The El Norte blew through the night putting texture on the water even before the sun rose on the 2nd day of the 2017 La Ventana Classic. thekellerwhale_JasonHudson_IMG_6527Strong winds and huge swell rendered sea unsafe for a crossing. The SUP crossing was cancelled the morning of but replaced with a series of mini downwinders. Paddlers competed in two four mile downwinders from the Hot Springs to Palapas Ventana as a collective of seven men and women combined. thekellerwhale_JasonHudson_IMG_6628In the first race, girl power prevailed and it was Bonnie Fromm who beat all the male competitors to the finish line with Mike Dillon and Norm Beddows close behind. Bonnie came in first followed by Ella Johnson in the women’s division and it was Mike Dillon, Norm Beddows and Gary Martin who placed first, second and third respectively in the men’s category.thekellerwhale_JasonHudson_JKH_0714In the second SUP downwinder of the day, Dave Beddows placed first and beat out his dad, Norm Beddows who took third while Mike Dillon squeezed in in second place. For the women it was Hood River’s Bonnie Fromm who took her second first of the day and was followed by Mary Rose Kissenger in second. thekellerwhale_JasonHudson_JKH_1193Foil racing got underway around 10:30am and it was Joey Pasquali who lead the pack and dominated all four races of the day. Maxed out on their 7 and 9m kites the race became very technical as the swells were taller than their masts, therefore, riders couldn’t simply cruise over the water but had to ride the ups and downs and really pay attention to their hight, making sure they didn’t foil up and out of a swell. This event saw more crashes than ever before in LVC history proving that the riders were really pushing it to their utmost limits.thekellerwhale_JasonHudson_IMG_6765

The last and final event of the day got underway with a Boardercross/Slalom where riders completed two laps from the beach to a buoy and back. A unique start that required riders to begin on the beach with a hand on the dry sand combined with a gnarly beach break and little awareness as to when their start would be called left anticipation levels high and led to multiple kite wraps and crashes along the starting line. Even throughout all the carnage, sportsmanship levels still remained high. Highlights were the women’s heat where eight girls battled it out; Justi Vonda and Rachel Callahan each winning a heat, and for the men, it was Los Barriles’ Mac Scaggs who led the way and won both of his heats. With conditions bigger, stronger and gnarlier than the La Ventana Classic has ever seen, all competitors stepped up to the plate for a fantastic day of on water competition.

Photos: Jason Hudson