La Ventana KiteFoil GoldCup 2014

I’m just back from the first event of the 2014 KiteFoil Gold Cup in La Ventana, Mexico. It was awesome to get down to Baja for a week as I missed my annual trip down with the Bay Area crew this year.

We really scored with the conditions, seeing a wide range from a relatively light qualifying day to a nuking final series. I was really happy with my performance in the light air qualifiers–while my upwind angle wasn’t quite as good as Maxime, Nico, and Julien, I was able to pull of second place finishes if I sailed smart and avoided big wipe-outs. Maxime was pretty unstoppable in those conditions and qualified in the lead.

La Ventana KiteFoil GoldCup 2014

[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_scl4420-1.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_kk14o-hnsb7uhtempls3tlr1ckpuxcjvzdfr9ifbqsuk6y9ld5ss63fhzl9mdbk57y7s-89xfsitxb1-obmsww.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_nxppxge4fzik5tb_r2cmfeynilb04lkxz01a_s0mm03pbis_2esrrhl2eml0teaxtki72_uwsimqxlf5sdj_i.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_5z2uk0aibqxchkj34uyqduw7dhqgvjt4v1qbaruby6ovr8bxvitkkadxm4jrrwnesw7yqfkpovve24cysgi2l0.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_vywy7ug6p4b5anvsub3a5-5enbts8676pjuvxjxdz1mqsu0rkuo10xdf_isni_qm-avylrey-3fhcanjaehvtk.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_46704_634739689930502_1906413441_n.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_1zksfmirhoe27m62r_hq75d4uglpg3eozkvdtiyjydqdsb-5t1cbmkciurpsvnvprwxlqgixl9esf7ew270_ts.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_1922518_635954789808992_755931241_n.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_1898233_635090653228739_197832995_n.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.johnnyheineken.com/wp-content/flagallery/la-ventana-kitefoil-goldcup-2014/thumbs/thumbs_1613964_635094473228357_759640386_n.jpg]00

The final series was held in almost all 7m conditions. I have to say this really was the most fun racing I’ve done in a while. The starts are pretty radical–full speed yet nearly silent until someone tweaked out and exploded. I was happy to see my upwind speed was more competitive in the bigger breeze and I was able to win many of the first beats. Downwind, however, was another story. I’m not sure if it was just lack of time on the board leading up to the event or subtle equipment tuning issues, but I was a wreck! It felt like nearly every race on the last day I would round the top mark in first, and maybe hold onto the lead for a lap, but eventually explode to watch Maxime sail right by. I’ve gotta give him credit, I’m not sure I saw him fall once!

The American continence was almost able to snag 3 of the top 5 spots but not quite. Those Frenchies are pretty quick…we’ll have to get them next time. Joey beat Bernie  in a tight battle for 5th, and Chip came on really strong in the Silver Fleet with a bullet on the last day. Cynbad Brown also killed it finishing second woman overall! Erika has got some work to do to catch up…

Thanks to Cynthia and Kent for hosting us, to Robbie and Jess for squeezing in as much racing as possible, Playa Central for opening their doors to the first of the KiteFoil tour events, and of course the sponsors–Ozone, Silicon Valley Bank, Taaroa, Mike’s Lab, and the St. Francis Sailing Foundation

Final results:

1: Maxime Nocher (FRA)
2: Johnny Heineken (USA)
3: Nicolas Parlier (FRA)
4: Julien Kuerner (FRA)
5: Joey Pasquali (USA)
6: Bryan Lake (USA)

http://sailwave.com/results/kitefoilgoldcup2014/finalsseries.htm

Back in SF now and it feels like summer. The westerly is building and I’m heading down to the beach to practice sailing downhill!