Everything truly is bigger in Texas. Big sails, big boards, big fins, big gear bags and a big event. The 2016 US Windsurfing Nationals held down in Corpus Christi was a great event with 50+ competitors. Not only were the best US windsurfers there, but also top racers representing Turkey, France (Martinique), England and of course me representing Canada.
I continued my tradition of having trouble with equipment arriving on time, but I won’t bore you with the details. I just need to thank my sponsors for helping me out when I needed it and sending gear overnight making it possible for me to compete. Also a huge thanks to Olivier and Monika organizing the event and for their Texan hospitality. With all this support I was able to get a good night’s sleep after my arrival directly from the PWA in Austria and get over my jet-lag.
The first day of competition turned out to be the day that mattered. I was riding my Starboard ISonic 114 and Sailworks NX Slalom 7.8 paired with a 40cm fin.
We finished 2 slalom eliminations that day, each elimination with a total of 10 heats. I qualified through both slalom eliminations all the way into the final heats, and then that’s when it mattered.
The first jibe mark in elimination 1 final was where I made my move. I had a good start, but so did everybody else. There was about 6 guys coming in hot into the first jibe mark. I kept high, and going into the jibe I wedged myself between the pack and the mark, pulling away from the pack and leaving them in my dirty air. From then on I flew through the rest of the race course to open up with a victory.
The 2nd elimination was not so smooth for me, and my competitors were defending well at the jibe marks, so I had nowhere to squeeze through. I took 4th.
The following days some course racing was run in the morning light winds, as well as a long distance race. I realized my body is definitely not use to handling slalom gear on extremely long reaches, and I could not keep up speed the whole race. I ended up taking 5th in the long distance. Gotta put more hours on the slalom gear to be ready for the next long distance.
On the final day it looked like we would continue with the slalom. I had my 8.6 NX ready for action and tuned in since the long distance race, so I was ready for the light wind action, but the race committee was only registering 11 knots out on the race course. It was borderline enough for me, but not enough to run fair racing according to the race committee, meaning that was it for the racing.
So in the end I won the US Windsurfing Nationals in Slalom, and took 5th in the long distance. I’m really stoked about that as my goal coming into the event was to finish slalom on the podium.
The day after the event I got a ride with a new friend and windsurfer Rey up to Dallas, where he dropped me off with all my gear at the airport. I’m now flying off for the next adventure with Max Matissek and Escape Campervans on the California and Oregon coasts. Stay tuned…