The second installment of photos, THE RACE!
We've seen the start, now for the RACE! I sat this race out and so decided to chase along via car to leap frog ahead. Other folks were doing the same. These guys were going so fast staying ahead was hard! I think I drove for 17 minutes just to get ahead of them the first time. Even when the traffic lights thinned out the speed limit went up to 45 to 50 mph, it was still hard to keep up and get ahead. Amazingly enough I was rushing point to point for almost 2 1/2 hours and barely keeping up. I would think they were going over 30 mph at a lot of points (over a half mile per minute). I think I pulled over about three times plus climbing up the Sebastian Inlet Bridge. Always had to run to the car to play catchup with these guys, they were ripping fast down the coast.
Looking north up the coast into the pack of kiters
If you guys were wondering what you looked like from the road, here it is. I was going 40 mph at points and it almost
seemed like you were keep up, amazing. I think that is Kent, Gebi and Billy going from south to north.
Here comes Shawn. I didn't recognize him at first, wondering where's Billy with the Rasta Flexi kite? Didn't tumble that Billy had set him up with a kite for the race.
There's Andy on the red kite and please help me out with the other rider. Nice waves washing through too.
Remember that late start Gebi had? That's his white and red Cabrinha in the leading group.
There's Damian, closely followed by Billy and Kent is body dragging to recover his board. Despite small hassles and delays like that, these guys ate up the miles after getting back to the front area leading the riders.
Sean runs through the white stuff
Kent flashes past with some big waves running
Andy and Gebi go to back light ripping along
Looking south after the leaders pass. That is Sean in front, followed by Kent, then Graham I think and Gebi smoking along
Andy goes into the trough
Billy riding well through some big stuff
Gebi blasts south
Josh is cranking fast too and looking at ease in the waves
Sean and Kent, waves are still running pretty good
A look up the line, the guys are spacing themselves out although swap placement
fairly frequently throughout the 55 mile run. There's Sean, Kent, Andy, Blue Kite
(help me out here), Gebi and Graham from south to north
Here's Sean ahead of a mountain of foam
Kent riding real fast and popping up off small wavelets. The control and stamina
required to maintain such high speeds over 55 miles is impressive.
Billy cooks along
There goes Graham, these boards got rockets? Looks like it! Sky is darkening to the south.
Josh again. Reminds me of something someone said after one of the Jupiter to
Ft. Lauderdale Races about wasting all those great waves along the way!
Working further south towards Sebastian Inlet. You can see the guys way to the north,
actually got some lead time on them for once. No traffic lights! How's it go? "Something
Evil this way comes?" Yep, there it is looming to the south, a nice storm cell. Lots of guys
opted to ride in and wait for this to pass, not everyone though. Thing about squalls, you
NEVER know what they'll throw down, dead calm, no change or 60 kts. plus gusts with wild
direction changes until you're in them. Lots of guys have been caught in them too, still what
is it they say, oh yeah "not me," sure hope so.
CLICK PHOTO for full sized image
There goes Sean, descending into a grim landscape of storm
Leapfrogged ahead and ran up to the top of Sebastian Inlet bridge. You can
see the guys kites ripping along just above the canopy of skunk palms.
That's Sean, Kent, Billy, Gebi and Graham from south to north. The inlet is
a short distance south. You can see mist from driving rain to the east.
Kent eases out and ahead of Sean. Sebastian Inlet provided a lot of challenges to
the racers. Getting as far offshore as possible helped with them but the wind and
waves made that very hard to almost impossible.
A view from the top. You can see rain clouds to the north, hard to keep your
camera dry at times too. Some guys are passing the inlet from the north and
if you strain you can see some distant dots way to the south. Big waves in the
middle. Making to windward against those seas off the shore was a hard thing
to do. I know low tide was close to this time. I have heard stories saying the
water was coming in or still going out at this point. Which was it?
CLICK PHOTO for full sized image
There goes Sean
Kent moves along making as far to seaward as feasible
Kent passes the south jetty and really works out. Some nice sized waves running too.
Here comes Billy, getting ready for the final push in the last 17 miles to the finish.
Gebi is airborn over the waves easing past the north jetty, until ...
His flight lines get wrapped with a fishing line?!!! Strong wind, outgoing current and whatever the fisherman has on the end of his line rushing towards you to snag or otherwise grab a bit of flesh. Not good and no fun either. Graham passes by and luckily clears the line to seaward.
Looking south, Sean and Kent fight for first place in the running
Damian descends into the trough, he's a big guy too, takes a big wave to do that.
The view down the coast. I think that is Sean and Kent in front, followed by Billy and then by Graham. Gebi cleared his fouled lines and jetted up fast shortly after.
I had to run down the bridge and into my car to blast down the coast to be in time to catch the first arrivals. I regret not hanging on longer to shoot some of the rest of the riders rushing in from the north. Little did I know that the wind would ease, clock more to dead onshore and make getting around the inlet virtually infeasible. A lot of guys were stopped at the north jetty. Jay opted to hop into the cut and kite out bypassing the barrier of the waves pounding on the north jetty.
More to come, there's the finish to still put up.