"Every bit of beach ended up covered in kites & lines."
Australia's most hotly contested kiteboarding race was finally held last weekend in lighter than hoped conditions, after it had to be called off previously due to bad weather.
After many of the overseas entrants had to head home when the event was postponed, the race was left wide open for a local kiteboarder to take home the prize money. With many riders being offered a spot at late notice, the fleet was still strong and there was a a strong case of east coast vs. west coast rivalry going on. Some competitors were even reported to be selling off their spots in the competition due to the demand for a place on the starting line.
Forecasts for the day were varied, ranging from 0 knots West, to the 15 knot SW'erly that actually showed up (forecast by Seabreeze in case you were wondering). It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, just without the usual 25 knot SW seabreeze that WA is well know for. Big kites were the weapon of choice for those experienced enough to trust the forecast, and those who opted for a smaller kite paid the price with a slow run back to the mainland. There was a good mix of boards set up on the beach too, with a surprisingly large amount of race boards, several surfboards and a couple of twin-tips.
Controversy arose once the event finished with reports of a broken start and several disqualifications. Breaking the start in a kitesurfing race is a serious matter, and if riders don't return to the start they suffer disqualification from the event. Unfortunately a couple of the event favourites broke the start, and others followed them over early - meaning they all got disqualified from the race. Not only was this really disappointing for the competitors, but it's made organising the final results slightly troublesome for those who weren't on the start boat. All has been sorted now however, and the results are below.
All who attended have praised the organisers for running such a fantastic event, especially considering the logistics of getting everyone and their gear over to Rottnest Island for the start, then getting the rest of their gear back to the mainland. WAKSA volunteers did a fantastic job of helping the event run smoothly, and without them it simply wouldn't have happened. Here's what third place getter Marty Farrow had to say about the event:
"It really is professionally run and as a competitor you can relax [or at least try and relax] on the way over and know that you and your gear will arrive in one piece and all you need to worry about is coming up with some good banter for your fellow competitors while you sit around and await the start.
Nothing runs that smoothly without some serious planning so full credit to Tim and all those invloved behind the scenes.
The competitors, the mateship, the rivalries and the good humour are what also make this a great event, even after tangles on the start line or disqualification there's still plenty of smiles and a laugh over a beer after the event."
Check out the results below, and for more photo's visit the WAKSA Facebook page here.
Dale Stanton 1st
Alex Genz 2nd
Marty Farrow 3rd
Keira McFarlane 1st