All posts by JeromeS

MacRae Wylde Wins Event #2 on the 2014 Slalom NRT in Hood River!

Top 5 Overall:  from left:  Casey Hauser, Bruce Peterson, MacRae Wylde, Sean Kelly - not pictured:  Bryan Metcalf-Perez

Top 5 Overall: from left: Casey Hauser, Bruce Peterson, MacRae Wylde, Sean Kelly – not pictured: Bryan Metcalf-Perez

The 2nd event on the 2014 Slalom NRT (National Racing Tour) took place July 19-20 as part of the Gorge Cup series in Hood River, with fast and furious competition in all categories! In a breakthrough performance, MacRae Wylde won the overall title, with Bruce Peterson and Casey Hauser close on his heels.

Overall winner MacRae Wylde in action

Overall winner MacRae Wylde in action

We asked MacRae to put this amazing experience into words:

The Gorge Cup Race Series has been going on for years. The National Race Tour generally brings out the best competition of the year. New faces and top racers make the event both challenging and fun. This year featured the new Slalom Tour. In any given race there are ten guys and a couple of women who can put it all together to have a great race. My goal has always been to be competitive with the top sailors. To place in the top five is always a victory. Racing at this level means that one mistake can cost you three or four positions.

Last weekend something happened to me. I had a great day on Saturday of the two day National Slalom Tour Gorge Cup event, winning one race and picking up a couple of thirds to finish the day in fourth. Sunday was an out of body experience for me. Every choice I made seemed to work. Every time I moved to a puff of wind, it was there. We did eight races and I won five and was second in three. Sunday’s results were enough to secure the win for the weekend. I can’t say what I did differently than any other day, but I was focused and really enjoyed racing.

Windsurfing is my passion and Sunday everything just clicked together. I will always remember my day in the light. Thanks also to all the racers, old and young, who came out to push the limits and see how far you can go.

With the 2nd event on the 2014 Slalom NRT in the books, here are the updated standings:

2014 Slalom Standings After 2 Events

No overlap in the fleets between the first event in Worthington and the second in Hood River, but this might change with the third event coming up this weekend at the Neil Pryde Hawaii State Championships. Stay tuned!

Grand Master Toshi Kato showing how it's done

Grand Master Toshi Kato showing how it’s done!

Cody Steward and Ned Crossley Join The US Windsurfing Team!

We’re thrilled to have Cody Steward join US Windsurfing as Executive Director, and Ned Crossley as Regional Director for the Northeast!

Cody Steward joins US Windsurfing as Executive Director

Cody Steward joins US Windsurfing as Executive Director

Cody is taking over from Karen Marriott, who decided to step away from the role of Executive Director at US Windsurfing in order to focus her energy on other projects. We asked Karen how she felt about moving on:

I am so thankful for the years that I have spent talking to windsurfers from around the country and getting to know so many of them. US Windsurfing has really been a labor of love for me, and though it is bittersweet to be stepping away from my role as Executive Director, I am certain that Cody has the experience and energy to do great things for and with US Windsurfing. I am so excited for all of our members to get to know him and for the mission of US Windsurfing to be moving forward in good hands!

Cody brings an incredible mix of skills to the job. He’s been a racer, event organizer, and windsurfing instructor for 10 years. We asked him how he felt about taking on this new role:

I am excited for the opportunity to work with US Windsurfing! For years I have been trying to find ways to get more involved with the sport and help the stoke. There are many great ideas starting up within the organization right now and I am honored to be brought on board to help those ideas becomes realities.

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Ned Crossley (doing a double-shaka with Jennie in the picture above!) joins US Windsurfing as Regional Director for the Northeast

We’re also very pleased to see Ned Crossley join US Windsurfing in an official capacity, as Regional Director for the Northeast region. Ned has coached countless instructors around the country, and has been a real ambassador for our sport. He’s replacing Dan Weiss, who has been a leading force for US Windsurfing, not just in the Northeast, and also as a key contributor to our national development programs over the years:

After a decade of service as Director of US Windsurfing’s Northeast Region covering all of New England and New York, I reach out to thank everyone for their stoke. The time is now to step aside. The legend, the man, and instructor trainer extraordinaire, Ned “Coach” Crossley skillfully takes over the helm in New England. Please greet Ned with his trademarked fist bump!

