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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Posts Tagged ‘kitesurfing’

Moving from 2009 to 2010 Motivated to Get Back to My Kite Blogging Ways

Posted by direwolff on January 18, 2010

Just a heads up that after nearly a year hiatus from blogging here, seeing all of the new cool kites that are being released into this 2010 season, and the fact that the San Francisco Bay Area has been getting some crazy winds of late, this has all conspired to get me back into blogging about our local kite scene.  Already since December, there have been several north wind days at Crissy Field and we’re currently experiencing some storm conditions that are bringing in south winds to the coast.  Half Moon Bay brought some joy to kiters both yesterday and today, while Ocean Beach got a bunch of us out there today.

As well, I just changed my quiver from Eclipse to Dimitri Maramenides’ new kite line, Epic Kites.  While he may not describe them in this way, the Epic Streamer is the next gen of what was the Eclipse Thruster, while the Epic Renegade is the next gen of what was the Eclipse Kima.  Having ridden the Eclipse kites last season, what I have experienced so far has been quite an improvement to an already good design.  He has also come out with a special treat in a kite called the Epic Streamer Limited Edition which only comes in a 10m version, but is more powered than the equivalent sized Streamer.  As for the bar, don’t get me started, simply said, it ROCKS in its simplicity and smart design.  My quiver this season are 6m & 9m Renegades and the 10m Streamer LTD.

Managed to get a 30 minute session on the a north wind day at Crissy las weekend and can just say that it’s a power machine with great grunt on the low-end and feels like it’s begging for me to let it send me into the air.  Sort of like a Ferrari begging for you to take it into the 125+mph zone, if you know what I mean.  Unfortunately, I was riding my strapless surfboard so I couldn’t let’er go, but I could feel what that puppy wanted to do.  Can’t wait to get it out with my twin tip to see what kind of air time it’s going to provide.

Today, managed to ride one of those weird south wind sessions at Ocean Beach.  It was a hard core ride due to the rain, slightly gusty winds and some mid-sized swell, but from a direction that we don’t get very often there.  Definitely fun while it lasted, which again was only about 30 minutes for me before the winds just shut off like a light switch.  For this session, I took out my virgin Renegade 9m and was not disappointed.  Fast turning, exceedingly responsive, and with plenty of power at every stroke.  Any time the wind dropped off a tad, all it took was a down stroke to get some good power back into the kite to avoid any slowing in the waves.  Wish I could have been out longer to get a better feel for the kite’s range but I now have tasted blood and am looking forward to my next session on this kite.  It’s definitely the wave kite to beat this season.  I’m expecting some solid competition in this segment from the RRD Religion which was just announced as their wave kite and has a nice, though different shape.  Will give that kite a fair review as well, as soon as I get to try it.

Looks like kitesurfing season is going to be a blast with this early start in January, things are only looking up from here.  This rain is also bringing lots of snow to the Lake Tahoe resorts, so I may slip out for some snowboarding, and who knows maybe take the kites along to put them through their paces on snow.

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Taking the fish tale thing to a whale-sized level

Posted by direwolff on November 10, 2008

This is totally insane.  For all of us who have been riding in the SF Bay area riding along side seal, dolphins and at times sharks, this one takes the cake…

Took place somewhere in Australia.  See the newspaper link here.

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Loscoco Captures the Essence of the 2008 Kiteboarding Champiosnhips

Posted by direwolff on June 15, 2008

Erin Loscoco, one our local Bay area kiteboarders who also participated in the early days of the Nationals, is also a gifted photographer. He spent the latter part of the week snapping some great shots which really capture the mood and intensity of this year’s event. You can check out his site here. He also set-up a “BEST OF” page which has fewer pics but still conveys the mood, here.

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2008 Kiteboarding Nationals: Final Standings…the Pros take over

Posted by direwolff on June 15, 2008

Well, another great week of kiteboarding course racing comes to an end here at Crissy Field with many of the pros taking over the top spots. Where last year, amateurs Anthony Chavez (Naish) and Jeff Kafka (Cabrinha) from the SF Bay area were able to secure the top rankings, this year, many of the well known freestyle names, riders like Damien LeRoy (Cabrinha) and Sky Solbach (North), roared into the event taking no prisoners. Even 16 year young pro rider, Jon Van Malsen (North), managed to come away with 6th place after some great racing on Saturday.

