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Earlier in the day ...
Here is the last planned post with photos about the Islamorada Invitational. It covers the final competition among the Pro competitors. Unlike photos
in previous postings, this one is a bit surreal as many of the images were captured from digital video on 100 X zoom. So my apologies in advance
for the limited image clarity (i.e. FUZZY SHOTS!). If it helps, pretend it is an impressionists kiteboarding exhibition.
To create at setting for that last day. The wind was coming through nicely side shore with an advancing cold front. The guys were popping
gaggles of nice moves and styling very well even through the odd reduction in winds.
Trouble is a squall line was moving in and was basically ignored by most of the riders late in the afternoon. The competition had been put on
hold anyway due to a shoreside wedding and a bunch of guys were out freeriding.
Dark stuff moving in from the south bringing strong winds with gusts into the thirty to forty mph range AND a 90 degree windshift
from sideshore to dead offshore.
Note the colorful band of weather in the radar image about to slide over Islamorada.
Some of the late comers returning to shore get blasted and dragged by gusting winds but fortunately no one was injured.
Andy Hurdman is on the blue kite and held his edge despite overpowered conditions and a ton of spray until the gust eased.
QUESTION: W H Y DO RIDERS STILL IGNORE SQUALLS???
Rain too as well as gusty winds with the mats taking to the water!
The yellow kite near the center of the frame was just depowered using a kite leash.
Most folks decided to pack it in after the squall hit, like Toby here.
There will be another article about squalls and how EASY they can sometimes be to predict and in this case plan around by using readily
available color radar available online and on the Weather Channel in the USA and other countries. The organizers were quite concerned
about continuing the competion considering rider safety as were some of the competitors. Looking into some of these readily
available resources, in this case would have set everyone's minds more at ease, such as are described at:
As it was they crossed their fingers, gritted their teeth, moved the venue offshore a ways and got on with it.
So the judges and photographers mounted up on the pontoon boat for the trip offshore to hold the FINAL HEAT. Looking kind of forlorn too,
heading out into uncertain weather conditions. In reality no squalls were moving in based on the radar imagery. They did take precautions
including staging several active safety waverunners on standby to aid the competitors if necessary.
The guys launched from shore and tacked offshore in strong, gusty offshore winds.
Jeff Beige is shown here just taking off.
Andy Hurdman did one of those spectacular Maui Kite Beach "hot" launches. That is flying through the air about 30 ft. from the
dock to slide off over the water. He later had two lines break while well offshore unfortunately. He was doing quite well in the
competition up to that point. Conditions were reported to be highly uneven with gusts from 15 to 35 kts.
The boat is on station and Andre shreds along ...
These guys were EDGING very hard. At time you could see their board seemingly at 90 degrees to the water surface trying to resist the gusts.
With all that wind getting nice air was no problem. Wonder if coming down was?
FUZZY but nice kiteboarding move ...
Up there ...
What was it Mr. Bill use to say ... OOOOH NOOOOO!
One way to make it in with an offshore wind
This SS Minow returns with galant crew intact ..
and the awards ...
The competitors ...
Andre Phillips, the winner of the Pro division.
The sea at the end of the day ...
So, it was a fun event. Looking forward to next years session already. To summarize the winners:
Winners of the Pro Division:
1st Place - ANDRE PHILLIP, Antigua
2nd Place - PETE WEISBERG, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
3rd Place - JEFF BIEGE, Lake Worth, Florida
ANDY HURDMAN, was doing very well but broke TWO kite lines in honking winds during that over powered final heat.
Andy won this event last year.
Winners of the Amateur Division:
1st -TRAVIS DETWEILER & BETO HILLMAN tied for first. Further competition was called because of severe weather.
2nd - ZACK HLEPPE
More articles and photos from this event at:
MORE PHOTOS from WIND in Paradise, Day Two ...
WIND in Paradise, Day Two - Photos and Story
Action shots from Islamorada ...
Shredding in Paradise - Day One, Photos and Story
Andre Phillip of Antigua wins in the keys
Kite Leashes Suck ... ?
Islamorada, FL - Kiteboarding Events and Prime Riding