medical to raffle and t-shirt sales and more, this event would not be possible.

A big thanks additionally goes out to Baja Joe’s, Ventana Windsports, Coya’s Restaurant, Flying High Resort, and the private homeowners for letting us take over their beach for the event! Tim and Jimena Hatler and everyone at Palapas Ventana deserve a very special thanks for their hard work and dedication managing the event and subsequent projects year round. Thank you to Santiago Olachea of La Ventana Home Services, providing the best possible services to clients in all areas of  doing business in Mexico, who tabulates and handles all our race, SUP, and crossing stats and results which is no small endeavor!

2012 La Ventana Classic Results

La Ventana Classic 11-Mile Island Crossing

Fastest Crossing
1. Tyson Poor (windsurfer)
2. Johnny Heineken (kiteboarder)
3. Bryan Lake (kiteboarder)

Men Kiteboarding
1. Johnny Heineken
2. Bryan Lake
3. Damien LeRoy

Women Kiteboarding
1. Erika Heineken
2. Marie LeClerc
3. Rachel Callahan

Paddle Royale 10-mile SUP Crossing

1. Anthony Vela, 2:03:10
2. Mark “Kiwi” Fields, 2:07:49
3. Jason Martenese, 2:12:21

1. Candice Appleby, 2:03:20
2. Terri Plunkett, 2:22:50
3. Diane Wenzel, 2:31:09

2-Mile SUP Race

1. Anthony Vela
2. Candice Appleby
3. Stephen Winiarski
4. Jason Martenese
5. Roberto Avena

1-Mile SUP Race

1. Stephen Winiarski
2. Morgan Mason
3. Jason Martenese

SUP 5-Mile Downwinder

1. Anthony Vela
2. Stephen Winiarski
3. Mark “Kiwi” Fields

1. Candice Appleby (second overall)
2. Terri Plunkett
3. Diane Wenzel

Big Air/Old School

1. Brandon Bowe
2. Damien LeRoy
3. Julian Kerner

1. Michelle Gabriel
2. Brittany Todd
3. Kris Kinn

Course Racing

Men Kite
1. Adam Koch
2. Johnny Heineken
3. Bryan Lake

Women Kite
1. Erika Heineken
2. Alexis Aguera
3. Colleen Carroll

1. Steve Bodner
2. Lyn Preutt