To which Ned added something that we’re thinking we might coin as a motto for US Windsurfing:

Windsurfing on every lake, bay, and ocean!

Karen and Dan have been the face of US Windsurfing for many, many years and will still be contributing their ideas and insights on key projects moving forward. They’re leaving mighty big shoes to fill, but Cody and Ned are up to the task and have already hit the ground running!

For more details, follow these links to Cody Steward’s profile and Ned Crossley’s profile.

Please join us in welcoming them both to US Windsurfing!

Slalom Standings after Event #1 Are Up!

Slalom Action in Worthington (credit: Larry Reed)

Slalom Action in Worthington (credit: Larry Reed)

Event #1 on the 2014 Slalom National Racing Tour is in the books!

It was part of the US Nationals last month in Worthington, Minnesota. With furious storms rolling through the area, the conditions were literally electric but race director Jeff Hegwer and his team of daredevils found an opening in the weather to complete a full round-robin schedule and make the results official (for a full recap of that event, see Experience Prevails at the 2014 US Nationals in Worthington).

So, how did we score the event? For this inaugural slalom season on the US National Racing Tour, we chose to innovate with the points system: in a nutshell, first place in each division gets 1000 points, last place 100 points and every other finisher gets equally spread out between 1000 and 100. Some math is involved, but hopefully you won’t find it too overwhelming! We picked this system because it gives an advantage to a top finish in a larger fleet, yet it also levels the playing field at the very top to give equal importance to all four events on the schedule this year. Using this system, here are the standings after Event #1:

2014 Slalom Standings After 1 Event

We’re now turning to Event #2, coming up this weekend (July 19-20) in Hood River!

Lisa Kremer Milbrandt (Women), Niels Zaunmueller (Juniors <18), Magnus Zaunmueller (Men 18-34), Christophe Waerzeggers (Masters 35-44), Xavier Ferlet (Grand Masters 45-54) and Guy Miller (Super Masters 55+) have a leg up on the competition, but there’s lots of racing left before it’s all said and done.

Who will win it all?

(Details about this year’s slalom schedule on the National Racing Tour may be found here).

Experience Prevails at 2014 US Nationals in Worthington!

Enjoying the Action on Lake Okabena in Worthington (credit: Noah Keitel)

Enjoying the Action on Lake Okabena in Worthington (credit: Noah Keitel)

Lake Okabena in beautiful Worthington, Minnesota is barely two miles across, and yet on June 11-15, in the span of five days of intense competition, it threw an amazing display of conditions at the racers gathered there for the 2014 US Windsurfing Nationals: 0 to 40 knots, wind from all directions on the compass, 45-75 air temperature, sun, rain, flooding and enough lightning in the air to literally fry a wind turbine!

We're not kidding! Storms roll in on day 4 of the US Nationals

We’re not kidding! Storms roll in on day 4 of the US Nationals (credit: Tea Storm Chasers)

This marquee event on the US national racing calendar had it all: challenging conditions and tight course racing action for the raceboard, kona, formula and sports fleets featured at the Championships; free windsurfing instruction for dozens of onlookers, courtesy of Roger Jackson and Ellen Faller (thank you!); mad slalom heats on the days when the wind was at its fiercest, marking an auspicious start to the recently announced 2014 US Slalom National Racing Tour; thousands of spectators; live television coverage; and an amazing arts and music festival in the evenings!

It was sunny too! US Nationals in Worthington, Minnesota

It was sunny too! US Nationals in Worthington, Minnesota

Free Windsurfing Instruction at the US Nationals!

Free Windsurfing Instruction at the US Nationals!

Artist Shawn McCann in front of the mural he created for the event (credit: Ron Kern)

Artist Shawn McCann in front of the 52′ x 20′ mural he created for the event (credit: Ron Kern)

In a great display of racing skills, tuning mastery and experience, Xavier Ferlet won both the slalom and formula National Titles in Worthington. We asked Xavier to take us inside the ropes:

The first day of regatta was a bit light but we had three Formula races. Losing some weight over the last few months paid off. I found it relatively easy to pop on the plane with the 12.0. The skills acquired by doing Formula at inland venues in the UK was put to good use! (…)

Read Xavier’s full testimonial here: Inside the Ropes at the 2014 US Windsurfing Nationals!

