Dakhla Morocco PKRA 2013 Closing ceremony

The end of the event was marked with the closing ceremony and the distribution of the trophies and prize money.  The Wali of Dakhla and his colleagues came to see the closing ceremony and showed their support for the riders and the sport.  With six days of wind and waves, 25c degrees, sun, 75 riders from over 21 countries coming to Dakhla, Morocco and finishing  a full freestyle event and wave event.  We can say that this event was a great success. Alex pastor and Karolina Winkowska won the first freestyle event of the year and Jalou and Kevin Langeree won the first wave event.

“It is great to win the first event of the year and really motivates me for the rest of the season”-Alex Pastor

The organizers, locals, press, Dakhla Attitude and sponsors really made this event one to remember.  They provided great hospitality and welcomed everyone to their home spot.  The closing ceremony was done at Dakhla Attitude with all the riders and officials.

The skill level of the riders really improved over the winter. It was very obvious from the first heats that everyone had been training.  The girls have increased their repertoire of tricks and are much more consistent.  The newcomers Van Westerop and Paula Novotna really improved and could over the season start to compete for a spot on the podium. The top women are Karolina, Gisela and Bruna just keep pushing the sport with bigger moves and more power. They are all three battling for another world title having each already won one.

“Really happy to win the first event, I was not sure what to expect from the other girls.  I knew that everyone trained over the winter and hoped I was up to the level”-K

“I am happy with the good start of the season, yeah happy like a hippo”-Marc Jacobs

The men’s division is still dominated by Youri and Pastor but Marc Jacobs showed that he can also get to the podium.  The young riders like Jaspan, Whaley, Blanc, Hutter and many more are the next generation of champions. They clearly showed that by the end of the season some of them will be in the top 10 if not top 5.

“Ranking wise I am not too happy, but I am happy with my gear and the high scores of tricks and heats”-Youri Zoon

We would like to thank all the riders for coming and competing in the freestyle and wave event. This event that features freestyle and waves is a great way to showcase kitesurfing to the world and Morocco is a great place to do it.  Also thank you to our event sponsors for making this possible and being great hosts.

US Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Award Ceremony

Heineken, French Honored at Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards Ceremony

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (February 26, 2013) –  At an emotional ceremony today at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, Johnny Heineken (Larkspur, Calif.) and Jennifer French (St. Petersburg, Fla.) were celebrated as US Sailing’s 2012 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.  Formally announced in January after being chosen for their outstanding on-water sailing accomplishments in 2012, the honorees were joined by family, friends, sailing dignitaries, fellow sailors and members of the media for a luncheon program.

Heineken, French Honored at Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards Ceremony

Heineken, French Honored at Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards Ceremony

The event was emceed by former US Sailing President Gary Jobson and the luncheon included a multi-media retrospective of their rise to the top of the sport. Heineken, the 2012 Kiteboarding Course Racing World Champion, and French, the 2012 Paralympic Silver Medalist in the SKUD-18 class, each gave heartfelt speeches after being awarded specially engraved stainless steel and platinum Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Masters, symbolic of their achievements in excellence, by Rolex Watch U.S.A. President and CEO Stewart Wicht.

I am so honored to be amongst the fantastic sailors who were nominated in 2012 and even more honored to win,” said French.  “It’s a huge move forward for disabled sailing, the only sport where sailors can leave their wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs behind and go out and compete against able-bodied people; that’s why it attracts me.” French took several seconds to leave her own wheelchair to stand during her acceptance speech, utilizing a neuroprosthetic system she helped pioneer after a 1998 snowboarding accident left her a quadriplegic.

French called her Paralympic silver medal performance “a fantastic journey” and said she couldn’t have done it without crew JP Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and many others who supported them.  “We were standing on their shoulders and fortunate for our outcomes. To gain a silver medal…it was not only an honor to represent Team USA but also an honor to follow in the footsteps of (2005 Rolex Yachtsman) Nick Scandone and his legend as well.” Scandone’s wife, Mary Kate Scandone, had introduced French, saying, “For Jen to achieve her goals as a disabled sailor is amazing.”   Nick Scandone, who died in 2009, won a Paralympic gold medal and was the first-ever disabled sailor named for this award. French is the second.

Heineken took the stage after being introduced by 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Bill Hardesty, who said, “Johnny has taken kiteboarding to the next level; he makes it look easy.”  In fact, Heineken is a back-to-back kiteboarding course racing world champion (2011, 2012) after spending most of his life windsurfing and sailing. It wasn’t until 2009, that he learned to kiteboard.

“Kiteboarding is an evolution of sailing, not a new sport,” said Heineken, “and the fact that everyone is seeing it that way is pretty special.  I’m amazed to have my name added to a list of sailors I’ve grown up idolizing.”

