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

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

A brrr-y cold day at Ocean Beach

Posted by direwolff on March 10, 2010

After what had to be an epic Spring day with temperatures in the 60s this past Sunday at Stinson Beach, the temperatures dropped rapidly and we have been rewarded with 50 degree temperatures, cloudy, haily and some times sunny skies over the past two days.  While yesterday was futile because of how the winds would either nuke to 9m kiting weather them simply die or have hail pouring down on us for 10 mins before starting the cycle all over again, today it was clearly small kite day at Ocean Beach.  Over 20 kiters came out to meet the winds, with most of them riding anywhere from 6m to 8m kites.  Oh yeah, and it was f-en cold!

Over 20 kitesurfers out at Ocean Beach

I arrived at the beach in time to get an afternoon session at around 3:30pm, but after standing around for 15 mins or so contemplating it, I lost the psychological edge which comes from just getting your gear out of the car, getting dressed quickly and getting out there.  Soon I was whining like a little girl, talking about how cold it was and watching all my friends arrive one-by-one and getting out there with nothing but a comment or two about the wind and cold.  Before I knew it, I was back in my car warming up, then jumping back out to get a couple of shots on my camera phone so I could feel good in having captured the moment for posterity.

Marcello Segura getting ready to ride an 8m kite

Finally, with my tail between my legs, I scampered away knowing that a fun session had been missed.  As I looked over the surf, you could tell that while the inside and middle had that washing machine effect that shows up at Ocean Beach pretty regularly in the mid-afternoon, the outside had some crisp set-ups with overhead sets.  The sets were close together which offers little room for error, but they were so nicely lined up that the rides to expect out there would have been divine.  Oh well, after being so spoiled on Sunday, I guess my jones wasn’t sufficient to break my will to stay warm.  Until the next time.


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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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U.S. Kiteboarding National Championship – Day 2!!!

Posted by direwolff on June 11, 2008

My good buddy Gabe Brown was kind enough to share some of people shots he got today at the Nationals taking place at Crissy Field…

(Damien LeRoy) (Clarissa Hempel and Chip Wasson)

(Shawn Richman) (Chip Wasson)

Noteworthy in today’s standings is that Florida boy, Damien LeRoy (Cabrinha) is and Sky Solbach (North) (who has come out from Australia and Oregon to participate in a few of the Thursday Night Cabrinha Kite Race Series events), are tied for first in leading the points race with St. Francis Yacht Club flag bearer, Shawn Richman (Waiman Kites) close at hand in 3rd place. Sky Solbach (North), who has come out from Australia and Oregon to participate in a few of the Thursday Night Cabrinha Kite Race Series events, is holding on to the number 2 spot. Here are the standings as they stand after two days:

2008 US Kiteboarding National Championship Preliminary Results – Qualification 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 Total Score
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 7
2 Blue 11 Sky Solbach 1 2 1 1 3* 2 7
3 Red 12 Shawn Richman 7* 1 3 1 1 3 9
4 White 3 Sean Farley 5* 2 1 3 5 1 12
5 Yellow 3 Anthony Chavez 2 3 2 8* 4 3 14
6 Blue 9 Kent Marinkovic 3 4 4 4 DNS* 4 19
7 Yellow 10 Jon Modica 5 8* 5 6 2 2 20
8 White 11 Nils Stolzlechner 6* 3 3 6 3 6 21
9 Red 6 Jeff Kafka 8* 7 5 2 2 7 23
10 Yellow 12 Jon Van Malsen 9* 5 4 4 5 5 23
11 Red 11 Marc Ramseier 3 4 7 7 6 8* 27
12 Red 4 Michael Gebhardt 1 5 9* 9 8 6 29
13 Yellow 5 John Gomes 4 7 7 5 DNS* 7 30
14 White 2 Dave Broome 7 13* 12 5 4 4 32
15 Yellow 6 Geoff Headington DNS* 6 6 3 8 14 37
16 Red 9 Donny Parker 16* 6 8 10 10 9 43
17 White 13 Chip Wasson 18* 11 9 7 7 9 43
18 Blue 1 Kristin Boese 9 9 15* 10 9 10 47
19 White 4 Melissa Gil 8 9 11 12 13* 11 51
20 Blue 4 Eric Due 11 14* 10 9 10 11 51
21 Blue 12 Ken Winner 4 DSQ* 6 8 6 DNS 52
22 Yellow 2 Christopher Brown 17* 13 8 11 12 8 52
23 White 10 Marcelo Segura 10 8 10 13 14* 12 53
24 Red 13 Frank Wittke 12 10 12 12 12 15* 58
25 Red 5 Steve Gibson 15* 14 11 14 9 14 62
26 Yellow 7 Clarissa Hempel 6 10 13 DNS* 7 DNS 64
27 Red 10 Sandy Parker 10 12 18* 16 15 13 66
28 Blue 5 Eric Geleynse 14 15 17* 14 13 12 68
29 Yellow 8 Bret Herscher 11 16 16 13 14 DNS* 70
30 Blue 13 Kris Youngberg 15 13 19* 15 11 16 70
31 White 5 Mo Hart DNS* DNS 15 11 11 13 78
32 Yellow 13 Arnaud Vuillermet 18 12 14 DNS* DNS 10 82
33 Red 3 Caroline Freitas 13 15 13 15 DNS* DNS 84
34 Yellow 9 Bruce Johnson 19 17 18 17 16 DNS* 87
35 Yellow 11 Brendan Richards 14 11 17 DNS* DNS DNS 98
36 White 6 Ella Johnson DNF DNS* 19 16 16 DNS 107
37 Blue 14 Shawn Murray DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS 5 117
38 Red 1 Vladimir Belinsky DNF DNS* 14 19 DNF DNS 117
39 White 14 Peter Schiebel 13 DNF DNS* DNS DNS DNS 125
40 Red 14 Vlad Morozz DNS* DNF 16 DNS DNS DNS 128
41 Yellow 4 James Donaldson DNS* DNS DNS 18 DNS DNS 130
42 White 7 Erin Loscocco DNS* DNS 20 DNS DNS DNS 132
43 Blue 10 Michael Scott DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
44 Blue 2 Steph Bridge DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
45 Blue 3 Raymond Deiter DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
46 Blue 6 Bobby Hall DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
47 Blue 7 Lance Larivee DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
48 Red 15 Ryan Lamb DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
49 Red 2 Shawn Ewing DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
50 Red 7 Jeffrey Klein DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
51 White 1 Darren Bass DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
52 White 12 Jason Trupkin DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140
53 White 8 Jeffrey Ruoss DNS* DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 140

Of our Bay Area past top place finishers, Anthony Chavez (Naish) currently sits in 5th place, Jeff Kafka (Cabrinha) is in 9th place, and Chip Wasson (Ozone) is in a very surprising 17th place due to having missed a race as a result of some equipment changes he had to make.

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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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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:

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

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RONSTAN Bay Challenge – St. Francis Yacht Club

Posted by direwolff on May 22, 2008

RONSTAN Bay Challenge
St. Francis Yacht Club
May 31-June 1, 2008

1.1 The regatta will be governed by the rules as defined in The Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), except as any of these are altered by the Sailing Instructions.
1.2 All competitors are required to wear a wetsuit at all times while racing.
1.3 Competitors in the Formula class must display sail numbers on both sides of all sails.
1.4 Competitors in the Kite class must wear a numbered jersey.

2.1 The following classes are invited to participate: Kite and Formula.
2.2 Eligible boats may enter by completing the online registration form located at
2.3 Fleets must have six boats registered by the entry deadline to qualify for a class start.

3.0 FEES
3.1 Entry fee is $85, less $5 with proof of current USSA or USWA membership, if received by May 28, 2008.
3.2 Entry fee is $95, less $5 with proof of current USSA or USWA membership, if received after May 28, 2008.

4.1 Late Registration: Saturday, May 31 from 1000 hours to 1030 hours.
4.2 Racing will be held Saturday, May 31 & Sunday, June 1.
4.3 The scheduled time of the Warning Signal for the first race each day is 1130 hours. A Sailors’ Meeting will be held at 1030 hours on Saturday, May 31.
4.4 Sailors and their guests are welcome to attend a social on Saturday night and a trophy ceremony following the conclusion of racing on Sunday.