What made this year more competitive is that now that the PKRA has picked up on course racing, many of the pro riders are more exposed to this form of the sport and are evolving the style and the technology. Tech played a big role, though everyone, pros and amateurs alike, are still experimenting. Here is a look at some of these new custom board designs:

It was great to see the spirit of sportsmanship alive and well here in these races, as many of the competitors would frequently trade boards between races, if only to get a feel for what the new designs had to offer. Some designs were amazing upwind machines, but were less effective on the downwind legs of the event. Different board styles suited styles of different riders, but it was nice for them to be able to do head-to-head comparisons between boards and between each other on the race course.

Here are the final standings for the week long event, with Damien LeRoy (Cabrinha) taking 1st place after dominating most of the week, Sean Farley (North) in 2nd place, and Sky Solbach (North) sealing up 3rd place. Three of the Bay area’s finest managed to lock in top 10 performances, among these were Anthony Chavez (Naish), 2007 Kiteboarding Nationals champion, working his way back up the standings to 5th place; recent Maui transplant, Shawn Richman (Waiman Kites) with a 7th place overall finish; and Jeff Kafka (Cabrinha), of Wind Over Water fame, finishing up in 9th position.

Here are the overall standings:

2008 US Kiteboarding National Championship Preliminary Results – Championship Series

Jersey # Name QR #1 QR #2 QR #3 QR #4 QR #5 QR #6 QR #7 QR #8 QR #9 QR #10 QR #11 QR #12 CR #1 CR #2 CR #3 CR #4 CR #5 CR #6 CR #7 CR #8 CR #9 TOTAL
Y v R W v B R v W B v Y Y v W R v B Y v R W v B R v W B v Y Y v W R v B
1 Blue 8 Damien LeRoy 2* 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 3* 2 2 2 2 21
2 White 3 Sean Farley 5* 2 1 3 5 1 1 1 2 12* 5 1 1 1 1 25
3 Blue 11 Sky Solbach 1 2 1 1 3* 2 4 3 3 3 1 3 6* 4 3 31
4 Yellow 10 Jon Modica 5 8* 5 6 2 2 9 5 8 10 6 5 13* 5 4 72
5 Yellow 3 Anthony Chavez 2 3 2 8* 4 3 9 11 6 5 11 13* 3 11 8 78
6 Yellow 12 Jon Van Malsen 9* 5 4 4 5 5 10 9 18* 8 4 8 12 3 6 83
7 Red 12 Shawn Richman 7* 1 3 1 1 3 DNS* 10 4 2 2 4 8 OCS 5 87
8 Blue 9 Kent Marinkovic 3 4* 4 4 4 4 6 8 9 6 10 9 11 10 12* 88
9 Red 6 Jeff Kafka 8* 7 5 2 2 7 16* 6 7 4 7 15 7 9 11 89
10 Blue 12 Ken Winner 4 DSQ* 12 8 6 5 8 12 14* 9 8 7 5 8 9 101
11 Red 4 Michael Gebhardt 1 5 9 10* 8 6 14 17* 13 14 9 12 4 7 7 109
12 Yellow 5 John Gomes 4 7 7 5 DNF* 7 3 4 11 13 14 22* 18 6 15 114
13 Red 11 Marc Ramseier 3 4 7 7 6 8* 7 DNF* 5 15 15 11 16 13 14 123
14 Yellow 6 Geoff Headington DNS* 6 6 3 8 14 13 13 10 11 17* 10 9 12 10 125
15 White 11 Nils Stolzlechner 6* 3 3 6 3 6 12 DNF* 12 7 12 42 10 14 16 146
16 White 13 Chip Wasson 18 11 9 7 7 DSQ* 5 7 15 19 13 14 15 23* 23 163
17 Red 9 Donny Parker 16* 6 8 11 10 9 24* 14 17 17 20 15 14 16 13 170
18 Yellow 7 Clarissa Hempel 6 10 13* 9 7 8 18 15 16 20 22 17 24* 17 17 182
19 Blue 1 Kristin Boese 9 9 15* 10 9 10 15 18 19 21* 18 19 17 20 18 191
20 White 10 Marcelo Segura 10 8 10 13 14* 12 19 25* 23 18 16 20 21 15 19 204
21 Red 13 Frank Wittke 12 10 12 13 12 15* 11 16 20 DNS* 25 18 20 18 24 211
22 Blue 4 Eric Due 11 14* 10 9 10 11 23 21 24 16 16 16 25* 24 21 212
23 White 4 Melissa Gil 8 9 11 12 13* 11 22 20 21 25 19 21 22 21 27* 222
24 Yellow 2 Christopher Brown 17* 13 8 12 12 8 25 19 22 24 26 26 31* 26 20 241
25 Yellow 13 Arnaud Vuillermet 18 12 14 DNS* 11 10 17 22 25* 22 24 24 23 19 25 241
26 Red 5 Steve Gibson 15* 14 11 15 9 14 21 27 30 29 28 31* 19 22 26 265
27 Yellow 8 Bret Herscher 11 16 16 14 14 DNS* 31* 23 27 27 23 28 26 28 29 282
28 Red 10 Sandy Parker 10 12 18* 17 15 13 27 26 29 32* 30 30 28 25 22 284
29 Blue 5 Eric Geleynse 14 15 17* 14 13 12 26 24 26 28 29 29 34 DNS* DNS 307
30 White 5 Mo Hart DNS* DNS 15 11 11 13 20 OCS* DNS 23 21 25 29 DNS DNS 325
31 Blue 13 Kris Youngberg 15 13 19* 15 15 16 DNF* DNS DNS 26 31 27 30 29 30 333
32 Yellow 9 Bruce Johnson 19 17 18 18 16 DNS* 32 DNF* DNS DNF 27 23 27 27 28 338
33 White 6 Ella Johnson DNF DNS* 19 16 16 DNS 28 28 DNS* 31 33 34 32 30 31 354
34 White 2 Dave Broome 7 13* 12 5 4 4 DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 376
35 Red 1 Vladimir Belinsky DNF DNS* 14 20 DSQ DNS 30 DNS* DNS 33 32 32 33 31 32 384
36 Red 14 Vlad Morozz DNS* DNF 16 DNS DNS DNS 29 29 28 30 34 DNS* 35 DNS 33 389
37 Red 3 Caroline Freitas 13 15 13 16 DNS* DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 429
38 Yellow 11 Brendan Richards 14 11 17 DNS* DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 442
39 White 14 Peter Schiebel 13 DNF DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 469
40 Yellow 4 James Donaldson DNS* DNS DNS 19 27 27 DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 473
41 Blue 3 Raymond Deiter DNS* DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS 34 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 475
42 White 7 Erin Loscocco DNS* DNS 20 DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 476
43 Blue 14 Shawn Murray DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
44 Blue 10 Michael Scott DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
45 Blue 2 Steph Bridge DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
46 Blue 6 Bobby Hall DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
47 Blue 7 Lance Larivee DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
48 Red 15 Ryan Lamb DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
49 Red 2 Shawn Ewing DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
50 Red 7 Jeffrey Klein DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
51 White 1 Darren Bass DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
52 White 12 Jason Trupkin DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484
53 White 8 Jeffrey Ruoss DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 484

