Category Archives: windsurfing

US Windsurfing National Champs- 1/2 way through

With 7 course races already under their belts, racers returned for Day 3 of the US Windsurfing National Championship in San Francisco that saw the fleet spread out across the San Francisco Bay in a long distance race to Treasure Island and back to Crissy Field before 6 heats of slalom were run in gusty but reasonable conditions.

Consistency was the name of the game for Phil McGain who took the long distance race after event leader Paulo des Rios mistook the mid course gate for the leeward mark and started back upwind.
It wasn’t long ago that McGain – a veteran in the sport of windsurfing- gave up one of San Francisco most famous long distance races- the SF Classic by sailing right passed R4 and let the local fleet slip by. This time, he had his notebook for reference with course diagrams, tides and weather info.

The long distance race started and restarted and finally restarted again under the black flag with the outgoing ebb tide pulling sailors across the line and over early. Finally in the last start, I decided enough – and I would start on port with a few others ducking the fleet- making sure to get out the the right side but this time the inside lift finally paid off at the beach with the majority of the starboard tackers getting upwind first.

From there it was a slow but steady downwind run in 16-22k and over some short steep chop along the city front that had racers gybing through multiple lanes of ferry traffic and fishing trawlers and then through 2 gates: one stationed in front of the StFYC and the other off Blossom Rock on the north east side of the city and finally down to a leeward mark stationed north of Treasure Island before heading back upwind- in reverse order through the Blossom Rock gate and to the finish in front of the StFYC.
The pecking order was pretty much established with the top 10 staying pretty much in that order.

Finally with an hour rest break, the slalom fleets were established and 6 full rounds of slalom were run in 12-18k before the wind diminished too much on the inside of the course- set just off Crissy Field.

Racing in both course and slalom will continue Friday and Saturday with old and new school freestyle set to start Friday afternoon from the east beach at Crissy Field.

Steve Bodner

USA-4

Photos Credit: Shawn Davis

Relief from the Heat on Day 1 of Nationals

Seth Besse at 2010 US Windsurfing Nationals

Even the locals looked cold on day 1 of US Windsurfing Nationals here in San Francisco!  With just over 40 boards on the starting line, four races were completed in building breeze and the complicated currents that San Francisco is so famous for.  Brazillian Formula superstar, Paulo dos Reis is dominating so far, with Phil McGain, Wilhelm Schurmann, Aurelien Le Metayer and Seth Bessie rounding out the top five.  More Formula racing plus slalom and freestyle is scheduled for the rest of the week – so check back for more updates!  You can see full results from the St. Francis Yacht Club race office at http://www.stfyc.com/files/2010-US-Windsurfing-Nats-Results.pdf and check out the pictures from professional photographer Shawn Davis at http://www.picyourshot.com/event/2010-US-Windsurfing-Nationals and see more event reports at http://www.waterhound.com/us-windsurfing-national-championships-and-formula-north-americans-day-1-report.html, www.stevebodner.blogspot.com and http://www.mauisails.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=2913

Nothing less than Classic for the SF Formula fleet

What can be said about the San Francisco Classic and Ultra Nectar Challenge that hasn’t been said before.
The longest running long distance windsurfing race in some of the toughest conditions imaginable!
A 40+ mile trek taking the formula boards and kiters (for the past 5 years) out the golden gate and 8 times across the SF Bay, down to the bottom of the Berkeley pier for the SF Classic and back the the StFYC for the UN Challenge.

Seth Besse dominated both races in the 25 board formula fleet with an elapsed time of 1 hour and 46 minutes while kiters Johnny Heineken and Joey Pasquali each took the upwind and downwind portions of their race respectively but still were well off the pace of the top boards with best elapsed finish time by Chip Wasson in 2 hours and 2 minutes

The wind readings off Angel Island on Saturday pretty much sumed it up.
35-40k at Point Blunt.

Multiple blow ups on the way downwind and upwind had me thinking about about stopping to retire at Treasure Island at least a few times as that was our designated safe spot- guaranteed for a ride back to SF with the RC.
Each time, however, I was able to dig a bit deeper and hang on a little bit longer.
The reach from Blossom rock to Point Blunt was pure hell.
Somewhere between a beam reach and a close reach on a formula board is pretty much the most uncomfortable position you would ever want to put yourself in with a 67cm and 9.5m rig . Add 4-6′ breaking swell and the wind now gusting above 30k .
Im not sure how the others coped but I found just how far I could push myself to the limit without going over.
Survival was the name of the game.
It was a respectable 5th for me in the SF Classic and just happy to have made it back home across the finish line for the UN Challenge.
Ive sailed in 8 or 9 SF Classics and can say this was one of the windiest and most challenging I’ve ever done.

