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!

2014 RS:X Nationals

On the Start Line at the 2014 RS:X Nationals

On the Start Line at the 2014 RS:X Nationals – Photo: Dominique Vallée

The RS:X US Nationals took place in Miami on Jan 18-20, 2014, on beautiful Biscayne Bay and in mild temperatures while the rest of the country was battling nothing less than a ‘polar vortex!’

A number of international sailors, in Miami for winter training, took part in the open regatta as a tune-up to the ISAF Miami World Cup. Altogether, a fleet of 27 RS:X racers took to the waters right off of Coconut Grove Sailing Club for three days of intense competition in moderate to light winds, alongside 150 other boats across a number of other Olympic classes competing for their North American Championships.

Farrah Hall took the Women’s US National title in style, while Pedro Pascual won the Youth division and US Sailing  Sperry Topsider team member Carson Crain won the Men’s division. Here’s what Farrah had to say about her performance:

Farrah Hall at the 2014 RS:X Nationals

Farrah Hall at the 2014 RS:X Nationals – Photos: Farrah Hall, Will Ricketson

I had a successful event in quite difficult conditions. The wind was from the west for most of the event, which on Biscayne Bay means light, shifty, and gusty conditions.  I sailed a conservative event, which meant not taking any major tactical risks, and staying observant of the oscillating wind shifts.

The days were extremely long, because we shared a course with the 470s and 420s.  On their course, the races were 50-60 minutes, and given the unsettled wind, we spent about 5 hours per day on the water.  This made it a tough event, but it was also great training and confidence building in advance of the OCR.

There was a very big fleet of American youth, which was great to see!

Speaking of which, the 2014 RS:X Nationals were of particular importance for US Youth sailors not just because of the prestige of the national title at stake, but also because those championships were the 2nd and final leg of their qualifying series to make the US Youth Worlds team, and represent the US at the ISAF Youth Worlds this summer in Portugal.

Pedro Pascual for the Boys, and Charlotte Samson for the Girls will have that honor!

From Left to Right: Charlotte Samson, Pedro Pascual and Raul Lopez

Charlotte Samson, Pedro Pascual and Raul Lopez at Qualifier #1 – Photo: Third Coast Photo

In the Open 8.5 division, Izzy Hamilton (GBR) led the event wire to wire, as did Marco Baglione (ITA) in the Open 9.5 division, but with Farrah, Demi Vega (MEX), and David Mier y Terán (MEX) each winning their share of races, they really had to earn it.

A big thank you to Ron Rostorfer and all our friends at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club for running a great event!

Full results are here

Light wind battles at the 2014 RS:X Nationals - Photo: Dominique Vallée

Light wind battles at the 2014 RS:X Nationals – Photo: Dominique Vallée

Carson Crain reports from the 2013 Open Orange Bowl

RS:X Sailors at the 2013 Open Orange Bowl

RS:X Sailors at the 2013 Open Orange Bowl

After Steven Max’s perspective from the Techno fleet at the recent Open Orange Bowl in Miami (Dec 27-30, 2013), here’s a report from Carson Crain (US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider) who won the RS:X competition convincingly, and shares with us the details of how it all played out!

 

By Carson Crain – USA75

This year was the first time that the Open Orange Bowl Regatta featured an RSX fleet and Techno fleet.  Coconut Grove Sailing Center put on a great a event that attracted sailors from all over the world.  In the RSX and Techno fleet we had sailors from Mexico, Peru, USA, Sweden, and Canada.  US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider Coach Leandro Spina did a fantastic job attracting all these sailors and organizing this great event.  Many of the RSX sailors saw this event as an important tune up event for the US ISAF Youth Worlds Qualifier and ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami.  With 12 races scheduled over 4 days the sailors were ready to work for every inch.

