Summer windsurfing bender comes to an end
by Steve Bodner on 16 Jun 2014
USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign - Eight days and 32 windsurf races later this summer windsurfing bender comes to an end. We completed eight formula races and 12 slalom heats at the US Windsurfing National Champs in the gorge this week (and for those you following- that was after a five day Formula North American champs in SF last week).
Going into the last two races my energy level was just about depleted. My muscles ached, my feet were cut, my Ronstan watch was even giving me a blank face, not with its usual count down but with a WTF are you doing look!
I think the thing that got me was starting formula races at 9:45 in the morning.
Darren Rogers saw 'the cloud in the hole,' which meant accelerated breeze down the gorge corridor for the last day of racing.
I had gotten a good jump on the first race of the day finishing third but Xavier was fifth so that meant we were tied going into the last race. The breeze was 16-18k and I was having good speed and angle on my Avanti 10.0 and zf71 fin in my starboard 167. I arrived in a pack at the top mark with five other racers and gybed early following Bruce back to the middle of the river. I've learned that lesson well- don't split tacks with the undisputed king of the river. At the leeward mark I had a clear lane back up the port beat upwind. I held my own with Percey in tow. We split tacks downwind and I was able to sneak into third.
Going into the last race I switched down to my 64 fin as the breeze was up to 18-22k. I tried to protect the left side of the course as the breeze was sw but alas Phil and Xavier got an early jump on me in the stronger breeze in the middle of the river. Xavier just edged me out by one point to take second in the formula fleet but thus is the closest I've been this season. Phil was in a league of his own making the Maui Sails look very fast and took every bullet of the series except where he was dsq'ed for a port/starboard incident on day two.
The call was made to switch to slalom with a 11:30 start. I hadn't even had my morning coffee yet and I was rigging my fourth sail of the day. I went with what was working best- the ml 70cm slalom board, 44cm fin and 7.8 north warp. The board comes out beautifully from the gybes and is effortless to sail.
I know I didn't have the top speed as the top 2-3 guys in the fleet as I don't get to race slalom as much as formula but I knew I could be consistant. I had 3s and fours from the previous days and was sitting in fifth overall for the slalom out of 44 racers.
First race I hit the start perfect coming into the first mark in the pack but climbed right over then and was comfortably in third behind Bruce and Phil 1/2 way through the race. I fell on one gybe but minimized the damages by only letting one guy pass me and finished a strong fourth.
Next two races I was doing well but not in the top hunt as I was getting a bit OP'ed with the 7.8 in 22-25k. Normally I would have switched down to the 7.0 but my mast snapped the previous day leaving my luff sleeve with a pretty impressive 6' tear.
Ouch! Run with what you've got.
One more round of slalom with three races. For each fleet. I went down hard the second race but just held it together with a top five finish in the last race to take the men’s masters division title (just in front of Xavier!).
Bruce had a strong slalom showing so that bumped him up in the overall for second behind Phil who killed it again in slalom. Tyson Poor was the only one to properly challenge him tying him in points but Phil won the tiebreaker.
In third place overall Xavier and I tied for points but I was able to win the tiebreaker with the better throw out from the formula and slalom series.
Third overall, first in men's masters slalom and third in formula was how I ended things. I couldn't be more stoked. I gave it my all and came out well.
There's still some things to improve on but with Phil the great grand master still kicking my ass I think I'll have plenty of time to get it right.
Overall a great regatta with the AWT stepping up to run the event.
Thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen.
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