The return trip home for the UN Challenge was equally as brutal.
Port tack towards Angel Island seemed an eternal punishment for all the bad things I had done in my life.
I was getting pounded never able to put the hammer down.
Wave after wave- the board was flying well out of the water across the top of the 4-6′ swell.
My muscles are still sore thinking about it.
The guys that sailed up the city front had a bit tamer ride and a noticeable advantage once they reached the finish in front of the St. Francis YC.

The timing for this years event couldn’t be better with the 2010 US Windsurfing National Championships off Crissy Field in San Francisco from July 20-24.

Steve Bodner
USA-4

Results and report @ www.stevebodner.blogspot.com
Photo credit: Don Albinico

Gorge Windfest – June 26 & 27!

The wind is back and so are the windsurfers!  The Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association invites you- whether you’re a seasoned windsurfer, newbie, or just want to enjoy a day at the beach- to join us at Windfest Weekend, June 26-27, in Hood River.   The festivities will be held at the Event Site in Hood River, Oregon.  Take exit 63 off I-84 and head toward the river.  Activities will run from 10am until dusk on Saturday, June 26th, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday, June 27th.  Demo tickets are available for purchase at the beach for $10, or $5 for CGWA members.   If you’ve never windsurfed before, this is your chance to try it out.  Big Winds is offering free lessons on Saturday and Sunday afternoons- space is limited, so sign up in the mornings at the Event Site.   For those who want to expand your skills, clinics will run throughout both days at the Event Site.  Clinics will be offered by Bruce Peterson (Owner of Sailworks), Wyatt Miller (Pro rider for Naish), and various skilled team riders. 

 Windsurf distributors from throughout the country will gather on the beach for unlimited gear demos all weekend.  Try out a stand up paddleboard, or work your way through the various brands’ newest gear.  Exhibitors include Trident Sports, Big Winds, Windsport Magazine, Groundswell / Ezzy, Bonnier Corps / Windsurfing Magazine, Sailworks, Maui Sails, Dakine, Realwind, Northsports, Naish Sails, and Shadowbox.

 Be sure to catch some live music and good grub at the Full Sail/Taco del Mar Pray for Wind Party on Saturday evening.  Tony Smiley will play live music on the beach until dusk.  David Griffith will host a live auction to raise funds for CGWA.  Hot auction items include:

  • Vela 7-day stay for 2 at the Brazilian combo- Jericoacoara + Icaraizinho
  • Make your own Nolimitz mast at the Nolimitz factory in White Salmon (you get to keep the mast)
  • On-water photoshoot with professional sports photographer Jock Bradley
  • Gift certificates for local lodging and dining, lots of windsurf gear, art, and much more!

There will be a silent auction on the beach in the large tent all day Saturday, and will close at 6pm.  The live auction will run from 7-8pm. 

 Also this weekend is the Gorge Blowout, where amateur and competitive windsurfers sail for 17 miles from Stevenson to Hood River.  The finish line is at the Event Site- come and cheer as they cross the finish line!  There is a junior blowout available for anyone looking to participate in 7 miles of downwind action, from Viento to Hood River.  For information about the Blowout and to register, visit www.VMGEvents.com

 If you would like to donate an item for the Pray for Wind party, please contact Beth McCullough at bmcculough@gorge.net.  If you are interested in volunteering at the event, contact Pete Biltoft at vintagevibeguitars@gorge.net

 Windfest is brought to you by the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing with the generous support of the Gorge community.  Special thanks to these sponsors: Vela Windsurfing Resorts, Your Rental and Party Center, Taco del Mar, Full Sail Brewing, and Griffith Motors. 

CGWA is a 501(c)(3) member-based nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the windsurfing experience throughout the Columbia River Gorge.  Learn more about our programs and projects at www.CGWA.net.

2010 Ronstan Challenge


The Ronstan Challenge is billed as a comfortable tour of the San Francisco Bay taking the formula windsurfers and kite boarders down to Berkeley and back to the SF city front. Unlike its older sibling- the SF Classic (with 18 downwind gybe marks) run next month- it’s a straight shot downwind and back. The biggest thing you need to take into account is the tides.
Line them up correctly and you could be riding a magic carpet straight to the finish while your competitors fight it out in the flood tide.

For a while it looked like it might be a full on reaching race with the wind from the north at 20-25k Saturday morning. Predictably, the westerlies filled in but hardly in SF fashion. The RC shortened the course to Treasure Island and back as it was still 8-13k at the 2pm start. Most racers choose their 11m rigs and big kites for the hour plus tour of the Bay.

I finally passed Steve Sylvester for the lead below Alcatraz and rounded the leeward mark in front but failed to protect my lead as the top 3 squeezed by playing the inside ebb tide on the city front on the upwind ride home. After 55 minutes of racing and nearly 16 miles to show, only 13 seconds separated the top 2 with Sylvester edging out Eric Christanson for the bullet. The kites lined up for their start 25 minutes after the boards and course winner, and current world Champion- Adam Koch showed some amazing VMG with an elapsed time of 49-1/2 minutes beating local Chip Wasson by 2 minutes across the line.