On the first day sailors were battered by several rain squalls and winds ranging from 7-14 knots.  These conditions required the sailors to be very heads up with quick gains able to be made all over the course.  I  jumped out to the early lead on Day 1 with 3 straight bullets in the RSX fleet, while Mateo Salles-Ize took the lead in the Techno fleet with Steven Cramer and Maximo Nores right behind him.  On day 2 the breeze increased to 15-18 knots, but the rain squalls continued to affect the racing.  In the first race of the day Max Robinson passed me at the finish line to win the race. I was able to rebound to win the next two races and take a commanding lead.  In the Techno fleet Mateo Salles-Ize won all three races to lead the Techno fleet after day 2.  Day 3 was forecasted to be the windiest day, but once the competitors had made it out to the start line the breeze was only blowing 6-9 knots.  This allowed some of the lighter competitors to show off their light wind skills.  In the RS:X fleet I continued my dominant run winning all three races.  Jonathan Rudich was one of the fastest guys out on the course finishing second in all three races, but only to be OCS in 2 of the races.  In the Techno fleet Steven Cramer took advantage of the lighter conditions to win all three races, narrowing the gap between him and first place Mateo Salles-Ize.  On day 4 the wind never filled in enough to complete any races so the leaders from day 3 held on for victory.  In the Techno fleet there was Mateo Salles-Ize in 1st, Steven Cramer 2nd, and Steven Max 3rd.  In the RS:X fleet I ended up in 1st after winning 8 of the 9 races, Gabriel Paquette in 2nd, and Raul Lopez in 3rd.  The top RS:X 8.5 sailor and female was Nicole Level from Mexico.

Overall it was a great event with 3 perfect days of racing.  Coconut Grove Sailing Center and Leandro Spina deserve a big thank you for organizing and running a great event.

Complete results here: http://bit.ly/JWONfk

 

Carson Crain (USA75) and Jonathan Rudich (USA528) at the finish line

Carson Crain (USA75) and Jonathan Rudich (USA528) at the finish line

Steven Max reports from the 2013 Open Orange Bowl

T293 sailors at the 2013 Open Orange Bowl in Miami

T293 sailors at the 2013 Open Orange Bowl in Miami

Against a backdrop of more than five hundred Opti, Laser and 420 white sails dotting the horizon, a good size fleet of youth windsurfers took to the waters of Biscayne Bay in Miami between Christmas and New Year’s Day for the Open Orange Bowl. Here, Steven Max reports on the action in the Techno fleet for US Windsurfing. Enjoy!

 

By Steven Max – ARU888

Some people in the small windsurfing community probably know me as Steven Max the Freestyle windsurfer (Starboard/Hotsails), few know that next to Freestyle windsurfing, I love to sail techno 293 and do course racing. The last few years I’ve been training really hard to better myself in the Techno 293 class and even though back at home in Aruba there is only a very small group of people practicing this discipline, I try to train as much as I can and really enjoy doing it.

Wanting to get a little more experience with the actual racing in a large group of skilled athletes in the T293 division, I went looking for a competition with an Youth Olympic level nearby to see where I stand and if I’m any good compared to other T293 sailors internationally.

With a lot of help from Nevin Sayre and Tomas Nores, and with the support of my sponsors Malta Polar and GNC Aruba, I was able to go to Miami and join the fun at the Orange Bowl International Youth regatta in Biscayne Bay last week.

Over the last 8 years I have been to many events and regattas, (which did Freestyle, Slalom, Formula and many also had course racing), but I have to say, the Orange Bowl international youth regatta has been a new and exhilarating experience for me. It was very well organized, there were really nice and interesting people, but most of all the professionalism of the organizers was impressive.

It’s really nice for me as a sailor to know exactly where I stand, have such clear rules and regulations that are easy to follow and to be able to completely focus on my racing. It was also fun to be able to sail every day of the event, which I am not used to in Freestyle. I learned so much and made some really cool new friends in the process.

I would like to thank everyone in Miami who helped make the event possible.