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It’s All Smiles at the 2008 Kiteboarding Nationals – San Francisco Bay

Posted by direwolff on June 14, 2008

As most seasoned kiters know, keeping a serious face during anything to do with kitesurfing is down right near impossible to do. Even on game day, when the racing stakes are up, every kiters you talk to can’t help but beam a smile. Spent Saturday walking around talking to racers after their finish and with few exceptions, it was happy all around regardless of where they placed. Couldn’t resist sharing these shots here…

(Row 1: Steve Gibson, John Gomes (race organizer), Sandy Parker (Kitopia); Row 2: John Van Malsen, Clarissa Hempel, Eric Due; Row 3: Anthony Chavez (2007 Nationals Champion), Donny Parker (Kitopia), Jeff Kafka (WindOverWater); Row 4: Chip Wasson (Ultra Nectar), Shawn Richman/John Modica/Sky Solbach/Damien LeRoy/Kent Marinkovic, Shawn Richman)

Even the spectators couldn’t help but get into the smiling trend…

(Spectator Row: Bill Tai (KiteVC), Kathy Smith/Chad Nicols, Pete Cabrinha (Cabrinha Kites)/Austin

It was great to see all of this happiness bundle up in one place :)

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The Marin Independent Journal covers our kiteboarding passion

Posted by direwolff on June 11, 2008

Several of us Marin riders were recently interviewed by Andrew Pentis of the Marin Independent Journal (marinij.com). His feature just came out today, and portrays the sickness that we’re all bound by. The article is titled, “CEOs loosen ties, surf their kites at national championship on the bay”, where he humorously states:

If horse racing is the sport of kings, kiteboarding is becoming that of corporate executives – at least in the Bay Area. But Marin residents taking part in the birth of a water sport don’t sit in the stands. When it’s time to shed the suit and tie, they fly a kite on the San Francisco Bay – with an attached surfboard under their feet, powered by the offshore winds. That provides the thrill.”