Rock Band Narrow Vines on the main stage at the US Windsurfing Nationals!

Rock Band Narrow Vines on the main stage at the US Windsurfing Nationals!

We also asked Bill Keitel, local resident, event co-founder, emcee extraordinaire, calypso guitarist (and VP of US Windsurfing to boot!) to give us a recap of the onshore festivities:

The 2014 U.S. Windsurfing National Championships are history and the city of Worthington is easing back to decompress. The UnVarnished Music Festival is of, by and for windsurfers and musicians. This year we put forth a devil-may-care attitude and started the opening night with Ray Wylie Hubbard (…)

Read Bill’s full recap here: On Stage at the 2014 US Windsurfing Nationals!

2014 Raceboard National Champ Mark Boersma shares his knowledge with local fans

2014 Raceboard National Champ Mark Boersma shares his knowledge with local fans (credit: Noah Keitel)

Xavier wasn’t alone on the top step of the podium in Worthington: Mark Boersma (above) won the raceboard national title, Steve Gottlieb (below in the red sail) leaped to the front of the standings on the last day to take the Kona title, and Kelly Johnson took the crown in the Sports fleet. You’ll find all the results here courtesy of our friends at Mowind.

Konas in Action at the 2014 US Nationals! (credit: Larry Reed)

Konas in Action at the 2014 US Nationals! (credit: Larry Reed)

A big thank you to the city of Worthington, The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Worthington, the Worthington Okabena Windsurfers, the Daily Globe, Mowind, Jeff Hegwer and his team, and all the sponsors, supporters and spectators who made it all possible. Enjoy Xavier’s and Bill’s testimonials, and start making plans for the 2015 US Windsurfing National Championships at Cabrillo Beach next summer!

Artists Jeff Adamski and Jeff Hegwer and the gorgeous trophies they designed for the event!

Artists Jeff Adamski and Jeff Hegwer and the gorgeous trophies they designed for the event!

Windsurfing's True Colors! Up and comers at the 2014 US Nationals! (credit: Ron Kern)

Windsurfing showing its true colors! Up and comers at the 2014 US Nationals (credit: Ron Kern)

Waddell Creek to kickstart the 2014 AWT!

Photo Credit: AWT

Photo Credit: AWT

In exactly two weeks, Waddell Creek will play host to the opening salvo of the 2014 American Windsurfing Tour!

Over the course of the past few years, the AWT has established itself as one of the premier wave sailing tours in the world. It’s already attracting international attention, and its joint finale with the PWA at Ho’okipa last year showed the depth of its talent pool. And it’s not just reserved to pro windsurfers: amateurs can sign up too, compete in their own divisions and share the waves with the likes of Kevin Pritchard, Levi Siver, Camille Juban and Bernd Roediger. Is there a better way to learn?

This is the fourth year in a row that the AWT season starts at Waddell Creek, one of California’s best beach breaks. Set for June 5-8, the Santa Cruz Goya Windsurfing Festival promises to be an exciting start to a busy wave sailing schedule. Here are this year’s tour stops:

Santa Cruz Goya Windsurfing Festival – Jun 5-8 in Santa Cruz, CA
Pistol River Wave Bash – Jun 12-15 in Gold Beach, OR
Pacasmayo Classic – Aug 3-10 in Pacasmayo, Peru
Quatro Desert Showdown – Aug 16-23 in Punta San Carlos, Mexico
Hatteras Wave Jam – Sep 15-20 in Hatteras, NC
Maui Aloha Classic – Oct 29 – Nov 11 at Ho’okipa, HI

Quite a program, isn’t it? Tour Director Sam Bittner gives us a great play by play of what’s in store at each tour stop this year, and sums it up for us:

“May the most radical, most progressive and most dedicated riders take glory!”

Come see what the excitement is all about, and join the party!

