With the second stop of the CKA aka “College Kiteboarding Association” is now in the books after a weekend spent over in Cocoa Beach, Florida! This stop was held in one of my favorite spots in Florida at the 520 Slick. This spot offers some of the flattest water possible when kiting with a fun little lift off of the surrounding mangrove trees.
We got lucky and had enough wind to run the whole event on Saturday starting off with the Freestyle division. This time we had enough competitors to run an Amateur division and Advance division, which was exciting to see as in the first contest everyone was grouped together. The wind never got above 15 mph for the freestyle and had most competitors on 14-17m kites. I could barely stay up wind throughout my heat but was able to get in enough tricks somehow to manage a 2nd place in Freestyle.
After the freestyle was a wrap we started a course race on twintips with all the competitors together in one group. Where we had to downwind it to a marker then back upwind through are gate of markers then back downwind until back to the original mark. I managed to get a great start battling with my buddy Sean Buell for the first mark but once around the corner I was able to hold off everyone to win the race!
Huge thanks to everyone who came out and made this event what it was! Also a big thanks to Ryan Druyor and Billy Bosch and Bret Sullivan for organizing this event and making it happening not only work during the event but all the work leading into a event like this! Excited to tie for 1st after this contest and still be in the lead going into the 3rd stop of the series!
After getting back home from spending a summer month in Hatteras, North Carolina it makes you realize how special the island truly is. There are not many spots in the US let alone world that you can walk across in minutes and kite waves and butter flat water all in one day. No matter the wind direction if there is wind you can kite somewhere on the island, waves or flatwater depending on how far your willing to drive north or south on the island. With a laid back relaxed atmosphere that moves at a priceless island time, everyone I ran into was so amped about getting into the water regardless of the activity required to make that happen. When a lot of like minded people get together your bound to have a great time!
Lets not forgot why we went there in the first place! The wind and waves are world class and offer some of the most consistent training grounds for many of the North American Pro’s and up and coming Amateurs. Let alone thousands of kiters a year that come to Hatteras to take there first lesson through REAL Watersports and KittyHawk Kites!
I personally recommend visiting the island either in the Fall or Spring as both times offer a large variety of different conditions to challenge yourself with. Finding a group of kiters to go with is what makes the Outer Banks experience what it truly is all about! Visiting the island during either time of the year is also very cheap! Throw a group of 5-6 kiters in a house and you won’t be paying more then a few hundred bucks each for a week in a decked out house with your buddies.
If flat water is what your looking for look no further as Hatteras offers some of the largest slicks in the US! If you find that there are too many kiters at one slick just kite up or downwind and find your own private slick! With waist to chest deep water its one of the safest and easiest places to progress your riding forward no matter your level. From going up wind to working on your next handlepass this is the mecca for progression! Start planning your trip to Hatteras, NC for a guaranteed good time!
Stoked to announce that I won this years Bridge of the Gods! This event is the longest running event in the United States which pulls some of the best riders in the world to every year, along with some of the biggest crowds. Huge thanks for everyone’s support and my sponsors for getting me out here to be part of this event! This event wouldn’t be what it is today with out all the work and effort that the Bolstad’s put into this event year after year! Thanks guys!
Saturday was the AM contest which pulled together over 30+ competitors from around the world to compete in Stevenson, Washington. It was a windy weekend to say the least with 25+ mph winds putting the riders on 5-9m size kites. My 8m Mutiny P-Series was the kite of choice for the weekend which made for the perfect amount of power throughout the contest! After winning my first heat I advanced to the finals with the other riders being put into another chance bracket to finally advance to the 5 man final. The finals was going to be very competitive with my two buddies and Hood River locals Brendan Kerr and Blaine Baker advancing though. I managed to put together a solid heat but without really getting to watch what everyone else was doing during the heat made me unsure of how I would finish. After seeing Kerr stomp a huge Slim Chance I know it was going to be close. Can’t be more stoked on the win! And with the win I now have earned myself a free trip to Cabarete in the DR thanks to VELA!
Sunday featured the Pro Riders competing for over $2,000 dollars in prize money! After winning the AM contest on Saturday I earned a spot into the Pro’s event. After losing my first heat to Jesse Richman I had a second chance to advance to the finals. I put together one of my best heats of the day that helped me advance through to the finals. Making it into the finals was Brandon Scheid, Jesse Richman, Victor Hays, Rich Sabo and myself. After a stacked 10 minute heat of all sorts of tech wakestyle tricks and Jesse’s huge loops I landed myself a 4th place which I couldn’t be more stoked on!
Just getting back from a month stay up in Hatteras in which I competed in the SSS Open and continued to train in the slicks and waves that Hatteras, North Carolina is known to deliver! Couldn’t have asked for much better of a trip up in Hatteras besides of course there being quite a lack of wind during the SSS Open contest. Buts that’s to be expected for a kite contest right? 🙂
The contest started on a light winded note but with the forecasts looking to have the winds building in the afternoons as the thermal southwest winds arrived the competitors stayed excited and forced. It was exciting to see the turn out for the event as it showcased a lot of the up and coming riders in the US along with a few riders foreign riders that traveled quite far for the chance to qualify into the main event. There was 3 heats of 9 riders with the top 3 riders from each heat advancing into a final of the top 9 riders. I ended up getting grouped into a stacked heat with Chris Bobyrk and Brandon Cordina along with a lot of talented riders from Real in my first heat but luckily managed to put together a good heat that put me into the finals. The format for the event was different then in years past with it being setup more as a slope style event. You had 2 runs through the course with 6 combined attempts at your airtricks or the rails and kickers.
I personally really enjoyed the new format as it but a lot of stress on the kiters to be consistent and really plan ahead and focus on your runs. Without it being a Jam Format though it made for a lot more standing around for the riders waiting out in the water. This type of format you won’t see as much progression in the sport though as without enough chances at tricks no one wanted to be wiping out on there tricks. So you saw a lot of people going back to the basics and getting together a first solid heat and then working towards more advance tricks after that first heat. I found it make the event a little “blah” at times but none the less it was pretty fun having the spotlight only on you when you dropped in for you run!
Big Congrats to my two friends that advanced into the main event! Stoked Kellen Hall and Hope Levin! Can’t wait for next years event! Thanks William Parmeter for the photos from the event, along with a Huge Thanks to Mutiny Kites, Shinn, Hyperflex Wetsuits and Dakine for your support!
After a nice windy and warm spring spent in Florida it looks like its time to head up to Hatteras as the wind dies down here. But before that its time to wrap up the sessions with a little edit! Check it out and please share it along!