Day four of the La Ventana Classic started with dark ominous skies, wind outside of the channel and a building swell lapping on the shores of the beachside town. The first kite event of the day was course foil racing under fairly strong conditions. Athletes continued the battle from the previous two days to complete a total of 12 races. Nico Landauer, who had taken first place in all of the races so far, decided not to compete during the last race, giving another competitor the chance for a first place win. In a neck and neck battle, Adam Withington took his first first place of the contest.
The day continued with the second day of slalom course racing. Yesterday’s race that could not be scored due to the chaos caused by kite tangles was rerun for an official result. At first the wind was at a different angle than the previous day, but the course had not been reset. Because of this, the first two competitors didn’t clear the mark and had to tack back and duck below the fleet that then saw the error of the leader’s heading. The carnage continued as Evan Netsch and Grom Gormley wrapped kites just after crossing the finish line.
In the second race, the foil kiters graced the waters on old race gear hoping to smoke the guys on twin tips, but it was the twin tippers who pulled through and took the win.
Earlier in the day the SUP competitors loaded up the vans and drove north to Las Cruces to begin the eight mile downwinder. The start of the race was staged at the infamous private resort of Las Cruces which had once played host to Desi Arnez, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Contestants paddled the pristine coastline with a morning chill and a difficult sideshore wind through the first quarter of the trip, but as the athletes made the corner and headed into the Hot Springs beach the wind was at their back for the home stretch. With no other paddler in sight, Anthony Vela shortstroked and surfed his way to the finish line in just over an hour and forty minutes. Shortly after, Jeremy Vaine appeared on the horizon for a second place finish. Women’s first place finisher, Sky Robin, beat out most of the men and landed on the beach in 4th place overall.
In the afternoon, spectators watched some of the most technical riding ever seen at the Hot Springs. The winds picked up and most athletes were able to ride their 10m kites. The qualifying pro heats were stacked with big name riders including Evan Netsch, Anthar Racca, Rocky Chatwell, Reed Brady and Adam Withington. Each rider’s bag of tricks was unique but most included KGBs, Slim5s and lofty airs to stoke out the crowd.
In between qualifiers, semis and finals, the Sportsmen stepped it up for their heat and the women in both the Sportswomen and women’s Competitor categories threw down.
The controversy of the day was when Adam Withington, this week’s crowd favorite and pioneer of freestyle on a foilboard, did not advance into the finals. However, the technical ability of Anthar, Evan, Rocky and Reed all proved the semi-final talent pool was worthy of a ticket to the final showdown. The deciding heat included big lofty airs, back mobes and a series of powered heart attacks by Anthar. With razor thin margins in scoring, the judges decided to withhold the results, to build anticipation for tomorrow’s two-man super final.
The night’s activity was a pizzafeast at Delaney’s followed by a beachfront dance party with music by The Hot Parrot Band.