Leader of the Pack-
by Steve Bodner
The final 2 days of the Kite boarding North American North American Championships concluded with the fleets broken into gold, silver and finally a new platinum fleet with the top 10 competitors duking it out among the best of the best for the last 4 races of the series.
The new format gave competitors a chance to race within a championship regatta but unlike the recent ISAF World Cup events - consistency is rewarded. The platinum fleet carried their first 2 days score into the final round and took 1 throw out after 8 races. Thursday gold and silver fleet races added 4 more races to the mix for each fleet and another throw out and finally 4 more races on the final day with racing for the platinum fleet limited to the top 10 and 1 discard for a total of 3 discards after 16 races.
That was enough for Johnny Heineken to secure victory in what has become an amazing run over the last few years winning almost all of the events he's entered. Bernie Lake made a huge push with consistent results never outside the top 3 and was rewarded with 2nd place overall in front of Columbian 'Ricki- Bob' Leccesse.
With 37 racers in the silver fleet, it was anyone's game in the top few places but Andrew Wong from Canada- after having made the transition from lasers to kites a few years ago- came out on top just in front of Nico Landauer of Uruguay and local local Kevin Growney of San Francisco taking third.
In the gold fleet, 27 racers took the field and while Wilson Veloso from Paraiba, Brasil had a comfortable cushion going in to the final day- he was challenged by Jhon Mora from West Bay, Grand Cayman who took 2 bullets. Stefano Rista from Canada and Alejandro Climent Hernandez from Valencia, Spain rounded out the top group in some amazing gold fleet races where any mistake immediately put you back 10 places in the fleet.
Erika Heineken, older sister of Johnny- was the only girl who qualified for the gold fleet and put forth a huge effort racing among the men and finishing 29th overall in a hugely competitive fleet
Full results, photos, videos and interviews here.
Huge thanks the St.FYC for continuing to evolve the sport and the event sponsors- RRD, Live to Kite, Wind over Water, Patagonia, Ultra Nectar and the IKA