SWS Squamish Kite Racing Summer Series 2010 - Day 1 Report
14/06/2010 - Squamish, BC, Canada.
Squamish has had a late and cloudy start to the season, but everything changed just in time for June 12, the first day of four in the 2010 SWS Squamish Kite Racing Summer Series. Blue skies shone through early in the morning, foreshadowing the trademark 20knot smooth breeze that was to fill the bay for the whole day. Extreme low tides exposed the normally-hidden sandbar; a rare sight, making for a far more dynamic racing course filled with devil chop, swirling currents, other casual kiteboarders and boats from the local kite schools.
The first start was delayed until 1pm so that riders would not need to change kite sizes during the day. Competitors showed up for the first race of the season. Most were well powered on 9m to 11m kites, with boards and other gear tested and tuned from a long off-season.
With two separate divisions, the Long Course Div was definitely the more competitive of the two with 11 race-board equipped riders. Local knowledge kept Kyle Touhey & Stefano Rista (2009 series winner) trading first and second place finishes, with some very tight racing on their new Rista Design tri fins. It wasn’t uncommon that they would swap leads at each mark rounding over the two-lap windward-leeward course. This went until the fifth race when Rista met with bad luck on a botched tack for a lay line, which resulted in a broken line and a DNF result. He was able to get back to the course in time for the sixth and final race of the day, but will have to rely on a discard for the fifth race. In the end it was Touhey who came out ahead as the Day 1 winner, and who becomes the current Series points leader for the Long Course Division, followed closely by Rista.
The battle for third place was also just as heated, between veteran competitor from Seattle, Adam Vance and local kiteschool owner Colin Ernst. Vance was right on the tails of the leaders on his modified NJS quad fin board, and showing his experience, managed to recover with a respectable finish in the third race despite a tangle with another competitor. He managed to keep good consistent scores throughout with some solid speed and pointing, along with good racing tactics. But Ernst started to get the feel of things and in the fifth race managed to pull ahead at the last minute for an exciting high speed photo-finish over Vance, earning him his best score of a second place. Although in the end Vance safely held his third place ranking for the day.
The rest of the fleet showed some really great racing, with lots of position changes and even a few other close finishes, such as Don Campbell and Chris Glazier who once crossed the line within 1m of each other! The Squamish fleet is becoming fairly enthusiastic as a whole, with more and more riders switching to proper racing boards to become more competitive.
In the Short Course Division, despite not having perhaps the same performance equipment, riders were still just as eager to best each other, and just have a little fun. Worth noting is the dominating winning streak of Paul Sabiston who, after missing the first start, went on to take first place in every other race. Perhaps it was a psychological strategy. The rest of this fleet showed great enthusiasm and good racing and sportsmanship, exemplified by a few of the competitors returning to the race course even after disastrously tangling kites.
In the end, the first day of the series was a big success with great weather, ideal winds and a positive competitive spirit; the whole event went off without a hitch. The Race Committee and support boat did an excellent job of keeping all the riders safe, informed and on track, managing to complete the maximum of six daily races with time to spare. The success so far of this series, along with the natural setup, shows the potential of Squamish as an excellent venue for larger Kiteboard course racing events in the future. Remaining SWS Summer Series 2010 dates: July 10, August 28, and Sept 11. SWS siteRESULTS - LONG COURSE DIVISION- SHORT COURSE DIVISION
VIDEO: Grant Mounce, a rider from the Short Division filmed a start from the Long Division: