The 2012 AWT Maui Makani Classic is now underway and is set to take place until the 3rd November. A phenomenal 117 competitors from 24 countries came and signed up for the event resented by Neilpryde at the opening party on Wednesday night. The party was held at Neilpryde Maui, who are the title sponsors for the event and saw the place packed to the rafters from 5pm till 9pm with a who's who in the windsurfing world.
Competitors Gather for Hawaiian Blessing.
All the amateurs, ladies, masters and youths got a chance to rub shoulders with all the top pros on the tour in what was an incredibly successful opening to this year's contest. The vibe around this competition is becoming more and more like one big family gathering; with the pros all agreeing that the reason they come back for more here at the AWT every year is because they feel part of something special.
To them it is only partly about the competition but mostly about the huge Ohana or Family the AWT has created and the sense of fun and comradery they feel when they take part in an event. This was particularly emphasised by Maui boy and possible tour winner Levi Siver who, along with Camille Juban and Keith Teboul did a quick interview with us about what their expectations were for the event.
The Opening ceremony took place at Ho'okipa Beach Park at 10am yesterday and was Live Cast to the world via the American Windsurfing Tour website. Competitors and spectators alike were blessed by the presence of Maui County officials and also the highly respected mayor of Maui, Alan Arakawa.
The ceremony was very moving and really got the competitors in the spirit of the event as they were treated to a traditional Hawaiian blessing of both themselves and their equipment.
The competitors were all flanked by their nation's home flags, with nationalities represented from USA, Canada, Japan, Ireland, the UK, South Korea, Holland, France, Italy, Spain and many many more. There was also a very inspirational speech from Mayor Arakawa and some beautiful singing of the Stars and Stripes and also the Hawaiian national anthem, Hawai'i Pono'i.
Head Judge Matt Pritchard then briefed the competitors on what to expect for the coming event. The sailors were released for the day with a skippers meeting to be held at Ho'okipa at 10am today (Friday).
Matt spoke of the epic conditions which are promised for the weekend's forecast, with huge swells and winds promised all spectators and competitors alike will be in for a big treat! Ho'okipa as usual is going to be firing and proving again why it is the best wave spot in the world for windsurfing!
American Windsurfing Tour website