It’s very cool to have the opportunity to help spread the addiction around the Bay Area :)

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Kiteboarding Nationals 2008 – “Let’s get it on!”

Posted by direwolff on June 10, 2008

Some good coverage and shots of the start of the U.S. Kiteboarding Nationals on the SFGate site today. Unlike last year, it really looks like the weather is cooperating right from the get-go, as you’ll see from the pictures in the SF Gate article, the sun and win are ON!

Good to see some of the local kiters, like Chip Wasson, Jeff Kafka, and race organizer John Gomes, get mentioned in the article. John Gomes deserves special kudos as the driving force behind this event. Fortunately, he put together an excellent support committee to help him pull all of this off. It’s great when a plan comes together :)

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RONSTAN Bay Challenge – Kite Class: A good time had by all

Posted by direwolff on June 1, 2008

The Kite Class of the RONSTAN Bay Challenge was very exciting. There’s also a Formula Windsurfing Class, but as a participant in the kitesurfing race, it’s tough to keep up with the windsurfing action since they start the race 5 minutes before us and go much faster. Special thanks shout out to both the St. Francis Yacht Club race committee for managing this event and all of the volunteers who participated in the effort. Also, thanks to RONSTAN for their long time support of such a great event.

The event is broken down into two days, with the first being the long distance race which goes from Crissy Field, west towards the Golden Gate Bridge approximately a half mile to a windward mark, then back down wind (east) all the way to Berkeley for the leeward mark, then back up the St. Francis Yacht Club for the finish. The weather was very uncooperative with light winds under 20 kts for the down wind leg, and foggy skies the whole race. The upwind leg showed signs of life with winds ranging up to the low 20 kts.

There were lots of choices to be made in terms of how best to reach Berkeley and the different strategies paid off in different ways. The top three racers split at Alcatraz with one of the favorites, Shawn Richman, staying close to Angel Island the whole way down, while Chip Wasson and Anthony Chavez stayed on the city front side. Shawn’s down wind strategy paid off in spades giving him what seemed like an early 1 to 2 mile lead by the time he crossed the Berkeley marker. Nils Stolzlechner and John Gomes like Shawn, also went down on the north side of Alcatraz and were eventually joined by Chip and Anthony rounding the leeward mark. At this point, Shawn’s board became a hindrance and Chip, Nils and John were all able to catch him on the up wind leg between Berkeley and the St. Francis Yacht Club finish line to claim 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ahead of Shawn’s 4th place and Anthony’s close 5th place finish. The standings for Saturday’s race are as follows:

Overall
Position Skipper Finish Time
1. Chip Wasson 14:22:32.0
2. Nils Stolzlechner 14:25:24.0
3. John Gomes 14:27:07.0
4. Shawn Richman 14:30:57.0
5. Anthony Chavez 14:32:34.0
6. Chris Brown 14:37:29.0
7. Pierre Wolff (me) 14:41:00.0
8. Bret Herscher 14:45:03.0
9. Steve Gibson 14:45:14.0
10. Gabe Brown 14:56:41.0
11. Vlad Moroz 15:06:47.0
12. Tim Jackson 15:21:23.0
DNF Bill Kiriakis
DNS Raymond Dieter

Start Time was 13:10:00.0
DNF = Did Not Finish
DNS = Did Not Start

Bill Kiriakis who got a DNF had actually passed both Chris Brown and I on the upwind leg but suffered a fallen kite incident from which he could not recover as we passed by him. Sadly, he was only 4 reaches away from the finish line. Also noteworthy is that the top 3 finishers were all using boards designed and built by Nils.

While I had been advised that we might get strong winds on the way back up wind, I still elected to ride the Eclipse 14m Thruster and didn’t regret it one bit. It was nicely powered on the way back only requiring me to sheet in 1/3 of the way a couple of times, and provided plenty of kick on the down wind leg to even pass a couple of the racers around me.