US Windsurfing Nationals Get Amped Up!

Previous US Windsurfing Nationals in Worthington, MN - Photo Credit: Dan Norman

Previous US Windsurfing Nationals in Worthington, MN – Photo Credit: Dan Norman

One month to go before the 2014 US Windsurfing Nationals in Worthington, Minnesota - are you ready?

The Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival has been a mainstay on the US Tour for many years, and it’s playing host next month to its 3rd US Windsurfing Nationals, from June 10-15.

The US National Championships are a celebration of windsurfing, and a wonderful opportunity to get racers together from all corners of the country and across all disciplines, from Formula to Kona, from Slalom to Open Class. Everyone is excited to be heading to Worthington this year, on the waters of Lake Okabena, not just because of the incredible wind conditions there, but because of the vibe and support of the local community.

Near Shore Action in Worthington, MN - Photo Credit: Dan Norman

Near Shore Action in Worthington, MN – Photo Credit: Dan Norman

Racing in the Middle of Town in Worthington, MN - Photo Credit: Dan Norman

Racing in the Middle of Town in Worthington, MN – Photo Credit: Dan Norman

Oh, and there’s another reason: the music! That’s right, the event doubles up as a music festival. Have you sailed to the sound of live music before?

Bill Keitel, VP of US Windsurfing, knows the local scene very well: he lives right there on Sailboard Beach. Bill, along with the Worthington Okabena Windsurfers association, is in charge of thawing the lake each spring, stashing away the ice shanties and cranking up the wind turbines off Buffalo Ridge in nearby South Dakota. He’s also in charge of the music lineup, and is fired up about the upcoming festivities:

Worthington is excited to host their 15th annual regatta & 3rd U.S. Windsurfing National Championships. As many remember tornado warnings from 2008 Nationals made wind speeds a bit more excessive than necessary. We will moderate the wind speeds this year and hope for nothing more than small craft advisories!

Preparations have been made to treat Windsurfers like Exalted Rulers of the Universe! Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and UnVarnished Music Festival is dedicated and predicated on the notion that this festival is of, by, and for windsurfers and musicians.

We’ve gone to great lengths to put together an Event of Uncommon Merit. Five city blocks of Sailboard beach will be blocked off and only Windsurfers and musicians will have access to beachside parking. Besides hotels, Lakeside camping is also available, book soon to avoid disappointment.

Through dogged determination and a devil-may-care-attitude we have stretched our imagination and budget to rustled up some of the finest musical entertainment ever provided to Windsurfers. The evenings on Sailboard beach will be memorable! Opening ceremonies Wed. musical lineup will include Ray Wylie Hubbard. Ray Hubbard from Austin Texas has recently appeared on the David Letterman Show.

The main sound stage will power up on Wed. and there will be music every night.

We look forward to your arrival!

Go to www.worthingtonwindsurfing.com for all the details. It’s early registration until May 28, and $100 ($55 for juniors) gets you food, live music and all the racing you can handle in five days.

Join the fun and get amped!

On the Podium at the European Championships: Geronimo!

Start Line Action at the 2014 T293 Europeans in Torbole, Italy!

Start Line Action at the 2014 T293 Europeans! Photo Credit: Moan

Those of you who are following the progress of our young windsurfers in the US have heard of the Nores brothers from Miami. Big brother Maximo, the reigning Techno 293 North American champion, is turning 16 this year and will represent the USA at the Youth Olympic Games in China. Younger brother Geronimo is 14 now and was making headlines long before he turned his attention to windsurfing when he claimed three World titles in a row in the O’pen Bic class in 2010-12. And yes, there’s a third Nores brother, Manu, who is doing much more than waiting in the wings of his two older brothers, and starting to make waves of his own.

Those three have been on a whirlwind adventure of late, traveling from Cancun, Mexico to Mendoza, Argentina along with their US teammates to hone their skills, posting great results along the way against the best from the Americas. The April 18-20 US Nationals in Miami gave them all a chance to catch their breath with a home-based event, but the break was short-lived: immediately after the awards ceremony at the Nationals, they hopped on a flight to Italy with their Miami teammate Steven Cramer to take part in the 2014 Techno 293 European Championships. A few hours after landing in Milan, they found themselves in a flash mob of 313 jubilant youngsters waving flags through the streets of Torbole!

