Then went home after a pasty and loaded the van for the drive to Blackpool. Luckily on the way Dad rang saying the bridge at Avon mouth was closed causing a 30 mile tail back so we got off the motorway just in time and drove via Bath. Added about 2 hours onto the trip but the radio said some people had been stuck for 71/2 hours so we weren’t too bad!
Saturday at 9am saw 26 people register for the Course Racing, a few ams, young and old freestylers (as the pros had finished on Friday) and a record 100 land kiters, good job it’s a big beach! With the wind blowing onshore at around 25knts and a big swell, we had to wait until 12 as the forecast was for the wind to drop and the theory was as the tide came in the swell would drop making it easier to launch the boat. I was a bit dubious and wasn’t sure if we would get any races in, knowing what the BKSA are like! At 12 it was still 25knts and big swell, but we had the briefing and were going for 2 races back to back on a triangle with 1 mile legs. After a bit of a delay we got underway with me on the Rebel 9, some on 7’s and one guy on an 11! At the top mark I was super pleased to be on the pace and in 2nd with all the fancy custom boards, huge fins and a load of bigging it up in the car park! With superior downwind speed I pulled out a nice lead, helped by Andy Gratwick sailing the wrong way round a mark I finished 1st. Next race and as the gun went the wind cranked up a notch leaving me super stacked. Coming into the 1st mark in the lead a huge roller broke in front of me launching me 20ft downwind and leaving me not able to make the mark. After 2 extra tacks I rounded in 2nd and put the foot on the gas to get my lead back. Another huge wave then broke on top of me whilst I was doing about 30knts and I had a big crash allowing Denzil and Andy to get through. Still a 1st and 4th at the end of the day on the new production North Race ltd with standard fins made me very happy. A few beers at the sailing club and it was off to bed!
Sunday and a lot less wind from the south (cross shore) made it look like much nicer race conditions. With everyone going for bigger kites the wind started to fill in out back leaving some in a dilemma. I went for the Rebel 14 on 32m lines, some were on 12s and Jason who was on a 11 yesterday went for a 16 crossbow in the hope he could win it after he somehow held onto the biggest kite to win the 2nd race.
The briefing was at 12 and the course which was left out from the day before was perfectly laid but for the other way, so this time we went round to starboard, same format again of 2 back to back.
Off the line I gave it full power and rounded in first to then take out a big lead downwind. Tacking in towards shore I lost out a fair bit and the dropping my last tack, I had to swim after the board which allowed Denzil to get past by about 200 metres. On the last reach I gave it my all and reeled him in to within a foot but as I crept underneath to try and force him off the finish line I spun out and crossed the line in a big ball of spray on my back to grab 2nd.
Race 4 and with the breeze more out to sea I powered off the line on port to round the mark first and never looked back. No mistakes this time and I took out a big lead to finish by almost the whole bottom reach and take my first Kitesurf competition win!
Big thanks to my sponsors- North, Freeriders, West, the BKSA and especially the race boat crew of Mike and his daughter who stuck it out despite being sick and scared in the 8-10 ft swell on Saturday. Let’s hope we can get more people into racing in the UK and make kitesurfing into the Olympics for 2016.
Hope you all make the most of this windy weather and ride safe!
Thanks to Joe Cockle for the lev pics!