East Coast Tour Stop #2: 520 Slick Cocoa Beach, FL
CKA teams and riders continue to compete in order to qualify for East Coast Regional Championships.
2 Freestyle Divisions: For intermediate and Advanced riders! Everyone Can compete!
With Race and Big Air Divisions as well!
Sponsors: Best Kiteboarding, Liquid Force Kitebaording, Good Breeze Kiteboarding
Prizes: Cash for 1st place in your division!
The best day for the contest will be chosen and finalized 72 hours before the contest occurs (within the parameters of the two designated weekends) based on the best wind conditions available. On the chosen contest day Registration will open from 8am-10am, rider meeting at 10:30am, then begin heats at 11am. The contest format will be 12 minute freestyle heats with 3-4 competitors per heat, followed by a semi final and then a final. We anticipate this process to be anywhere from 3-4 hours long. Once the freestyle competition is concluded we will immediately start a short course race with a windward leward race course, which should take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. We will aim for awards ceremony to be around 5 pm, however if we have time we will try to run a “Big Air” contest(only if we have time). We will bring in 2-3 judges with experience in the freestyle discipline to help judge the contest. We will also bring in 5-10 volunteer students to help run the event.
In the event of a bad forecast for wind, the contest will be postponed until the following weekend.
In Cocoa Beach, FL off the Highway 520 causeway, there is a spot easy enough to find by just Googling “520 Slick”. Rightfully named Bicentennial Memorial Park lies on the Banana River and is the connection to the barrier island of Cape Canaveral. True to its nickname this spot provides for oil spill like smooth water behind a natural strand of mangroves, but with offshore wind beginners need some assistance from one of the small john boats used by the local instructors. However the brackish water is shallow enough for a short swim of shame back to the park, but it does give you the added security for an easy water relaunch.
All in all It might have been a dark and dreary day, but the College riders burned bright with good showing of five Advanced and eight Amateur riders including two women. The competition went off with only a few periods of challenging gust and lull winds. The forecasted conditions were favored for Saturday and the decision was made to only run two heats per division with one person being eliminated from the Advanced and four eliminated in the Amateur division before the finals. After the last event and the realization our scoring system might be a bit too complex, so a switch was made to ten points per trick with a best of one hundred per heat. With only ten minutes per heat and the necessity to stay upwind, it made for a fair means of judgement.
A kicker and a slider were both available for the Advanced division, thanks to Billy and Good Breeze Kiteboarding, but due to the conditions riders had to choose between going for the added technicality or having fins to stay upwind. Most chose the latter keeping close to the judging area and not crossing the channel taking them to the place of no return and out of view. Unfortunately that was the fate of Brendan Guthrie (College of Charleston) and the reason for his elimination after the first heat. With time running short and sometimes variable winds it was decided that the second round would be the final with four riders moving on instead of three. Everyone gave it their best, but weight and kite size really played a role in who could stay upwind and keep throwing down consistent tricks. Going into the finals were Bret Sullivan (Florida Atlantic University), Niklas Reymann (Florida International University), Sean Buell (FAU) and Drew Christianson (University of Florida), but Niklas kept upwind and was consistent enough with some flared out board offs and technical handle passes to let him ride away with the win.
The Amateur division was new to this stop, but it will be included in all future events. We had eight riders from four schools all throwing down for the four man/woman finals. Florida State University keeps bringing the most bodies to the Tour and was even convincing enough to give Jaime another lady to contend with. Once again the cream floats to the top or I should say floats upwind and those eliminated was account of drifting downwind and out of the competition area. Just about everyone had their kite go down, costing them precious seconds to keep the tricks going, but those that were able to keep it together with their kites dry, moved on. Battling for the finals were Jaime Fields (Stetson University), Patrick Fletcher (Florida State University), Pierre Gurreau (FSU) and Roy Becker (Florida Atlantic University). Roy started out strong with the only kicker attempt, but both Patrick and Roy fell victim to falling kites keeping their points low. Jaime and Pierre got the best wind of the day and had some really consistent raley’s and S-bends, but it was Jaime going for the 360 surface pass that crushed the boy’s dreams.
Half the riders stuck it out and despite the frigid temps attempted the quad burning race course. New course buoys were made for this event, but mother nature provided for a double loop broad reach run around channel marker with a few changes in arsenal to larger kites and boards to finish off the event. There could be only one and that 145 Drew Christianson (USF) was on really got it done to take top honors amongst the fleet. Hopefully the riders are learning the fundamentals and skills required for racing and in the near future more will attempt full on race boards that could be used in the Olympics Games.
Growing is CKA’s main goal and with each event we continue to gain riders. At the moment years in school is not the best indicator of skill amongst competitors, with Niklas a true Freshman and Jaime just a sophomore topping some of the more mature riders. I’m sure old guys won’t go down without a fight and with Matheson Hammock and regionals in sight we would like to see schools bring their whole crew and riders of all levels.
Thanks to everyone who made this event possible, with a special thanks to Bret Sullivan with Best Kiteboarding for getting the permits from the City of Cocoa Beach, Deserea Cooley for running registration and Billy Bosch of Good Breeze Kiteboarding for judging the event and the killer schwag for the riders. As always a big thanks to our core sponsors Liquid Force and Best Kiteboarding for keeping the momentum going!
Freestyle – Advanced Division
1st Place $60 – Niklas Reymann (FIU)
2nd Place $40 – Drew Christianson (USF)
3rd Place $20 – Sean Buell – FAU
4th Place – Bret Sullivan – FAU
Freestyle – Amateur Division
1st Place $50 – Jaime Fields (Stetson)
2nd Place $30 – Pierre Gurreau – FSU
3rd Place $20 – Roy Becker – FSU
4th Place – Patrick Fletcher – FSU
1st Place – Drew Christianson (USF)
2nd Place – Niklas Reymann (FIU)
3rd Place – Sean Buell – FAU
4th Place – Bronislaw Gepner – FSU
5th Place – Bret Sullivan – FAU