The second day of the 2018 XBA Kitexpo was forecast to be 10-15 knots so participants were hoping to be able to test the light wind weapons of 2018. Waiting for the wind to come up, F-One sales rep Billy Ackerman and Slingshot Pro rider Reed Brady ventured out on surf foils and, not realizing that the tide was dropping, both riders quickly sized up the challenging overhead closeout conditions and made the call to head back in (not before each of them squeezed in a few nice, but sketchy rides).
By mid afternoon the shifting winds deemed it possible for kiteboarders to go grab the largest light wind kites on the beach and hit the water. For a good hour or so it looked like Mother Nature was going to give attendees the wind they desired as sales reps frantically rigged kites and participants bolted into the ocean.
Then as all looked well in the world, the wind dissipated with the high pressure system winning and creating a thermal heat bubble; kites fell out of the sky and the walk of shame commenced. As bad as it sounds, no one on the beach had a frown, instead, a positive feeling abounded as attendees continued to talk with reps, learn about the new 2018 gear, hooked up with old friends and make new ones at the unofficial ‘kick-off event of the spring season for West Coast kiteboarders.
As the day neared its end, Naish ambassador Nemo Taylor took to the mic and got the crowd amped on the raffle. Ticket holders were keen to win one of the plenty of prizes donated by many of the kiteboarding brands on hand at the event. The final two grand prizes given away were a handmade table with the event’s logo remembering Kinsley ThomasWong and a new 9mXR2 kite and Sensor2s control bar from Core.
After the last raffle item was won, the magnificent smell of grilling meats filled the surrounding area. The Oceano Dunes Lifeguards and SLO restaurant Marsden’s manned the grill and were on point serving a hardy meal as hungry kiteboarders queued up for a satisfying plate full of food. Just as the sun set, a bonfire was lit and folks gathered around and listened to Jess Clemons as she serenaded the crowd with her soulful music.