Heineken said winning one world championship was exciting but it was about “giving it a little more last year to win again” that was especially fulfilling. “Sailing has always been about speed to me,” he said, adding that he started out windsurfing with his father and progressed to racing a 29er in high school.  “I’ve been working with the best guys to stay on top of the game, and I’m fortunate that many of them are from the Bay Area here. We’re seeing the sport take off, on the racing side especially; people are noticing they can go sailing in lighter and lighter conditions and still have fun. Kiteboard course racing is popping up all over in little clusters of local fleets.”

Heineken also gave St. Francis Yacht Club credit for pioneering the running of kiteboarding races locally. This was the second consecutive year that the awards were presented at the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport’s ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year.  The process of determining the recipients starts each September when US Sailing invites its membership to make online nominations. A shortlist of nominees is then reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists who discuss the merits of each nominee and vote to determine the winners. Over its history the coveted award has been presented to 41 men and 34 women.

Hawaiian Beach Ceremony Kicks Off KSP World Tour Finals At Ho’okipa Beach Maui hawaii

Kahului, Hawaii – November 29, 2012: Following the opening ceremony at Ho’okipa Beach Park on Maui’s North Shore, an official lay day was called due to light and variable winds. With plenty of waves on tap for the week ahead, contest directors aim to start the competition as soon as wind conditions permit.

Hawaiian Beach Ceremony Kicks Off KSP World Tour Finals At Ho'okipa Beach Maui hawaii

Hawaiian Beach Ceremony Kicks Off KSP World Tour Finals At Ho'okipa Beach Maui hawaii

Hawaii’s Kumu Keli’i Tau’a led a traditional Hawaiian blessing to open the Ho’okipa Kite Surf Pro followed with a speech by Rod Antone, Communications Director for the County Of Maui, who welcomed the 36 KSP riders from 18 countries. Lois Leinani Whitly wrapped up the beautiful beach ceremony by performing the National Anthem and Hawaiian Pono’i.

“It’s was a beautiful opening ceremony with perfect waves breaking out on the reef at Ho’okipa,” said Kristin Boese, KSP World Championship Tour President. “Unfortunately, we are just in a bad wind pattern at the moment. The wind forecast right now is not looking great for the next few days, but that can change quickly. We are still early in the holding period and are looking forward to what the following week will bring.”

The next call will be at 9am tomorrow morning following an assessment of conditions. Tune in live on www.kspworldtour.com/live tomorrow for the “morning show” and a first possible start of the Local Qualifier Competition followed by Men’s Round 1.

The Ho’okipa Kite Surf Pro is supported by the County Of Maui, Best Kiteboarding, Cabrinha Kites, Naish Kites, North Kiteboarding, Maui Kitesurfing Community, Eternal Riders, Second Wind, NeilPryde Maui, Maui Beach Hotel, Mana Foods, Whole Foods Maui, Pacific Millworks, Mama’s Fish House and KSP Tour Outfitter ION.

For the pictures of the day click here!

HO’OKIPA KITE SURF PRO MEN’S ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA), Bastien Bollard (FRA), LWC 1

Heat 2: Mitu Monteiro (CPV, F-One), Sky Solbach (USA, North), Shawn Richman (HI, Naish)

Heat 3: Guilly Brandao (BRA), Matchu Almeida (CPV, North), Grant “Twig” Baker (RSA, Cabrinha)

Heat 4: Airton Cozzolino (ITA, North), Ryan Coote (IRL, Ozone), LWC 2

Heat 5: Luke McGillewie (RSA, RRD), Abel Lago (ESP, RRD), Stephan De Figueiredo (BRA)

Heat 6: Keahi De Aboitiz, (AUS, Cabrinha), Gonzalo Gomes (POR, Naish), Cruser Putman (HI, Cabrinha)

Heat 7: Filippe Ferreira (BRA, F-One), Etienne Lhote (FRA, F-One), Jesse Richman (HI, Naish)

Heat 8: Patri Mclaughlin (HI, North), Jakop Appel (DEN), LWC 3

 

HO’OKIPA KITE SURF PRO WOMEN’S ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Ninja Bichler (GER, North), Kristin Boese (GER, Best), Erika Lindberg (SWE)

Heat 2: Ines Correia (POR, RRD), Kari Schibevaag (NOR, Ozone), LWC 1.

Heat 3: Kirsty Jones (GBR, North), Milla Ferreira (BRA, F-One), Adriana Harlan (BRA)

Heat 4: Jalou Langeree (NED, Naish), Melissa Gil (USA, Cabrinha), LWC 2