The Sailing Instructions will be available at the check-in before the Sailors’ Meeting, while an unofficial copy may be found on the St. Francis Yacht Club web site by Thursday, May 29.

The intended course racing area will be set on the City Front utilizing inflatable marks. The intended area for the distance race will be from the City Front to the Berkeley Pier and back for some classes.

7.1 One race shall constitute a series.
7.2 Kite and Formula classes will sail one distance race on Saturday, and three course races on Sunday. The distance race will be scored separately from the course racing. All course races will count towards a boats final course racing score.

If you plan on leaving a trailer in the City parking lot prior to Saturday morning or overnight on Sunday, please contact the Harbor Master’s Office 415-292-2013 for an overnight parking permit. All trailers will be towed without a city permit. On Saturday night, all trailers must be stored at the direction of the St. Francis Yacht Club Dock Master. Competitors are responsible for their own board and gear storage.

Competitors participate in the regatta entirely at their own risk. See rule 4, decision to race. The organizing authority will not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury or death sustained in conjunction with or prior to, during, or after the regatta.

For further information please contact the St Francis Yacht Club race office at 415.563.6363, email , or visit .

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Great coverage of the Cabrinha Race Series 2008, first event

Posted by direwolff on April 26, 2008

Steve Gunn from Cabrinha Kites wrote up a great recap and shared some cool pics of the first Cabrinha Race Series 2008 event from Thursday April 17th here.  While it’s a beautiful site to see all of these colored kites nicely ordered making their way to the start, being in the pack of racers is pretty crazy and feels a lot less organized ;)  A blast was had by all though, and I highly recommend this event.

Here’s the newly designed perpetual trophy for the event…

Very cool to have Cabrinha involved in this event and even nicer to see two good friends in Anthony Chavez (as 2006 champion) and Jeff Kafka (as 2007 champion), have their names mounted first.  2008 should bring some great fun and competition to this event, if this first race is any sign of what’s to come.

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Preparing for the U.S. Kite Board Racing Championship 2008

Posted by direwolff on April 25, 2008

Well, the preparations for the U.S. Kiteboard Nationals being held this year here in San Francisco, are under way. Last night was the first meeting of the organizing committee and it really sounds like it’s going to be an even better event than last year’s. As a kitesurfing addict myself, thought it was worthwhile to channel some of that energy in a positive way for the sport in general, and in this spirit I accepted John Gomes’ (head honcho and responsible for making this a great event last year) invitation to be part of the organizing committee.

The event is expected to host somewhere between 80 and 100 riders from all over the world, who will travel to the San Francisco Bay Area to participate. Team riders from many of the top kitesurfing companies will be here ready to mix it up for what will be an exciting week of wind action in the San Francisco Bay, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Last year’s event was the first Kitesurfing Nationals and drew an excellent field of riders. Word spread, and we’re likely to see increasing numbers of riders showing up for the event.

This year’s event will be taking place the week of June 9th, 2008. Check here (, for registration information.

What’s important to note about this event is that it’s being run like professional sailing regattas with similar rules so that kites can simply be considered a different class of vessel. This really lifts this sport to a new level, not reached so far by many of the other racing events out there. The hope is that in subsequent years, this event can be held in other locations around the country and eventually around the world, so as to spread the sport’s popularity and get more people exposed to its breathtaking nature. Who knows, maybe some day it will be worthy of Olympic attention.

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Best Bularoo Quiver; the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Posted by direwolff on April 16, 2008

So this season I decided to sell my Best Waroo ’07 11m kite and move full-on into a Bularoo quiver of a 7m, 10m and 13m kites. My main reason behind this move was that ever since I decided to spend more time riding the waves on the northern California coast, I realized that the ’07 Waroo just didn’t have the turning speed nor the ability to stay ahead of me enough when riding down a wave at speed. In learning how to ride the Bularoos I noticed several differences between each size which takes some getting used to. I’ll start by saying that I’m generally super pleased with these kites, but do have some beefs which I’ll lay out here as well.