Geronimo Leading the Way at the 2014 T293 Europeans - Photo Credit: Moan

Geronimo Leading the Way at the 2014 T293 Europeans – Photo Credit: Moan

At that event, Geronimo finished 2nd in a fleet of 81 eager competitors under the age of 15. This was a breakthrough performance in glorious Lake Garda conditions against some of the very best young windsurfers in the world. We couldn’t resist reaching out to Geronimo when he returned to the US to find out what happened:

“My heart is racing, there are people all around me, all with the same goal, to win. The start horn goes off and everybody is pumping away at the start, some left behind and others launched ahead.

Racing in international events, to me are the highlights of my whole year. There is just so much to learn with so many people around you and it’s an amazing experience. The T293 2014 Europeans in Garda was definitely one of my favorite windsurfing events I’ve ever been to. It was so well organized and full of fair racing and fierce competition. I can honestly say I’ve never pumped so hard and so much in my life.

I had an amazing time, both on and off the water. With over 300 competitors, friends were everywhere to be found. The venue of this European championship was amazing because Garda delivered amazing racing conditions every day, and Torbole was a beautiful town. The event was the biggest of the European championships in history of the T293 class which is definitely a positive sign. People are becoming involved at younger ages like 11 and 12 and the class is growing in all fleets of all ages. We expect over 500 people at worlds making T293 the biggest youth windsurfing class and, in the opinion of many others and mine as well, the best. I was proud to represent my country and thrilled to get a second place and stand on that podium.

I left Garda quite pleased and very motivated to train even harder for my next challenge, which is Worlds in Brest. The whole Team trained hard and to see it pay off for all of us made us appreciate all the support we receive from outside and each other on the team pushing each other to the next level.”

U15 Boys Podium at the 2014 T293 Europeans.

U15 Boys Podium at the 2014 T293 Europeans – Photo Credit: fotofiore.com

Geronimo’s feeling that the team’s hard work is starting to pay off is echoed by his coach Uri:

“We spent two seasons building up the base of the pyramid, and we’re starting to see great results. This year, we started training early in October with a group of windsurfers who had international racing experience, and we made great progress every step of the way. The Europeans in Italy were a strong test event for us. The team had a really good experience traveling for that event. We had no pressure to post a result – although in the end we got a silver medal! Our goal this summer is the Worlds, and the Europeans were a great stepping stone.”

Florencia Barletta heads the Youth Sailing Foundation (YSF) programs at the Miami Yacht Club where Geronimo and his teammates practice every week. Speaking about the impact that those results are having on the development of the team, she adds:

“The Miami Yacht Club Youth Sailing is extremely proud of their windsurfing racing team. They have had a year of great accomplishments all over the globe. This, of course, is thanks to the great efforts of the coaches who work with them, the parents who make sure they can travel and experience these unforgettable life opportunities, and the sailors who put forth the effort and the hours of training! We are very happy to be able to support our team.

Their successes have created an awakening to the sport of windsurfing for young kids around the area. We have been offering windsurfing for the past three years in our summer camp programs. I find myself as Director of YSF programs speaking to more and more parents and creating more classes and private classes. Also I speak to parents of sailors looking to add windsurfing to their sailing activities.

We offer the possibility to start in a ‘Windsurfing for Fun’ class and go through Intermediate, Advanced and then Racing Team. It’s great to see that the interest is not only in boys but in teen girls as well. We are hoping that we can have some girls on our racing team this coming year!”

Slalom Becomes Part of the US National Racing Tour

Slalom at the 2013 Nationals in Cabrillo Beach, CA – © dominik huber / dominikphoto.com

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re thrilled to announce that Slalom is now part of the US National Racing Tour!

The US National Racing Tour (NRT) is an exciting year-long race for points. Racers are automatically entered when they participate in some of the most prestigious events in the country (from Florida to Hawaii, from Oregon to Minnesota) and accrue points based on their results at each of those events. The points system rewards top finishes of course, but also participation, as no one who makes the effort to attend an event leaves without points. You may check out the full lineup of events on the 2014 NRT here, along with details about what racing class is represented where.

