Busy Slalom Season Gets Underway in the Bay Area!

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Start of the Slalom Racing season in San Francisco! (credit: Olan Kenneally)

If you want to race slalom, San Francisco is one of the best venues around, and this summer, the local racing schedule in the Bay Area is packed! There are two separate season-long slalom series: the Friday Night Slalom Series (run by the St Francis Yacht Club), and the Crissy Field Slalom Series (run by the Crissy Field Yacht Club, which isn’t really a yacht club, but a group of local trailblazers sharing the stoke and getting things done!) – for a grand total of 8 slalom events in a span of 3 months! Add to this the CalCup Series (Berkeley Yacht Club) and the long standing Formula Windsurfing Series (StFYC), and there’s something going on every weekend on the calendar from now ’til September!

Here’s what Steve Bodner (a longtime leading figure of the local racing scene and one of the key instigators of this flurry of activities) had to say after the first stop in the Friday Night Slalom Series last week:

It was windy for the first StFYC Friday night slalom race of the season last week (May 20), with 14 racers braving a gusty 15-25k sea breeze and strong flood tide on the City Front for five races starting just off Anita Rock and finishing moments later off the St.FYC race deck.

The slalom format is simple, with a broad reach start as fast as you can go and four downwind gybe marks with the entire fleet in close pursuit. No special equipment is needed, but like any sport, you can get as geeked out on your quiver as your budget allows.

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Pick your line at the start! (credit: Olan Kenneally)

This year, the St Francis Yacht Club has expanded their Friday night slalom windsurf racing series to focus less on the technical and more on the fun. The result has been better participation and an increased awareness of windsurf racing! We’re getting people who have never engaged in the competitive side of the sport to enter a ‘beer can’ race for the first time. The secret? Make it easy and make it fun!

All windsurfers are invited and just about the entire spectrum shows up. This year we have windsurf foilers, die-hard slalom racers, and newbies showing up on bump and jump gear. Slalom racing emphasizes board handling, and if you can gybe, you can race. The key is short courses. Each race only lasts 2 to 3 minutes, so if you have a bad start or fall at the mark, you’ve got another chance with the next race just moments away!

May 20 (event #1 on the Friday Night Slalom Series): results.

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May 28, 2016 Skippers Meeting at Crissy Field! (credit: SFBA)

The Crissy Field Slalom Series kicked off yesterday too (May 28), with support from numerous generous sponsors and plenty of anticipation for a great sophomore season! Jason Voss (local pro, sponsor and owner of JRV Windsurfing) sums up the excitement:

Super stoked to have Slalom back at Crissy!! It is great to see slalom pulling in local windsurfers from other disciplines and sites around the Bay Area! Proud to be able to also donate gear as a sponsor of the event. Thank you for all the hard work you guys put into making it happen!

May 28 (event #1 on the Crissy Field Slalom Series): results.

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