If racers felt cheated from the lack of a full long distance race on Saturday, the course more than made up for it on Sunday with the windward mark set near the presidio shoal buoy and the leeward mark set off Pier 39. 3 course races were run for each fleet in a building 20-25k breeze.
The long down winder was brutal flying over the short steep chop at 25K+. If you could just hang on it was all good!

In the last race I found myself near the top again and gybed with the leaders but immediately went over the handle bars as I accelerated right into a 3′ wall of voodoo chop. I lay spread out like a yard sale in the middle of San Francisco Bay. I slowly picked up the pieces trying to uphaul, then water start. 30 seconds later later and the leaders were gone.

Local racer Seth Besse dominated the Formula fleet with 3 bullets in convincing style while Koch and Wasson battled it out in the kite fleet with neither finishing worse than 2nd. In the it was Koch taking the line honors again.

As always, the St. Francis YC deserves huge props for well run regatta.
Photo credit Chris Ray.
Complete report, results and photos at www.stevebodner.blogspot.com

Steve Bodner
USA-4

2010 US Windsurfing National Champ’s in San Francisco!

See the city from the water!

The 2010 Nationals are just around the corner – July 20-24 in beautiful, windy San Francisco!  The event, which is also the North American Formula Championships, will be run out of (and hosted by) the St. Francis Yacht Club and sailors will launch from world famous Crissy Field just next door.  Racing will take place Tuesday through Saturday and the emphasis will be on course racing, though the event organizers may run slalom and/or a long distance race if conditions permit.  You can see the complete notice of race at   2010 US Windsurfing National Championship NOR and you can register at http://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=376

Elvestrom- Zellerbach regatta

Some valuable lessons were learned at this weekends Elvestrom- Zellerbach regatta hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club on the San Francisco Bay.
With 4 dinghy classes and the Formula windsurfing fleet on the city front course, the RC managed 7 races for each fleet over 2 days in sunny conditions ranging from 15-20k on Saturday to a breezy last race on Sunday with the wind up to 30k and some serious voodoo chop on the course. Watching the dinghies tack up the city front where there was some relief from the 4k flood tide was a great lesson but the boards still choose to maximize their VMG and bang the corners.
After all- speed kills
Xavier Flerlet GBR-451 cleaned up the formula fleet with 6/7 bullets.
The only race left was for 2nd seeing US-44, Eric Christanson and myself, USA-4 tied on points going into the last race
Leading the final race in EPIC conditions, I held out until the last downwind on the double windward leeward course before exploding within spitting distance of the finish line.
The big lesson for me was no matter your lead, it’s not over till you cross the finish line!
At the end, Xavier stole the last bullet with the SF Formula fleet clearly in awe.
Great sailing mate.

Steve Bodner
USA-4

Full report at www.stevebodner.blogspot.com
Photo credit: Erik Simonson: www.pressure-drop.us
Results: stfyc

Access to Lake Hodges, CA in Peril. You can help!

San Diego County recently eliminated windsurfing access to Lake Hodges.  US Windsurfing needs your help in the fight to regain access to Lake Hodges.

The San Diego Windsurfing Association created a petition to help sway the County government to reopen Lake Hodges to windsurfing.

That petition is available at this link: http://www.sdwa.org/LakeHodgespetition.pdf

It is very important to print out the petition, sign it and then place it in First Class mail.  US Windsurfing encourages your help regardless of your location.  Even if you are not from the San Diego area, access affects all windsurfers, so please send in the prepared petition or simply write a letter in your own words.  Your 42 cent stamp will have a huge impact!

Also, a discussion of this topic exists on the iWindsurf.com forum.

Here is that link: http://www.iWindsurf.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=129086#129086

More Great Racing in Florida

The Florida racing season continues, with great racing in Miami, Merritt Island and Clearwater! 

The Miami Wind & Surfers Challenge was held at US Sailing Center in Miami, FL from April 9-11.  Fernando Martiznez sailed to victory just ahead of Ron Kern and Farrah Hall after 10 races on Biscayne Bay.  The weather was perfect for Formula racing the entire weekend – you can read all about it at www.windsurfingtour.com and see full results and more pictures!

Ron Kern blasting on Biscayne Bay

 

The Florida Windfest (co-hosted by Calema Windsurfing and Sandy Point Progressive Sports) will be held at Calema Windsurfing on April 17 & 18.  It is a low key event for all ages that is a great way to try out racing for the first time or be part of an event that isn’t as big and intimidating as some of the races you read about.  You can get all the details at www.calema.com.