The Challenge was my first ever long distance race. I had heard stories of how hard it is from my parents, both of which finished it windsurfing several times. This race is over 25 miles long and takes you from Crissy to the Berkeley pier and back – if you make it. This year, 26 people started. I had no idea what to expect. I was just hoping to finish – not even within the time limit! The starting line was right in front of the St. Francis Yacht Club like it always is, then you round the weather mark to port and then head downwind to Berkeley. The bottom mark you round to port. It’s located north of the easternmost gap in the Berkeley pier. I chose my trusty 7 meter Ozone Edge for this race.
After avoiding the wind shadow that’s by the SF city front, maneuvering around all of the ferry boats, and after hitting a few fish and getting in some epic wipeouts, I made it to Berkeley and rounded the mark. Going back up was a whole different story. It wasn’t super choppy, but it was gusty, and I was almost fully depowered for most of the way back. I finished 10th overall in 1:48:14. I even beat Johnny Heineken, who tangled his R1 on the mast of a sailboat and was later seen climbing up the rig to untangle the kite. A huge thanks to whoever took this picture of Johnny climbing up the mast of a sailboat.
On the second day we had 4 course races. I finished 7th in the course racing part of the event and was super happy about the results. While that weekend was quite tiring, it was also very cool to see a couple of my best friends come out and watch me race and see what kiting’s all about!
A big thanks to the StFYC for organizing the event, which was so much fun as always!