Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Santa Cruz Classic - California

1st event of the American Windsurfing Tour (AWT)
Photos by Kevin Pritchard/ MauiNerdProductions
Here We Go Again!
It has been a while since the last US Championship, the last one was
in 2000. To me, it almost feel like it was yesterday. To have won
that last American Wave Sailing title push me onto a Pro Windsurfing
career. And 11 years later I'm still here and very exited to finally
have the opportunity to defend my title. Ready to battle it out with
the new guys, the young ones, and the ones that I have been in the
game for a while and like me are not going to give it up.

People were particularly stoke to finally see another event on one of
their best American wave sailing spot. Especially the locals, who
many of them spend time and energy to give a hand to the organization
and sweet running of the competition.

The new generation of young guns were also particularly motivated.
About 8 kids (under 18), were battling it out for the Junior's
trophy. For most of them it was their first wave sailing
competition. Such contest gives the youngsters an extra reason to
progress and push their limits. Events like this Santa Cruz Classic
are very important to insure a renewing of young rider in our sport.

In the Expert division, that first event of the AWT had gather an
impressive panel of national and international pro riders including
three world Champs (Josh Stone, Kevin Pritchard and Francisco Goya), a
handful of Hawaiian references such as keith Teboul, Francisco
Portcella, and Kai Katchadorian, and legendary names such as Ian
Boyd. These are guys that intimate you with their reputation alone,
and then you got other international rider like Camille Juban who
given the right sailing conditions could win any international
competition. And there are also the more discrete riders that are
just as dangerous on the water, such as Nathan Mershon.

With such a list of rider battling it out in this 32 men Expert
ladder, the show was guaranty to go off. The man to beat turn out to
be Nathan Mershon, who was on top of it and wining all of his heats
including the final.

On my side, I felt good out there doing my thing, but feeling good was
not enough this time to beat an on form Nathan, and a Josh Stone
having fun. The level on the water was very high and a lot of heats
were too close to call for most spectators. For the judge, even
equipped with the latest Ipad technology to facilitate the judging
calculations, it must have been pretty hard to judge some of these
heats. But with an experience Wold Champ as a Race Director, Matt
Pritchard, the entire event went off with out a noticeable itch.

This competition marked a beautiful return for the "Santa Cruz
Classic", and a successful first event on this brand new American
Windsurfing Tour. Rendez-vous now mid June for the 2nd leg of this
championship on another prime US wave sailing spot, located on the
magnificent Oregon coast line.

For more info on the American Windsurfing Tour and for complete
result, check out:

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