17 Formula and 13 Kite Foilers descended upon Long Beach for the 2014 Kite Racing Nationals over the weekend. Light to moderate winds provided enough breeze to get in 14 races for the formula fleet (with Friday included) and 9 races for the foilers.
Putting heavy pressure on reigning champ, Johnny Heineken, Nico Landauer proved to excel in the light conditions, while Johnny was in his groove with a tad more breeze and his kite not "falling from the sky", Johnny obviously enjoys the windier conditions of SF Bay and Nico's home base of San Diego give him more light air training, so go figure.
The talk of the beach in the Kitefoiling world was the new Carfino foil set up, which looks very modern and capable. Mango Carifino has jumped back in the game after a lengthy sabbatical, and an excited following has thrown lots of orders in his direction, but it's performance is still out with the jury.
all images omarnazif.com
Erika Heineken, racing just on formula boards this weekend, on her board, Girls Rule Boys Drule kept the boys druling with consistency and style, her worse score was 4th in two of the 14 races, not bad, not bad at all. We pinged Erika a couple weeks ago for her thoughts when comparing the foils and the formula boards, especially for women...
The formula race boards (course boards) are much more physically demanding in the sense that your body absorbs each wave and it requires a lot of energy to ride it better than the guy next to you. In comparison, the foil is also demands amazing balance and a new level of connection to the power in the system - ie the kite and the foil. One wrong move and you're nosediving from the pendulum that is your foil. Riding a foil is more physical in the quick small muscle movements; I'm equally as sore after riding either, just different.
Both classes continue to push the limits, though in SF the fleet is turning to foil boards. It's not surprising when the speeds are greater and the sensation is, personally, more enjoyable. No more slap slap of the nose of the board, only silence, and sometimes a whistling of the foil slicing the water.
Less drag in the water means smaller kite and less wind required. Once foiling, the apparent wind one creates is spectacular, you just can't stop - or you'll risk dropping your kite in the middle of the Bay...