More than 40 excited kiters gathered at Naish Beach (Kanaha) on Saturday June 9th to participate in the first event of the 2012 Summer Naish Kite Race Series. In typical fashion, Maui delivered 25 to 30 knots winds and the first fleet of course boards hit the water at 11:30am. It soon became clear that Alex Aguera was in a class of his own. The battle for second and third was on between Naish’s own Des Walsh and Ken Winner. Ken and Des battled back and forth, with Ken clinching the overall 2nd position in the third race of the day.
The open class featured surfboards and twin-tips and a very crowded start line. Naish’s Damien Girardin port-tacked the entire fleet at the start, but Flash Austin won it in the end, riding his Naish Haze twin-tip board and Bolt kite. Another standout was Naish team rider Jesse Richman, racing incredibly fast one-handed (he was still wearing his cast on his broken hand). Jesse ended up second in the first heat and even won the second heat!
Naish Kiteboarding’s latest team additions, Alexis and Kalia Aguera, dominated the girls’ division with Alexis winning the course board class and Kalia the open class.
This year, we devised a new event for the Summer series in the form of the RIDE relay. Thirty riders were split into teams of ten (red, blue and black…like the colors of the RIDE kite) to compete head to head, using the same kite (a Naish RIDE 8m) and the same board (the Naish Momentum 134). The relay started Le Mans-style with the first team member launching their kite (assisted), running to water, hopping on their board, and completing one run around a buoy. The kite being the relay baton, real team effort was needed when the kite had to be passed over to the next team member. The riders would hit the beach, return to the launch spot, land the kite and hand the bar to the next rider. This was the most spectacular part of the race! The girls were often run up the beach by another member of their team, just holding onto their harnesses. The judges had to duck several times to avoid the landing kites and stampeding riders. Between the cheering and the instructions shouted by the teams, the event held everyone’s attention. Team Blue proved to be the fastest and best organized, finishing first before the Red and then the Black team. The event was a definite highlight of the day. This format opened everyone’s eyes to all the fun possible!
Everyone had a great day and Naish is looking forward to seeing you all back for the second race day on July 14th! Check out the results and images from the event on The Naish Kite Race Event page on Facebook.
Photo credits: Jimmie Hepp, Madeline Ziecker and naish_kiteboarding on Instagram