Kiters and windsurfers from around the south island were delighted by the blue skies and fresh breezes on Sat to finally take part in this years long distance event from Glenorchy to Pigeon Island on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown.
Organisers had bad luck this year with the event having a number of postponements before the conditions came right. However all were agreed it was worth the wait.
25 kiters and windsurfers took part. The winds were quite strong and the wavy conditions quite challenging so some participants didn't quite make it all the way. They were helped to shore to pre arranged pick up points by the support craft.
' It was an awesome day enjoyed by all ' says event co-ordinator Sue Bradley ' Even those who didn't make it to the finish still had big smiles. To be lined up at the start with that many colourful sails and co-sailors in the spectacular setting of Glenorchy is quite a thrilling experience.'
On the race side the kiters took out the main honours again with Thomas Rold, Queenstown taking out first place on a 17 square meter kite (quite impressive in those strong conditions). second Place, Troy Wyga , Glenorchy. third Gavin Jackson, Dunedin. fourth place overall and taking out the Junior title, Blake porter, Dunedin. first Windsurfer, Paul Vilestra of Dunedin. first Woman Simone Jackson, Dunedin.
Simone Jackson also took out the Jude Green memorial trophy. The event is a memorial to previous club stalwart Jude Green. The trophy is given to the person who most represents the spirit of events in joining together. Simone was alerted to a major injury at the event last year and has very major surgery since, but throughout the year she's kept the Downwinder as her goal and motivation to see her through the difficult times.
'We are so proud of Simone for making here today , she deserves this prize very very much. '