After 12 races and 3 discards in more than challenging conditions, with winds up to 25 knots and breaking seas of 3+ meters, John Heineken (USA, Ozone) and Steph Bridge (GBR, North) are the new world champions in kite course racing. Both riders did it in great fashion, resulting in a perfect score of 6.3 points each!
Here in Sylt, July 1st came in with a bang in the kiteboard racing department at the 2011 World Championships. I don't know about the other riders out there but today offered up some of the most challenging racing conditions I have ever competed in!
6-8 foot breaking waves and swell that was all over the place accompanied a 30+ knot breeze. In these conditions the race committee could not even anchor their start boats which motored in place all day long always in fear of getting rolled.
Yesterday we had 3 more races in really nasty conditions. A lot of the game was finding the weather mark which was a small yellow cone in head high chop.
The first race I started conservatively on starboard near the pin (favored). Andy crushed the port tack start, crossing with about 10 other guys. From there I rounded behind Sky, Damo, and Julien, passing them all on the downwind leg.
The racers went out for three races in strong winds and 2-3 meter waves - not really easy conditions to handle with a race board. Nevertheless, the picture on the water did not change from yesterday.
The US-team races in another league with only a few Europeans who can follow the speed of John Heineken, Andy Koch, and Sky Solbach.
Six of the top seven are Americans and almost all of the Mike's Lab boards are in the top 10...pretty cool.
Today the wind was kind of backwards from normal. It started side-off and really puffy and the kite call was super hard to make because figuring out how windy it was out there was next to impossible.