Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign - A unique sailing competition

by USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign on 14 Sep 2013
USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign Eric Simonson @ pressuredrop
It what has become a uniquely San Francisco sailing competition, the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race pits kite boarders, windsurfers, skiffs & cameramans against each other & mother nature in an epic seven mile downwind sprint from the Golden Gate bridge to the Bay bridge. It's a celebration of high performance sailing that never stops innovating.

This year’s running was no exception with foiling kite boarder, Johnny Heineken taking the line honors in front of 69 other sailing craft and shaving almost two minutes off last year’s record run.

It what may be the only trickle down we see from the Americas Cup, foiling is finally coming of age!

You may not even recognize it as sailing with the riders levitating almost four' above the water & being pulled by a kite 25 meters away but that's the reality of high performance sailing today.

In what started, almost 15 years ago, the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race has evolved from a 27 minute downwind run set by Charlie McKee & co in a 49er to Micah Buzianis' long time record on a formula windsurfer and finally the Aussie 18's holding dominance for several years. More recently, the kite boards have surpassed every craft out there in terms of down wind speed. Foiling is just a further extension in the evolution of kiting and sailing.

It’s a free for all on the starting line with a fleet spectator boats, upside down skiffs, kites and windsurfers all charging downwind to cross the starting line set just outside the Golden Gate bridge.

I chose the fastest set up I had- a custom mikes lab 89cm slimmed down version of a formula windsurfer, 61 cm kashy fin and avanti 10.0 rig. That kept me on pace with the front of the pack as I ducked in between skiffs and kites moments after the start.

Everyone has different angles so it takes a few minutes after the start for everyone to settle into their groove and avoid any major collisions.

Windsurfer, Soheil Zahedi had a close call with the 49er who nearly took of his head but somehow escaped unscathed as both crafts charged on downwind without missing a beat.


I errored on the side of caution ducking a few sterns so as to just stay alive and make it to the finish.
Mike Percey, longtime Bay area windsurfer was just ahead of me 1/2 way down the run as we made our way through the boiling waters between Alcatraz and Pier 39. I could tell he was a bit more comfortable on his 57cm fin and similar 89cm mini formula board as he was able to go just a bit deeper with every puff and slowly walk away.

I made one more gybe as we approached the bay bridge and the pressure was dropping and came in hot to a line starboard tackers of skiffs, kites and windsurfers on the layline to the finish.

A quick gybe back put me just shy of making the finish line but I was able to get out of the harness and pump for the last 30 seconds and squeeze into second behind Mike as we rounded out the top group.
As expected, the kites dominated with 9 out of the top 10 spots and foilers taking the top 2 spots. Tom Siebel's MOD 70 Orion was the only multi hull to keep pace with the kites finishing an impressive fifth while Smart Recruiters, an Extreme 40 catamaran and YAMAHA, an aussie 18 skiff just edged Mike and I out and the rest of the windsurfers who took 13-19th place.


Overall- one of the funniest races of the year with a great awards ceremony at the St. Francis Yacht Club following the race to a full house of sailing enthusiast.

A huge thanks to Ronstan and Alan Prussia for putting on the event as well as the race crew at the St.FYC. And the biggest thanks of all to our local board builder- Mike Zaijcek who has built almost everyone of the windsurf and kite boards in our fleet. In the last few years, his boards have won almost every major windsurfing and kiteboarding competition, including the bridge to bridge, world championships, speed championships and now open foiling championships.

Barz Optics - Kids rangeT Clewring CruisingInSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Countdown begins for the American Windsurfing Tour
At a remote point break on the Pacific coast of Baja, windsurfers from around the world are gathering for annual contest At a remote point break on the Pacific coast of Baja, windsurfers from around the world are gathering for the annual Mexican wave-riding contest
Posted today at 6:20 pm
2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - Day 5
Most from 335 competitors got back home on their own and some sail out again to complete the penultimate day of racing. 2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - Almost perfect racing conditions in the morning interrupted by afternoon storm. Most from 335 competitors got back home on their own and some sail out again to complete the penultimate day of racing.
Posted today at 4:10 am
2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - Day 4
They wake up first and go to bed last. When athletes fail it's their fault, when succeed they usually get no credit 2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - They wake up first and go to bed last. When their athletes fail it's their fault, when they succeed they usually get no credit. Yes. Coaches! They fight till the end every day, like they did in coaches’ race today. That and much more in this video...
Posted on 29 Jul
BIC Techno 293 European Championship 2016 - Day 3
During lunch break we manage to sneak in Israel team dining area with camera to find out what is their nutrition secret. Racing in the morning, racing in the afternoon. During the lunch break we manage to sneak in Israel team dining area with our camera to find out what is their nutrition secret. Details about food of champions and much more in this video...
Posted on 28 Jul
Men's RS:X experience in abundance - Santos aims to inspire
Experience in abundance will be prevalent in the Men's Windsurfer (RS:X) fleet at Rio competition with World Champions Experience in abundance will be prevalent in the Men's Windsurfer (RS:X) fleet at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition with World Champions and Olympic appearances aplenty across the 36 strong fleet.
Posted on 27 Jul
2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - Day 2
Olympic Games are starting in less than 10 days. Some competitor in RIO are past champions from BIC Techno 293 class. 2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - 2016 Olympic Games are starting in less than 10 days. Some competitor in RIO are past champions from BIC Techno 293 class.
Posted on 27 Jul
World Sailing provisionally confirms participation of six Rio athletes
Following a conference call today with its Board of Directors, World Sailing confirms the participation of six athletes The World Sailing Board carefully reviewed the decision taken earlier this week by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which determined that decisions regarding the eligibility of athletes would be made by the International Federations
Posted on 26 Jul
RS:X - Alabau expects Picon and Shaw Rivalry in Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Rio 2016 will welcome Spain's Marina Alabau back into Olympic fold as she aims to defend Women's Windsurfer (RS:X) title Rio 2016 will welcome Spain's Marina Alabau back into the Olympic fold as she aims to defend the Women's Windsurfer (RS:X) title she won at London 2012.
Posted on 26 Jul
2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - Day 1
BIC Techno 293 one design class is the world’s biggest windsurfing class and each year we welcome some new countries 2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship - BIC Techno 293 one design class is the world’s biggest windsurfing class and each year we welcome some new countries in our tribe. How do the blend in? Did they like the light wind conditions today? Find out in this video...
Posted on 26 Jul
2016 BIC Techno 293 European Championship – Opening day
There will be about 320 kids here this week which will not be on the podium at the end of the event. There will be about 320 kids here this week which will not be on the podium at the end of the event. But that does not mean they will not have fun during BIC Techno 293 European championships here in Sopot. We are happy about what we do and that is the key to success of this class.
Posted on 25 Jul