32 races packed into 2 regattas over 8 days.
That’s about as much windsurfing as one can possible get without overdosing on pure stoke.
My body was on auto pilot the last few days of the bender living on power gels & protein recovery drink.
This was our Olympic games for the amateur sailor.
2 races completed & 4 sails rigged and ready by 11:30 am without so much as a drop of coffee.
The marathon started in San Francisco for the combined Formula windsurfing & kite boarding course racing North American Championships. Check the video. The event was hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club and run from Crissy Field with the golden gate bridge providing a spectacular background for the thousand of spectators who lined the San Francisco city front each day. 90 board sailors raced over 4 days in classic San Francisco Bay afternoon seas breezes from 15-30k.
Our local fleet stepped it up proving local knowledge goes a long way over international experience.
However it was Wilhelm Schurmann of Brazil who was crowned the champion of the 24 board formula fleet while Johnny Heineken took the best of the 66 board kite fleet.
The circus then moved north to the mecca of North American wind & water sports on the Columbia River for the US Windsurfing National Championships.
The ‘corridor’ as its known provides exceptional winds that funnels through the Cascade mountains eastbound while the river controlled by a series of locks downstream provides a huge water flow to the west. The combination makes for epic conditions. On my last day I saw grown men coming off the water in 30-40k & head high swell with nothing more than a handkerchief 3.2m sail saying they were overpowered. My smallest 5.8 rig would be enough for 2 people!
When it blows in the gorge- you’ve got to be ready!
The US Windsurfing Champs was actually 2 events in one with both slalom and formula racing combining for an overall championship.
Veteran, Phil McGain led at almost every mark in both disciplines while Xavier Ferlet and myself battled for 2nd as only 1 point separated us going into the last formula race.
We’d been sparing all season but Xavier usually got the best of me.
Gorge local Bruce Peterson slipped in the 2nd overall with an impressive slalom showing while the tiebreaker for 3rd was broken by who had the better throw out.
In windsurfing, every race counts- even your throw outs.
At the end of the day, it’s not about the trophies or the tiebreaker but how much fun you’re having and by the looks of it – we all won. Pure stoke all around!
SF local junior superstar Marion Lepert won the women’s division in both formula & slalom while Jack Lundquist won the under 35 mens division in formula.
His younger brother Charlie won the junior division while I took home 1st in the masters slalom, 2nd in the master’s formula & 3rd overall (wining the tiebreaker!)
Full race report, videos & photos from the 8 day windsurfing bender right here. – Steve Bodner.