This weekend’s three day event held in Pismo Beach, California, attracted hundreds of kiteboarders from across the US and Canada for the chance to demo tons of gear from many of the kiteboarding brands on hand. Considered the best demo in the US, this year’s event was also a fundraiser and celebration of life for the event’s founder, Kinsley ThomasWong of Xtreme Big Air, who transitioned on March 13, 2016.
After Friday’s intense conditions, Saturday was much mellower with winds in the low to mid 20’s and surf in the shoulder to head high range. Participants got to try out a wider range of kites in more playful conditions throughout the day, demoing everything from 9 to 17m kites and a wide variety of twin tip and directional boards.
Following a full day of riding, a raffle was held for participants competing in the “Brand Demo competition” with winners taking claim to various prizes that included everything from Best Kiteboarding waterproof shoulder bags to the grand prize of DaKine’s new C1 Harness. Spectators also had the chance to bid on items in a silent auction that included various artwork by local artists, a F-One surfboard, an AXIS Kapua, multiple twin tips, Epic Screamer, Best GP, cases of wine and two of Patrick Rebstock’s personal surfboards. As the sun started to set, the smell of Maui Mike’s famous beach-side BBQ chicken engulfed the area and hungry kiteboarders lined up for some great food. The BBQ was followed by a raging beach bonfire with music, memories, and good times shared by all.
With super favorable winds, WOO Sports held an Xtreme Big Air Competition on Friday and Saturday. Riders boosted some amazing airs with DJ Guacamole (Best, AXIS) taking the win with the height of 12.3m. Coming in second place was Andy Holmes (Blade) with 10.5m and third was Peter Israel with 10.0m. Overall results are listed below.
On Sunday morning the winds calmed to a slight breeze and a memorial service was held at the Pismo KiteXpo event site for Kinsley. One of the early kiteboarders in the United States, Kinsley started the first IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) Certified Kiteboarding School in the nation in 1999 with an Advanced Kiteboarding Instructor rating. Many of Kinsley’s friends and family gathered to remember and pay tribute to a man who brought so much positive energy to this community and industry. Afterwards, a paddle out was held at Shell Beach with plenty of good stories shared by all that knew him.
A big thank you to all the brands, volunteers, silent auction donors and participants that came to this Expo including AXIS, Airush, Best, Cabrinha, Blade, Dakine, North, Loyd Surfboards, Litewave Designs, Ozone, SAKOS Apparel, Slingshot, Liquid Force, F-One and WOO Sports, Merinda Brown, Hunter Kilpatrick, Vincent Shay, Peter Dohi, Maui Mike and many others — without you this great event would not have been possible for the last 14 years.
The kiteboarding industry, local businesses and friends came together and donated over $20K in goods and services to help the fundraising efforts for Kinsley’s wife Jamie, and 5-1/2 year old son Taizen. In total, $30,312 was raised to help the ThomasWong family with Kinsley’s medical/memorial costs and Taizen’s future. An anonymous donor will be matching all winning bids for the silent auction bringing the fundraising efforts to $40,312. The Kiteboarder is proud to part of such an amazing community and thank you all for your generosity, big hearts and support. #LiveLikeKinsley