San Francisco is at the heart of the slalom action this year, with two separate racing series scheduled back to back throughout the summer on Friday evenings and Saturdays, directly on the city front. Thanks to a mix of grassroots fundraising and high class support from the St Francis Yacht Club, spirits are flying high! A report on all the recent action from the front of the pack:
by Steve Bodner
The 3rd STFYC Friday night slalom race of the season was run in solid conditions followed by another 10 heats on Saturday with the Crissy Field Slalom Series taking place in a building breeze and tide – a perfect showcase for slalom racing!
The high wind course was set on Friday evening with a start at 5:30 and a 5 gybe downwind course from Anita rock to a finish off the St.FYC race deck. The A and B fleets ran together with 12 boards on the line.
The key to slalom racing is getting a good start and coming out of the 1st mark in good position with speed. If you can stay out of trouble the rest of the 2 min race, it’s all good.
Local windsurfing legends – Al Mirel and Chris Radkowski from F4 fins led the pack but took an early exit going down in the voodoo chop around the last few buoys. Xavier Ferlet showed solid moments of speed and board handling but jumped the gun in the last race going over early and gave up his chance to secure the evening.
I may not be the fastest in the pack but making your gybes and not swimming around the marks goes a long way to getting to the finish line in as little time as possible. We banged 5 races off in less than an hour and I got my 1st win of the season, capitalizing on the mistakes of others and staying upright.
Saturday July 25th – Its blowing 25-30k+ with big ugly voodoo chop all over the course – perfect for slalom racing! 22 windsurfers take to the city front course again for a 5 buoy downwind race getting 10 heats off before calling it quits or retiring from sheer exhaustion.
Xavier Ferlet from Santa Clara, CA dominated the fleet finishing in the top 3 every race (excluding 2 through-outs). That was enough for him to take his 2nd win of the season putting him into the series lead going into the last race next month, on August 22.
The biggest upset of the day came in the last race in the biggest breeze with recreational windsurfer, Olan Kenneally from San Francisco getting the last bullet on his wave board and 5.0 rig – proving that it’s not what you ride – but how you ride it.
The fleet was then treated to a post racing BBQ and awards on the beach – but with a new twist. Instead of giving the best awards to the top 3, the back of the fleet was awarded the best swag donated from Ultra Nectar Clothing company and wind anemometers from iwindsurf.
A huge thanks to the series sponsors for making this inaugural season happen: 101 Surf Sports, Adam Darriau Building and Design, Aerotech, Alamo Square SeaFood Grill, BlueRush Boardsports, Boardsports California, Fanatic Windsurfing, North Windsurfing, F4 Fins, iwindsurf, Ronstan, sb Design, Sports Basement, Ventana Windsports, Streetsailing, Ultra Nectar, WC Magnetics, Soheil Zahedi IT Consultant, Sandy Point Windsurfing & StepStone