The 2016 La Ventana WindFest kicked off on Tuesday evening with a pool-side party with local DJs for competitors. After the recent competitions, the La Ventana Classic and the Lord of the Wind in Los Barrels, competitors were eager to sign up and battle for medals out on the water.
The first day provided strong winds with the wind speed increasing throughout the day. Five Course Races were successfully run in the morning for hydrofoils with Ejder Ginyol placing first in all races. Fifteen year old Fred Hope was right on his heels as a close second in all races.
Slalom Racing commenced immediately after the foil races, with three slalom races for each of the three fleets. The races were quick and intense, filled with kite tangles as riders got aggressive around the buoys. Augustin Tapia from Guadalajara was consistently battling with San Francisco Bay Area rider, Fritz Otiker for first place.
With the wind peaking mid-afternoon in typical La Ventana style, Freestyle took centerstage of the competition and 5 heats were completed. Juan Pablo Tron of Puerto Vallarta, wowed the crowd with KGBs and Blind Judge 3s. Mantas Zemgulis had the best crash of the day when he landed onto the beach taking out a group of dogs that were playing near the shore. La Ventana local Luis Diego Geraldo was throwing down with an F16 as well as a Back Move to top off all his other tricks.
Day two began with a lighter wind that was steadily building out of the north. In the long distance Downwinder, 33 competitors raced from the Hot Springs Beach to the event site. Top competitors finished the 7 mile race in 30 minutes as the wind slowed a bit during competition. Event Organizer, Xantos Villegas, broke a line on his final tack of the race. A fine display of sportsmanship was exhibited by Fred Hope in checking on a downed competitor before resuming racing to take first place riding a hydrofoil. Luis Diego followed in second place, and also taking the first for the twin tip category.
Big Air was the main event in the afternoon with 18 competitors, and the wind didn’t disappoint. Fritz Otiker took centre stage with an impressive 6.43 second hang time, advancing him into the finals. Luis Diego came from behind and was able to hit a 7.44 second hang time in the semi-finals, the the longest of the whole competition. Rita Kneib took the ladies heat with 4.75 second jump, and safely headed into the finals. After recent controversy about foil boards and foil kites in Big Air, the WindFest judges created separate category and required a minimum of three entrants to compete. Xantos Villegas, Fred Hope, and Jon Von Tesmar rallied to put on a foiling Big Air show.
Day three will began with three Course Races for the hydrofoils while the wind was still building, with Edjar Ginyol leading the pack. By the time Slalom Races began, the wind was huge and stayed the rest of the day. Agustin and Craig Asher were fighting for first place in all the heats.
The Freestyle finals began immediately after the races, with Agustin and Juan Pablo getting into the most dramatic tangle of the day in front of the judging station. Luis Diego, Miguel Tamayo, Fritz Otter, and Andres Tapia from Guadalajara, all made it into the final round to be the champ. Fritz, Miguel, and Andres threw out a few Back 2 Reverse tricks among many.Luis Diego pulled out all the stops with an S3, followed by and F16, then wowed the crowed with a Blind Judge 3 and topping it off with an L3. Miguel impressed the judges with a Shifty 3 and a Late Back Mobe. We will see who wins the finals at the awards ceremony tonight.
The strong winds remained strong for the Big Air Men’s finals to commence. Guacamole, Agustin Tapia, Fritz, Luis Diego, and Sebastian Tron from Puerto Vallarta, all made it to the Final round and were giving it their all. The women’s category will be held Saturday before the awards ceremony along with the finals.
The final day of WindFest is today. Course Racing and Slalom will be first, and followed by the Women’s Big Air Finals. Join the Proyecto X After Party at Marlin Azul. Awards start at 7pm, followed by the hottest Salsa band in La Paz, with DJ Zeling, closing out the evening with a dance party. Gifts and prizes will be given out, so don’t miss it!