Sunday, July 10, 2011

U.S. Championship - Formula Carnage - PWA Live

New Year, New Place ·  U.S. Windsurfing will hold their 2011 National Championship at Berkeley, CA from July 11 - 16. Phil McGain won last year and is returning to defend his title. Can't tell the players without a program. If you want to put a name to a face, go to this Waterhound reference guide. So what else is new? A non windsurfing industry Title Sponsor: Double Tree by Hilton at Berkeley Marina. Its been 35 years since the National Championship was held in Berkeley.

CalCup 3 at  BYC by Colvin
What to expect from Berkeley? Waterhound's, David Wells says, reliable big wind and big, significantly warmer water than San Francisco. All the racing will take place in the Olympic Circle sailing area directly in front of the Berkeley Yacht Club.  Kimball Livingston (racers, read all of this link; he describes how the wind works at the Circle) explains: "On San Francisco Bay the best patch of water for championship racing lies on the eastern reach of the bay. This area is relatively shallow and relatively tide-protected. It is free of the narrow rivers of current and counter current found in deeper parts of the bay and clear of the shipping channels. The locals call the area, fronting the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville and Richmond, the Olympic Circle, the Berkeley Circle, or just the Circle. U.S. Olympic Trials have been sailed here, and yes, there is a kinda-sorta circle of buoys that can be used for racing, but championship courses do not use those buoys.  Championship courses employ a larger field of play. You should anticipate start lines placed relatively close to the shore, with upwind legs sailed toward the Golden Gate and a weather mark placed short of the North/South shipping lane."

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What makes up a championship? The NOR says Slalom, Course and a possible long distance race. There was freestyle last year; expect both modern and old school on longboards this year. Wyatt Miller assures that Double Tree by Hilton at the Berkeley Marina has paid the wind bill. It's all good to go.

Racing is scheduled to start on Tuesday. The skippers meeting begins 10 a.m., daily, at the BYC. Shorebird Park is the rigging area. Freestyle is planned for 3 days, beginning Thursday. If you're looking for race results or anything else follow the links.

Official Event Website courtesy of Waterhound and David Wells.

A BIG thank you to Jane Morson who has worked behind the scenes for the last 10 months on an insane amount of detail from government permits, gas for committee boats, catering food, designing trophies, fund raising and way more...Securing the Title Sponsor has been huge in making the event possible. And kudos to all the others who have contributed to make this event a reality. Thanks Again !!!

In memory of Bill Weir (US M9), the M9 Bill Weir Memorial Trophy will be awarded to the top performing sailor at this year’s US Windsurfing National Championships when the results of slalom, formula, and long distance are combined into a single overall score.

Bill Weir passed away in October 2009 after a valiant battle with cancer.  Bill was a windsurfer who embraced all disciplines and could often be found just under the Golden Gate Bridge sailing the waves before heading down to St. Francis Yacht Club to race his Formula gear.  He was also one of the top Slalom Racers in the country. More on Bill's life. At Thursday's dinner there will be a showing of Bill's documentary, Wind and Water.

Phil's kit ready for US Nationals
Hard charging triathalon warrior, Phil McGain, tuned up his preparations for the Nationals with a victory at the July 2 Maui Fin Company Open. The Maui News reported: McGain won two of four heats to claim the 40-49 year old division and also took two of four heats in the open races to win that division for the first time. The Haiku resident lost to Peter Slate of Kula in the DaKine Classic, and missed the season opening Starboard Slalom so he could race in the Half-Ironman triathlon on the Big Island.

Formula Worlds end on a Saturday, July 9, in Puerto Rico and for those planning to race in the U.S.Nationals the mad scramble begins: get into SFO and then out to Berkely, no later than Tuesday morning, before racing begins. They will be hoping and praying those big boards, sails and booms will not be put on later flights.

The stories from the Worlds will be told over and over: the insane carnage the racers inflicted on themselves and their compatriots during the high wind opening day. Sean O'Brien reported: "Race 1 kicked off on the scheduled start of 2pm and despite Bruno calling it 16 knots on his Facebook tonight the wind was around 22-25 knots with a viscious chop/swell running through the course over the various reefs. The start line was insanely port biased and it was clear the port start was the favoured route so after about 4 massive crashes which ended with 2 split boards and Casper Bouman taken away in an ambulance we were into Race 1..." Bouman said, "I could see a collision was about to happen and I bore away a bit to try to avoid it. I went over this wave as I bore away and thinking I would clip his boom in my FACE I ducked under my front arm and the boom to shield my face from his boom and as this happened the back end of his boom sliced my forearm clean to the bone." 40 stitches later, the complete story. O'Brien continues, "...Arnon crashing, trying to avoid someone, Steve having to hit the brakes and nearly drop the sail, losing places trying to avoid me on starboard! And then one of the french guys getting his JP split in half literally by Victor Melo was on port. Somebody is going to DIE here this week however the racing is pretty exciting as a result!"

Steve Bodner reported in Race 3: "I made the worst mistake I have ever made trying to cross a starboard tacker and failing miserably. I put a huge hole in mine and his board. I immediately retired from the race and tried to find POL 10 a board to use for the next race. I've never felt so bad racing boards knowing I was at fault but in the end that's all part of racing. We all make mistakes but it how you recover that determines the winners...Ron Kern ran into the reef and basically broke his board in 1/2 hinging just in front of the fin box."

Surprise Pozo Livecast · Just when you thought you'd figured out how it all works, a non-windsurfing entity decides a windsurfing wave contest is content regular folks would like to see. I guess windsurfers are regular folks too. The company that did the live webcast of the PWA at Pozo was ACN Press, a Canary Island News Agency, that supplies news content in all forms (video, audio, text, photos) to television and newspapers. Because they used internet platform provider Ustream, it was possible to watch the live broadcast on Facebook. While going through my Facbook news beat on Saturday, I saw the livecast player linked up on a dozen pages. Those dozen pages reached around 15 - 20,000 individuals. The next 2 videos are samples of the hours of live streaming.

Watching the Koster vs. Fernandez single elimination final live was indeed a special treat. Thankfully, Continent Seven recorded it. The first video below shows mostly Koster. The second video by Cutre, from the same final, by focuses on Fernandez.

PWA Livecast · As mentioned last week, Tour Director Rich Page said there will be another Livecast from the PWA at Tenerife July 14 - 20. If all goes well, it should start on Thursday, with another round of wave sailing for the men and women. The darkened player below awaits the live feed...if you come by and hear someone talking, it means, they're broadcasting from Tenerife... (Live video player has been removed)

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