For years we’ve featured Formula on the NRT, as well as Open and Kona windsurfing, and we’re now adding Slalom to the family! Four slalom events will be included in this inaugural series: a Gorge Cup event in Hood River, OR (July 19-20, 2014); the Hawaii State Championships in Kahului, HI (Aug 2, 2014); the Miami Slalom Open in Miami, FL (Nov 8-9, 2014); and the whole series will start at the US Windsurfing Nationals in Worthington, MN (June 10-15, 2014).

See what our regional directors and local organizers are saying about those venues and their inclusion on the Slalom NRT:

Rick Randall, WindsurfingTour:

Credit: WindsurfingTour

Slalom Action in Miami – Photo Credit: WindsurfingTour

“The Miami Slalom Open is an exciting event in the most culturally vibrant city in America. Come and experience the excitement of the crossroads of North and South American culture, and some mighty fine windsurfing as a bonus!

This event has been going for 8 years, and we are incredibly stoked to be a part of the new US National Slalom Tour. Slalom is the event that brings the high speed action and athleticism of windsurfing close to the beach where spectators can be drawn into the sport, and participants are pushed to their limits.”

Andreas Macke, Northwest Regional Director for US Windsurfing:

Credit: VMG Events

Slalom Action in the Gorge – Photo Credit: VMG Events

“GorgeCup slalom is just plain fun – well organized, lots of racing, not a lot of sitting on shore. Chances of good conditions are pretty good, the venue is awesome both for racers and spectators, and the racing is tight, fun, friendly, and exciting for all levels of racers from beginners (who are welcomed with open arms) to seasoned pros (who will have their work cut out for them at the top of the fleet) and anyone in between (who’ll find spirited competition at all levels in this fleet).

Bring your family for a fun-filled vacation in one of the most amazingly beautiful places in the country, or just spoil yourself with a dedicated windsurfing trip with everything from gentle cruising to nuking swell riding and nearby coastal wave sailing available to you in one convenient region. I’ve been actively racing for over a decade and a half – and nothing beats a weekend of rocking slalom at the Event Site.”

Tammy Bockius, Pacific Regional Director for US Windsurfing:

Credit: Jimmie Hepp

Slalom Action in Maui – Photo Credit: Jimmie Hepp

“The Maui Race Series is a five event series held for 30 years in a row at Kanaha Beach park in Maui, Hawaii. June and July 2014 Amateurs and Pro Sailors race together in some of the finest slalom windsurf conditions in the world. There are multiple divisions so you can decide what level you are up for competing at.

The races at Kanaha are fun for visiting sailors and their entire families as well as serious pre-season training and testing grounds for World cup racers. Everyone wants to up their sailing game! The events are one day each, 40-50 well run heats, Awards/Beach party at Kanaha afterwards, everyone is welcome whether it’s to race or spectate.

The first 4 MRS events count towards an overall Maui county championship title. The final and 5th event of the MRS is always the Hawaii State Championships. The MRS wants to encourage Sailors of every age, gender, nationality and racing ability to join us for one or all of the events this Summer. The MRS is pleased to have the Hawaii State Championships count towards an overall NRT. Thank you to the USWA for supporting the sport of Slalom Racing. See you at the races this Summer – Aloha, Tammy”

Arden Anderson, Great Lakes Regional Director for US Windsurfing:

High Wind Action in Worthington - Photo Credit: Midwest Speed Quest

High Wind Action in Worthington – Photo Credit: Midwest Speed Quest

“US Nationals and the entire City of Worthington are excited to include Slalom Racing at this year’s event. Slalom Racing is one of the most exhilarating and accessible forms of windsurfing so everyone is welcome to enter, from Pros to First Timers. The Midwest Speed Quest in Worthington has demonstrated that this venue can produce board speeds over 40 mph, so prepare for some thrilling competition!