Sunday brought the course racing legs of the RONSTAN Bay Challenge. This consisted of three races encompassing two laps each with markers that went from Crissy Field to approximately a quarter mile from the Golden Gate Bridge. Starting position is key to doing well in this race and it’s very tricky timing. This is similar to the Thursday Night Cabrinha Race Series most of us also participate in, so the riders were all experienced racers.

This event was dominated by the three favorites, Shawn Richman (19 year old kitesurfing prodigy who moved from Maui to attend U.C. Santa Cruz), Anthony Chavez and Chip Wasson. These three riders took turns at coming in 1st, 2nd or 3rd, with Shawn getting two wins and a 2nd place to win the overall event, Anthony taking 2nd, 3rd and 1st place finishes, while Chip took in 3rd, 2nd and 3rd place finishes. It certainly seemed like Shawn was riding with a mission after having been caught from behind in the previous day’s long distance event.

The Standings for Sunday’s course races were as follows:

Overall
Position Skipper Race 1 | Race 2 | Race 3
1. Shawn Richman 1 | 1 | 2
2. Anthony Chavez 2 | 3 | 1
3. Chip Wasson 3 | 2 | 3
4. John Gomes 6 | 5 | 4
5. Nils Stolzlechner 4 | 6 | 7
6. Bill Kiriakis 5 | 7 | 5
7. Pierre Wolff (me) 10 | 4 | 6
8. Bret Herscher 9 | 8 | 9
9. Steve Gibson 8 | 9 | 10
10. Geoff Headington 7 | DNF | 8
11. Tim Jackson 12 | 10 | 11
12. Raymond Dieter 11 | 11 | 12

The winds were howling at 25-27 kts accompanied by an ebb tide which made for perfect racing conditions. General strategy on where to make jibes played a major role in these races as well as the impact of small mistakes like falling off one’s board during a jibe, or spacing out and missing the location of the finish line altogether, as happened to me in the first race in what led to my 10th place finish…d’oh! Where some riders dominated on the up wind legs, others had a clear advantage on the down wind legs. When all is said and done, everyone had an enjoyable time racing under sunny skies.

For this race, I tried to go with the Eclipse 12m Thruster, but the winds were just too overpowering and since my 10m has yet to arrive, I settled into my 10m Best Bularoo which worked like a charm in what was sometimes very gusty conditions. Something about the nice long throw on the Bularoo bar which really opens up the range of this kite.

After the races, Bill our other friend Charlie, who unfortunately couldn’t race due to an arm injury that he’s allowing himself to heal from, and I went out under the Golden Gate Bridge to catch shoulder high swell. Steady rollers going from the top of the south tower down to the east side of the north tower. Amazingly well shaped swell. We lasted about 45 minutes before yelling “uncle” as our legs were mush from close to two hours of racing followed by this surfing session. Nice way to end the weekend :)

*** Update 6/2/08 @ 9:05am: There was a photographer on the start boat named Sergei Zavarin who took a bunch of pictures of the event. Unfortunately, because they’re for sale I can’t link to them, but you can view them for free on his SmugMug page at http://ultimate-yachtshots.smugmug.com/?preview=1.

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U.S. Kiteboarding Nationals are COMING!!!

Posted by direwolff on May 23, 2008

Yee-ha, can’t wait!!!

June 9th through June 15th 2008, San Francisco will be the lucky host of the U.S. Kiteboarding National Championships – 2008.  Should be very exciting with team riders flying in from all over the world to participate in the excitement.  Crissy Field will be where it all goes down.  Whether you’re enthusiast or just curious, come down to check out the pagentry of this event.  For registration information you can check out: http://www.uskitenationals.com.

There will also be parties in the evenings where all are welcome.

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The Kiddie Pool: a Stinson Beach locals kitesurfing video – 2007

Posted by direwolff on April 5, 2008

Dave Renaud, Stinson regular kitesurfer, spent some time in the water last season shooting the following video for fun.  He did an awesome job and captured the addiction we’re constantly subjected to.  Not to mention, he made most of us look much better than we really ride :)  I was fortunate enough to make a few appearances throughout the video (the guy w/the yellow shorts w/the blue stripe down the side).

While it was great to see the Stinson crew out there having a blast in this video, I was brought back down to earth when I also saw one of the crew, Steve Shannon, who recently suffered a terrible tragedy and sadly is no longer with us.  He will be sorely missed.

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