The North American Championships was one of the last continental Championships of the year. North Kiteboarding Team rider Olly Bridge headed out to the San Diego, California, keen to take home another title.
For those of you who haven’t kept up-to-date with his progress, Olly is on fire this year winning multiple events including the European championships.
San Diego is a famous light wind venue, playing host to the one series event over four days. This meant that riders would race in one fleet, competing in up to four races each day. The wind filled in at around noon each day, ranging between 4-11 knots. Along with the light winds, the riders also had to cope with a lot of seaweed! This can be complicated as it gets stuck to the fins creating a lot of drag which slows everything down. The combination of the light wind and seaweed meant the Race Crew was not able to do as many races as they would of liked, but against all odds, 11 races over the four days were completed.
Olly managed to win the event scoring impressive first and second place finishes. Now preparing for his last two events of the year - Qatar for the Middle Eastern Championship and the ISAF sailing world grand final in Dubai - Olly will be full steam ahead as he goes into these well respected events.
Good luck Olly!
Olly Bridge crowned king at the Formula Kite European Championships
Mielno, is a large coastal village in north western Poland. A well known tourist destination with sandy beaches, it lies on a spit between the Baltic Sea and the large Jamno lake. Playing host to the Formula Kite European Championships, the world's greatest riders gathered for a 5 day showdown. Once again, the NKB team took to the start line on the new, 2015 North Race Ltd 69 which has proved its high performance abilities since it's release. Good conditions greeted the start of the event as the qualifiers got underway. NKB rider Olly Bridge led the fleet, and Blasco Ozog showed great form.
Day three saw lighter winds for the start of the Gold Fleet. Olly was dominating the ranks with Blasco in second. Unfortunately the diminishing conditions meant that only three races were run. Winning two out of the three races, Olly was 13 points clear of second place going into the final day of competition. Sadly on the fourth and final day of competition the wind failed to put in an appearance, and the medal series was abandoned. Blasco Ozog finished 9th and Olly, was crowned European Champion for a second year running in both the men's under 18 and men's under 21
The video of the event
Olly Bridge shines at the Kitesurf Tour Europe
North Kiteboarding team rider Olly Bridge travelled out to Italy for the second and last stop of the Kitesurf Tour Europe, held on Hang loose beach in Gizzeria. Riders such as current World Champion Florian Gruber and African Champion Riccardo Leccese, had also made it to Italy to compete. With Olly already familiar with the spot and kiting conditions, he was ready when the event started.
The event started with light thermal winds, perfect for the course racers. They managed to run five races with Olly securing four bullets and a 2nd place. With such a strong performance on the first day, he was in a very good position to do well in whole event.
Second day of competition had very similar conditions to the first. The wind was light in the morning so again, perfect for the course racers. Olly again started the day strong, winning the first two races by good distance. He led the third race of the day, but on the final reach to the finish line hit a plastic bag and was overtaken by Florian Gruber. This unfortunate glitch, put Olly back into second place in this race. After the three races the wind picked up enough to run the freestyle single elimination, and by the end of the day Olly was sitting comfortably in first position in the overall ranking.
The third day of competition brought a completely different set of conditions. The wind was light and off shore so again, the course racers were first to start. The wind was light so all the riders opted to take their bigger kites but, during the race the conditions changed. The wind increased up to 30 knots with big gusts seeing Olly switch down to his 7m Dyno for the next race where he managed to win event. Because of the good wind the racing was put on hold and the Freestyle Double Elimination got underway. After the Freestyle had finished the organisers decided to run one final course race. The conditions were unchanged so taking his 7m Dyno, Olly won the last race of the day.
The fourth and final day of competition saw cross onshore 8-12 knots, and as the Freestyle competition had finished the whole day was dedicated to the course racers. Managing to run four races, Olly won three with one second place.
Winning this event puts Olly in a very good position for the World Championships in three weeks’ time.
Maxime Nocher in St. Barth
We arrived to St. Barth the 4th of June in the evening, the next day, we were able to ride in "La Baie des Flamants" for training and to check the best wind direction to optimize our chances of record. Normally, we thought to have the best conditions (East orientation) for the next day, the 6th of June. We went to ride in a big lagoon to test the wind and I tried to choose the best material but unfortunately I wasn't able to ride with my 9 meter and Julien even with his 11m had lots of difficulty to go upwind... We realized that the east wind is too hot and not strong enough.
The 7th of June the weather was not the best, we had 15 knots NE, but we decided to lauch the crossing from St-Barth to St-Martin (34 kilometers). We called the security boat, which would come in 1 hour. During this hour, we prepared our material, analyzed the wind, it varied from 5 to 20 knots due to the cloudy weather. First big question, the size of the kite! I decided to take my 9m Dyno with 24 meter lines! Julien and Remi decided to use the same size. When we arrived at the start line, the wind was stronger than expected.
The start is done, and after 10 minutes of navigation I managed to get some distance to Remi and Julien, the problem was, I was alone, I didn't know the 100% correct direction. After a few minutes the boat opener joined me to help me for the cape and at this time we were able to finally see Julien and Remi. The speed of the opener boat side of me was around 30 knots. After 25 minutes of crossing, we saw the Saint-Martin coast line and I thought I'm late comparing to the last record! So we tried to go even faster. In the end my final time was 39 minutes and 8 seconds. I couldn´t believe it. This record is the new record for a crossing from St-Barth to St-Martin for kitesurfing and windsurfing. The old record was owned by Alexandre Caizergue since 2009 with a time of 44 minutes.
Thanks a lot to North Kiteboarding and ION to support me for this incredible experience! I'm very happy to have succeeded in this challenge.
"The Need for Speed", African Course Racing Championships!
Racing is more than just the moment when you cross the line – it´s all about training, technique and in the end - the competition. Physical and mental strength is the key to success, but perfect gear helps a lot. 2011 the production class was introduced and has made racing much more accessible to everyone all over the world and has made the sport a lot more professional too. Check out the new race video "The Need For Speed", shot in Egypt at the African Course Racing Championships and inhale the racing atmosphere!