Slalom Racing will be an additional discipline run at separate times from Course Racing (Formula, Kona, Open, and Sport Fleets), so course racers may also register to compete on Slalom. Fleets for Slalom and sub-divisions will be assigned in accordance with registration.

We look forward to the kickoff of Slalom Racing for the National Racing Tour! On your marks, get set, Go to Worthington!”

We’re looking forward to the heated competition around the country!

Skill level goes UP at the 2014 US Techno Nationals!

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All Smiles at the 2014 US Techno Nationals in Miami, FL!

Youth and talent were on display this weekend in the Sunshine State: nearly 30 young racers converged to Miami, Florida for the 2014 US Techno Nationals and RS:X Spring Festival. It was a great opportunity for everyone to reconnect, take stock of the competition and iron out the kinks ahead of the summer racing campaign.

Competitors were greeted with 10-14 kt southerly winds on Friday, 4-10 kt puffs with 30 degree shifts on Saturday on the back of a big overnight lightning storm, and 14-20 kt gusty north-westerlies on Sunday. Enough craziness to test everyone’s sanity! Mack Van Den Eerenbeemt, just off the podium at both the North and South American Championships this year, made up for it here and dominated the Techno Class with 7 wins out of 10 races. He summed it up for us: “the conditions were so varied, everyone got a chance to express themselves!”

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Racing against the Miami skyline! Photo Credit: Tomas Nores

Mack and Steven Max traveled from Aruba for the event to test their skills against the best racers from the US, and they were joined by a strong contingent from Mexico: among them Mateo Salles, who confirmed his 5th place at the North Americans earlier this year with a 5th place in Miami; and Mariana Aguilar who served notice that she’s the girl to beat in the Techno Class in North America right now, and will surely be a force to be reckoned with this summer at the Worlds in Brest and at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

The US National Techno title went to local hero Maximo Nores, ahead of Steven Cramer and Maximo’s brother Geronimo Nores: the same triumvirate that ruled the North American Championships in Cancun two months ago, and will be carrying the flag for the US at the European Championships this week in Italy. Those kids do get around, don’t they?

What made the US Nationals a great event for those kids? “It was great to race with people from outside the US,” said Maximo. “The best part was meeting racers from other countries,” added Mariana. The Miami Yacht Club and the Miami Youth Sailing Foundation ought to be commended for running a great event, but more importantly for helping keep the momentum going and creating yet another occasion for kids from North, South and Latin America to get together, learn from one another and raise the bar for everyone.

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Gold and Silver Fleets Ready to Pounce at the 2014 US Techno Nationals!

Success breeds success, and the talent at the top is infectious. Noah Lyons, a 12-yr old up-and-comer from Clearwater, FL, relished the heavy air and impressed everyone on the race course, but he knows he has some catching up to do in lighter conditions. He was wide-eyed about the experience and came away with the feeling that “with enough practice, anything is possible.”

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Hard Work at the 2014 US Techno Nationals

While the Techno class battled it up for national titles and bragging rights, the ‘older’ RS:X sailors used the event as a tune up. US Olympic Development Team Member Raul Lopez loved that this was a hard-thought yet no-pressure kind of event, and that relaxed attitude showed on his scorecard: he didn’t lose a single race! Diego Becerra from Mexico took advantage of the conditions to make “drastic improvements to (his) downwind technique.” Malo Ouallet “took (his) gear tuning skills to another level.” US Youth World Team Member Charlotte Samson used the event to test how her knees were holding up after a long injury timeout – “it’s been a while since I’ve sailed free of pain,” she said. “I’m really encouraged and looking forward to getting back on the water big time!”

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The RS:X Fleet Battling for Position ahead of the Finish Line – Miami, April 2014

The road is long and filled with endless hours on the water, buckets of sweat at the gym and layers of calluses on the hands, but as Raul Lopez noted with a smile, “it’s fantastic to see how the level in the US keeps going up.”

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Clowning Around at the 2014 US Techno Nationals!

