Last weekend the Ozone Race Team competed in, without a doubt, the toughest kiteboarding race that the sport has to offer. The weekend of July 27-28 offered up some of the most challenging conditions that kiters have seen in this race ever. Attached is a history of The Classic and for the last 11 years, the UltraNectar challenge has been added to the mix as a split time race. When the competitor crosses the finish line after the grueling Classic, their time is taken and they are immediately in a split time race back up wind from Berkeley to the city front, The UltraNectar Challenge. This year was especially challenging as the wind blew over 30 mph over much of the course and there was a 3.27 knot flood going against the competitors as they tried to sail back up wind to the city front. This race always generates memorable individual experiences, stories, epiphany’s and Team Ozone definitely had each of their own.
Pictured in the attached photo are, left to right, Geoff Headington, Steve Gibson, Chip Wasson, and Rob Kindt of Race Team Ozone. Following are brief clips of their efforts of July 28th, 2009. The accounts are topical and individual experiences were for more detailed.
Geoff was doing great after the 2:35 pm start and took a good tactical course to get to the windward mark leading but as he did not make the mark by 2 feet due to the heavy flood he had to tack back as did fellow competitor Stefaans Wojen. Upon both riders turning they tangled allowing Chip Wasson and Paulo Rista to round in first and second. Geoff was able to free himself from the tangle and continue. Stefaans was not so lucky. Geoff put the pedal to the metal and caught up with Paulo towards the bottom of the course and was able to finish the SF Classic in 2nd place. On the way back up (The UltraNectar Challenge) the wind picked up, the chop was nasty and Geoff kicked into high gear edging out the leader, Chip Wasson to win the UltraNectar Challenge.
Steve sailed hard and completed the Classic in 1:43:42 something that any kiter can be proud of. It is a gruel to even complete this race. On the way down during the Classic Steve managed to rip his toe nail ¾ of the way off but managed to finish blood under foot. On the way back up, the toe nail bled profusely and was getting further ripped off by strong jets of water coming over the board. Steve was in excruciating pain and decided to pack it in for a ride in one of the chase boats on the way back up. Steve surely would have kicked it into gear if it had not been for the toe nail….It looked ugly! Good job Steve!
At the start of the SF Classic Chip port tacked the fleet to get to the middle and the remaining ebb, a tactic which paid well until getting into some bad flood water at the top. Paulo and Chip battled to the windward mark which saw Paulo round 50 feet ahead of Chip. By the first reaching mark, Chip had over taken Paulo and extended his lead to the bottom of the course to Win the SF Classic in the wake of much fatigue. Chip was not so fortunate heading back up in the UltraNectar Challenge as Geoff Headington chipped away at the lead and managed to beat Chip at the finish of the UltraNectar Challenge. On the way back up Geoff really hit his comfort zone on the 11 Edge being a bit bigger and able to put the pedal to the metal while Chip was thrown out of his upwind efficiency zone by being over powered and the insane chop. Props to Geoff! All be it, Chip and Geoff extended their time (lead) greatly over the rest of the fleet on the way back up by pushing each other in a grand tacking duel. It was a great battle but fatigue set in for Chip and Geoff won out.
This is the saddest story of the day. Rob was riding an older board that was surely not as fast as many others but with some great sailing and hard pushing he was able to pull off a 4th place in the Classic on the way down almost passing Paulo at the end. This was a great feat for sure considering the board! Feeling energized by his performance on the way down Rob nutted up and pushed hard on the way back up passing Paulo! Rob sailed brilliantly through the epic conditions to what would have been a wide third place finish giving Ozone a 1,2,3, lineup in the UltraNectar Challenge. The bane of Rob’s UltraNectar Challenge was that he did not know where the finish line was and did not finish correctly and received a DNF for the race back up. The pain was felt by everyone, especially Rob…..It is the little things that need focus as well as the big……Sorry Rob!
The final finishes stacked up as follows on this insane race.
1st Chip Wasson - Ozone 11m Edge
2nd Geoff Headington – Ozone 11m Edge
3rd Paulo Rista - Cabrinha
4th Rob Kindt – Ozone 11m Edge
1st Geoff Headington – Ozone 11m Edge
2nd Chip Wasson - Ozone 11m Edge
3rd Rob Kindt – Ozone 11m Edge (unofficial finish due to brain fade but he deserves it!)
3rd Eric Due – Cabrinha (official finish)
4th Frank Wittke – F1
The long and the short of it is that The Ozone Race Team cleaned up BIG TIME and remains a dominant factor in the SF Bay. We will see how things pan out when the World comes to town August 4-8. Ozone will be stoked to have new team member Mike Gebhart on hand for the Worlds in SF!!! Welcome MIKE!