La Ventana Classic Wrap-Up

La Ventana Classic 2012

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The La Ventana Classic A Wrap-Up…Finally

A busy 4 day event including course racing, big air/old school, and “The Crossing” from Ceralvo Island back to the town of La Ventana. On top of this there are parties every night, raffles, clinics, and fundraisers all to benefit the local schools. This event raised over $23,000 for the local kids, thanks to all the organizers for working so hard to get this done!

The Classic started out with the famous “Crossing” from Ceralvo Island. 99 kiters and windsurfers packed into pongas at 7:30 am to get across the channel before the wind filled in. After that it was a waiting game until the wind filled all the way across the 9 mile channel. After hours of huddling by a camp fire and sleeping under kites, I found myself on the starting line on my race board weaving my 9m Edge though a bee hive of kites. Knowing I had such a long race ahead my only goal was to get off the line clear, with my kite still flying and my board on my feet. I did this, and halfway across the channel I had extended from the other kiters, and was a few hundred meters directly upwind of Tyson Poor, the lead windsurfer. We were both having flashbacks of the double-cross two weeks earlier, in which we literally finished overlapped at the beach after 40 minutes of quad burning reaching to the island and back. I got him that on that one, but this time he was showing that he had a little bit of speed on me. The course takes us to a buoy along shore, with a short downwind leg ending in a sprint reach to the finish line at the beach. I rounded the first mark about 40 seconds behind him and put the hammer down. Kites have a huge advantage downwind because we can point so much lower than windsurfers. I gybed right behind him just before the last mark, and we had a drag race along the reach to the finish. Although I had the speed to get through him, he played great defense, staying in front of me preventing me from getting overlapped before the finish mark. I crossed the line doing a tail walk to try and keep from running him over. This was definitely one of the most exciting races I’ve been in, both because it was so close and because racing with the windsurfers adds another level of excitement. We each have our advantages, but it works out to be amazingly close racing that really comes down to the rider. On top of that, my sister Erika was the first woman across the channel. Heineken sweep on the kite results!

The next three days were filled with course racing. This was Adam’s time to shine. He excelled at the short courses and lighter air of the first 2 days, somehow finding a way to get consistently good starts on a small line in a great fleet. I managed to pick up the pace on the last day and get a few bullets, but he made the top of the podium. Congrats buddy!

The women raced with the men, and it was fun hearing lots of guys on the beach saying “I almost got Erika that time!”. She was in the mix, not only racing against the other women, but regularly breaking into the top 10 overall. That’s my sister! Watch out for her this year guys…

Huge thanks to Ozone for the support throughout this trip, especially to Rob for taking 2 weeks to come work on kites. I think you’ve gotten the race board bug…time for a board and some time on the water. See you at the worlds!

Final Course Racing results:
1 Adam Koch              Ozone
2 Johnny Heineken      Ozone
3 Bryan Lake

Women:
1 Erika Heineken      Ozone
2 Alexis Aguera
3 Colleen Carrol

Crossing Results, overall:
1 Tyson Poor             22:30
2 Johnny Heineken    22:32
3 Bryan Lake             23:00

Women
1 Erika Heineken       28:21
2 Marie LeClerc         29:23
3 Rachel Callahan     29:54