On the pro side, all three sized Bullies are super stable kites. You can literally let go of the bar if you need to fix something while in the water and not worry about the kite moving suddenly into a power zone and yanking you to attention. The kites move very deliberately, and can basically stay put in one position while taking your eyes off of them. In big waves, their stability has been most welcomed, especially after getting caught in an overhead break and noticing that the kite didn’t fall from the sky as is customary when getting washed up by a big wave. The other positives is the turning speed which never leaves me wanting for more power especially when carving a toe-side turn off the top of a big wave (note, I ride goofy footed) on my surfboard. Even when I start my kite turn late coming into the face of a wave, it never feels like it’s too late to complete the motion and get the kite ahead of me with good speed. The exception to this rule is with the 13m kite, which really doesn’t turn proportionately at the speed of the 10m or 7m. While it may be obvious, the difference is more significant than it should be.

The low-end grunt in these kites is also amazing. This is what gives them their range. I’ve been out comfortably on my 10m when people are riding anything from 9m up through 12m kites. In that range, I’ve never felt over or under powered, which I guess is a good thing given the spread in the quiver. When winds are light for any of these kites, moving them up and down seems to generate some serious apparent wind which for now I’m attributing to their mid-aspect nature. I’ve gotten myself out of trouble quite a few times by moving the kite when the wind was clearly low for the Bully I was riding. A very welcomed feature.

Now for the bad. Last week, on a very gusty 7m day at Crissy Field in San Francisco, I was riding far out into the channel when suddenly my kite sputtered out of the sky. First some herky-jerky motion which eventually led to the kite crashing hard. It temporarily relaunched, but it was obvious that it wasn’t going to last nor was it happy. Finally, the kite settled down in the water and had obviously lost its air. After further inspection, it turns out that the small bladder valve, despite being velcro’d down, opened up and let the air out. Because the Bularoo is a one-pump with a one way air flow from the leading edge to the ribs, the air simply flowed out of the leading edge into the bladder with the valve opened. I don’t know how long this was opened, but suffice it to say, it was a very unpleasant experience. Still trying to figure out how the valve opened. Of course this happened on a cloudy, cold, god-forsaken day, but fortunately, there was another kiter nearby who was able to drag me away from the shipping lanes until the Coast Guard came to the rescue. (Quick note here, the Coast Guard out here in the San Francisco Bay ROCK!!!)

Where it gets ugly is that after only having ridden my 10m kite 6 times within the past 3 weeks, it appears that it developed small slow leaks in two of the bladders. After an hour of riding at Stinson Beach yesterday, with no warning, this time my 10m did exactly what my 7m had done at Crissy. But for those not familiar with Stinson, the web cam we use to check the conditions there is called the “Shark Cam”…for a reason ;) Once again, I was fortunate to be riding with some good buddies who came to the rescue and dragged me to shore. The water was super cold for a drag, but far better than the alternative. Fortunately, given that I’ve had the kite for less than 3 weeks and have only ridden it six times without dropping it (except due to this bladder failure), the dealer I bought it from is getting it exchanged for me, as these two leaks constitute an obvious defect. The reason I consider this “the ugly” is because unlike the Slingshot one-pump system, where you can clip the bladders so as not to loose the leading edge if anything happens to those, the Bullies totally conk out when a bladder is affected. Both in the case of the valve opening and the slow leaking bladders, I was out of commission without a chance to get back to shore once I realized what was happening.

Having said that, I hope these incidences don’t become a standard part of my Bularoo experience, as I really love the good aspects of this kite so much, but they certainly are cause for concern. Today on my 13m kite, I was so nervous after 20 minutes of riding that I brought it down on shore to check the pressure in all of the bladders before going out again. Lest you consider me too much of a newbie, I’ve been riding for 8 years now and feel pretty proficient in most conditions.

Oh yeah, one other cool aspect of the Bullies is the land “hot” self-launch maneuver that is relatively easy to perform. Worth learning this trick, comes in super handy.

*** UPDATE 5/2/08: See my follow-up post and update titled, “Bularoo Update…“.

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