Report by Erika Heineken
One of my favorite times of the year is my annual pilgrimage to British Columbia for the Canadian National Championship. If you’ve never been to Squamish, put it on your list! The only way to the launch site, aka The Spit, is to rumble down a gravel road, and as you emerge from the trees you feel like you’ve gone back in time 200 years. Rushing rivers flow on each side and you can’t help but keep your eyes peeled for a bear salmon fishing (still no bear sightings – just a bunch of seals munching on salmon as you try to avoid them on your kiteboard).
The Race Committee and volunteers ran a flawless event. We had four races each day starting at noon, which meant by 3:30 we were decompressing and enjoying the freestylers showing off in the flat water. Day 1 and 2 were windier, most riders on 7 meters to 10 meter kites. Day 3 the clouds rolled in for the morning which made for some nice flatter water and calmer winds, but by the afternoon it was gusting into the mid-twenties.
With Johnny and Bryan Lake solidly in the 1, 2 positions respectively, the real battle was fought for third place between two of my favorite Canadian Ozone team riders – Stefano Rista and Kyle Touhey. On the water, Stefano was able to fend off his buddy to become the 2-time Canadian National Champion. Whereas off the water, Kyle proved to be the Canadian party champion and not let us visitors sleep too much…
Racing was spectacularly close between the top 8 guys, and then my pack of 5 was also switching up finishes each race. Highlights: Seeing Matt Taggart finish with 2, 2, 3, 7 on the last day after 11 stitches and a serious party the night before… Seeing Adam Vance practicing his freestyle moves on the twintip for literally 2 hours after racing all day, and then getting back on his raceboard. And being pretty freaking impressed all top-10 riders are on MikesLab boards and that 9 of 10 riders are on Ozone kites. Thanks Ozone for the best kites and for sponsoring this phenomenal event!
1. Johnny Heineken 3-time “Canadian Champion”
2. Bryan Lake
3. Stefano Rista 2-time Canadian Champion
4. Kyle Touhey
5. Matt Taggart
6. Adam Vance
7. Andy Wong
8. Will Morris
9. Erika Heineken3-time “Canadian Champion”
2013 Pacific Pilsner West Coast Open – Canadian Kiteboard Racing Championships Report
Racing has finished up at the 2013 Pacific Pilsner West Coast Open in beautiful Squamish, BC. Over the weekend 37 riders from 5 countries were thrown into the 25-30 knot arena that is known as Howe Sound.
The course was set within a rocky fjord and 12 double lap races were scheduled. In Squamish, BC the course is set against a cliff face so tacking feet from a 200ft cliff face is the norm.
The standouts in the men’s division were Johnny Heineken (USA) who won 11 of 12 races, Bryan “Bernie” Lake (USA) who picked up the remaining bullet and finished second overall and local Stefano Rista (CAN) who raced consistently to
edge into third overall and win the Canadian title. The race for third place was hard-fought with Rista ahead of Kyle Touhey (CAN) by just 0.3 points! Matt Taggart (GBR) finished in 5th overall with Adam Vance (CAN) taking 6th overall and 3rd Canadian.
In the women’s division Erika Heineken (CAN) opened up a commanding 86 point margin by posting eight top 10 finishes. This is Erikas third consecutive win at the Pacific Pilsner West Coast Open. Jessica Sickinger had a solid event securing second overall and the Canadian title. Eugenia Gueorguieva (BUL) finished third overall.
With Three full days of racing some great parties and fantastic times everyone has left Squamish with huge smiles. Our plans are to keep getting Bigger and Better!
A huge thank you to our volunteers and premium level sponsors Pacific Pilsner, Livecare.ca, Ozone Kites, Airtime Boardsports, Naish Kites, O’Neill, and Dakine. Without their assistance it would be impossible to put on an event of this caliber.
Check out the videos, photos, and news on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/2013westcoastopen