One thing I know is that I will continue to sail Techno 293 and maybe RSX in the future and will hopefully return to the Orange bowl next year. I hope to see everyone again in Mexico.

 

Results here: http://bit.ly/JWONfk

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T293 sailors in start sequence in Miami, Dec 27-30 2013

 

The i-to-i Celebrates its 11th Year

Ready for some Long Distance action?

 

Ron Kern: “Coming up just 30 days from today will be the 11th year of the i-to-i!  Time flies.  It doesn’t seem that long ago we ran the first one.  Check out the website to learn the history of the event.  Last year set a record for the shortest overall time to complete the race.  We’ll have to see if we set some records this year.”

 

The 11th annual running of the Inlet to Inlet Long Distance Race is scheduled December 7-8, 2013.  The i-to-i helps wrap up the US Windsurfing National Race Tour for 2013.  More information, notice of race, (NOR), etc. can be found on the official race website: www.i-to-i.org

Success at the 2013 Halloween Regatta in Clearwater, FL!

Racing Starts at the Halloween Regatta in Clearwater, Florida

 

By Connor Oursler – USA 313

With the advent of cooler weather the Clearwater Windsurfing Team is anything but reluctant to get out on the water. To commence this year’s season, the Clearwater Community Sailing Center hosted its first annual Halloween Windsurfing Regatta this past weekend. Led by Coach Britt Viehman, the eight youth racers consisted mainly of those from the local racing team, age 12 to 19. Nevertheless, with three current members of the US Sailing Youth Development Team on the start line, it was enough for some successful and intense racing from the RS:X and Techno classes. Accompanied by light to marginal conditions and crisp October skies, these committed sailors were ready to put two months of rigorous training to the test.

 

In order to take advantage of the 6-8 knots of morning breeze from the East, day one was an early start. Immediately after the skippers meeting, the competitors headed across the flat and brilliant waters of Clearwater Harbor to catch the 10:15 start. It was a strong start too as Jonathan Rudich earned three straight bullets leaving the others to fight for second. However, by noon the winds were shifting to the West, causing a two hour postponement, yet the racers were back on the harbor in no time for three more races in 10 knots of sea breeze. This time, Margot Samson finished in the lead by only two points.The following morning presented ten knots of more Easterly winds to allow four more races of an intense battle for first. Conclusively, and not without a great performance by all, Margot Samson was able to hold her position in the RS:X fleet, but only barely with Connor Oursler and Malo Ouallet trailing by only two and four points respectively. Being the only competitor in the Techno fleet, Noah Lyons received his well deserved prize. Ultimately, Coach Viehman expects a very successful season for each of his students with the exceptional results and outstanding display of skill from this exciting weekend of great racing.

 

Top Finishers: 1. Margot Samson; 2. Connor Oursler; 3. Malo Ouallet

 

A big thank you to the Clearwater Community Sailing Center for hosting the event, and to US Windsurfing for making it happen!

 

Awards Ceremony – Group Portrait of Smiling Competitors

 

Overall Results:

1. 28 pts. Margot Samson
2. 30 pts. Connor Oursler
3. 32 pts. Malo Ouallet
4. 33 pts. Jonathan Rudich
5. 35 pts. Diego Becerra
6. 44 pts. Charlotte Samson
7. 50 pts. Tucker McElwaney
8. 68 pts. Noah Lyons (1st Techno)

Busy Halloween for US Windsurfers!

The air is getting a little chilly everywhere, and the season’s first snow storms have struck already. Time to stash the gear away, hang cobwebs from the front porch and drink spiced pumpkin eggnog, right? Wrong! Halloween may be around the corner, but the windsurf racing season is in full swing! Check out the schedule of US racers for the next couple of weeks:

We even have a few intrepid world travelers attending the following international events:

  • Oct 20-26: Civitavecchia, Italy – RS:X Youth World Championships
  • Oct 26 – Nov 3: Eilat, Israel – U15/17 Techno European Championships

 

Trick or Treat?… BOTH!