The North American Championships last week was a great regatta. We had one of the most competitive fleets in a kite race to date, including many of the top 10 riders from the 2009 World Championships. I placed sixth overall, and was only one point away from the top 5 and the podium. Although I would have loved to have placed a little higher I was expecting to see some strong development from the other riders since the Worlds and was happy that I was still competing with the top of the fleet. I have not had the time to change my board significantly since the summer and the fact that I could jump back in the game and challenge the riders who have been training and developing equipment during the off-season is encouraging.
We completed 9 races over three days of perfect racing conditions. It was generally light wind, rarely reaching the high teens. I sailed very smart and played my strengths, which are my sailing knowledge and ability to consistently stay in pressure around the course. My board is very good in windy conditions, as it was designed for San Francisco, but my light air speed was not quite as good as the top guys. This made it difficult to break into the top 3 or 4 and made consistency my game. I also got fouled pretty blatantly twice and had to hold onto some bad scores as a result.
All things considered I am stoked with my results and see lots of improvement in the near future. My goal for this event was to get back onto the course with the top guys, see where I stand, and learn how I can improve so I can prepare for the 2010 World Championships in April. I have the right kites to do this and have already started developing a board which should take me to the next level with upwind speed and point. Having all my gear dialed in will allow me to focus on my sailing strengths at the Worlds, which is what really sets me apart from most of the kite racers.
Attached are some pictures from the event. Most of these were taken by Adam Koch.