Here are the podium positions:

Techno 293 US National:
1. USA 102. Maximo Nores
2. USA 242. Steven Cramer
3. USA 108. Geronimo Nores

Overall Techno 293 – girls:
1. MEX 28. Mariana Aguilar
2. MEX 75. Paula Carmona

Overall Techno 293 – boys:
1. ARU 11. Mack Van Den Eerenbeemt
2. USA 102. Maximo Nores
3. ARU 888. Steven Max

Overall Techno 293 – silver fleet:
1. USA 519. Michael Cramer
2. USA 628. Max Castillo
3. USA 708. Benjamin Dietch

RS:X 9.5:
1. USA 529. Raul Lopez
2. USA 528. Jonathan Rudich
3. USA 142. Malo Ouallet

RS:X 8.5 Girls:
1. MEX 87. Beatriz Castillo
2. USA 797. Charlotte Samson
3. MEX 126. Renata Millet

RS:X 8.5 Boys:
1. MEX 50. Mario Flores
2. MEX 83. Diego Becerra
3. USA 105. Nicolas Bailleul

Full Results here…

Steven Cramer reports from Cancun!

Techno Competition in Cancun - credit: Patrik Pollak

Techno North Americans in Cancun – Photo Credit: Patrik Pollak

The 2014 North Americans for the Techno and RS:X classes took place Feb 20-23 in beautiful Cancun, Mexico, and were particularly important for a few reasons: it was an opportunity for RS:X competitors to qualify their country for the 2015 Pan-Am Games, and it was a continental country qualifier in the Techno 293 class for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China!

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are the real deal: first held four years ago in Singapore, they’re modeled after the ‘grown-ups’ Olympics. They will feature 3,500 competitors from 200 countries competing across 30 sports, lavish opening/closing ceremonies, an Olympic village, and even a cute mascot: Nanjinglele. According to the Games’ official website: “the word LELE embodies the spirit of advancing and pioneering, and heralds Nanjing’s ambition to (…) leave the city’s footprint on the trail of the Olympic movement by delivering joyful, glamorous and indelible experiences for young people around the world.”

So there you have it. But before getting to the Games – and yes, windsurfing on the Bic Techno 293 is one of the two sailing disciplines at the YOG! -, one has to qualify the country, and the spots are few and far between. This is done through continental qualifiers, and the event at Puerto Cancun was the regional qualifier for our part of the world.

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Swanky Launch Area in Cancun – Photo Credit: Patrik Pollak

Thirty kids aged 15-16 from Aruba, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the USA competed hard for two spots. The US boys qualified in style, sweeping the podium at the event, but it was down to the wire for the second spot (Aruba came from behind on the last day to take it!).

One of the US teammates, Steven Cramer from Miami, FL, sent us this great report from the event:

Steven Cramer from the US, rigging up for action in Cancun! Credit: Patrik Pollak

Steven Cramer from the US, rigging up for action in Cancun! Credit: Patrik Pollak

My name is Steven Cramer and I windsurf. I like to windsurf because I like to go fast and I love the feeling I get when I am on the water. I have been racing techno 293 for 2 years and I cannot believe the incredible places I have been. Cancun is one of the most beautiful. I remember when I was first told about the North American Championship/Youth Olympic Qualifier in Mexico. It seemed like a huge challenge. But I like challenges.

The first day we arrived in Cancun it was just a beach with a tent. By the last day, it was a full-fledged windsurfing festival. The wind was amazing, and so were the competitors. We arrived 4 days before the competition to train, and the wind was perfect for me – light to mid wind. I felt really good. The first day of the regatta, though, was a huge test for me. It got really windy and I am better at light wind – I am a smaller guy. I did ok, but not well enough to get near the podium. Fortunately for me, the wind got lighter the next 2 days and I got better. The last and 4th day, the wind picked up again, like the first day, and I had to pull myself together, hold on, and survive the wind, if I wanted to make it to the podium.

I somehow did it. This was an amazing experience for me because there were so many really good sailors. I loved every minute of being there, challenges and all, and I hope to go back!

Tight Racing at the NAs in Cancun - Credit: Patrik Pollak

Tight Racing at the NAs in Cancun – Credit: Patrik Pollak

Results from the event are here!

Patrik Pollak, traveler and videographer extraordinaire was there to report. Check out his recap video and feel like you were part of the action:

And more of Patrik’s great pics right here!