The Cannon Rocks Kiteboarding Classic 2015 set itself up to be different from past edition in some ways. The partnering up with the South African Kitesurfing Association meant that the format would change slightly and that the stakes were slightly higher. However we were committed to having a warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the 3 days. We did’t get disappointed, once again, the result was a rocking event filled with great people.
In the two days leading up to the event, various participants started arriving in little Cannon Rocks. Some of them got lost, some took the long way, but everyone got there. No wind to hurry in, but a great little surf session before a get together at the Cannon Rocks Holiday resort for pre contest festivities.
Day one was a light wind forecast. Most of the morning was dedicated to setting up the contest area with flags and the Peter Lynn tent. The rest of the Port Elizabeth crew arrived just in time for the late registrations. It was a great beach day but not for kiting, the wind never broke through the 10 knot barrier.
Day 2 had a good East wind prediction. By 11 am, the first heats went up.
Thanks to Head judge Olaf van Tol’s organised system, we quickly completed many heats and got through to the Freestyle finals in the Men and Female Amateurs, Junior Pros, males Pros and Female Pros. The conditions stayed perfect the whole day. The easterly never got out of control (it can at that time of the year) and the tide also played along nicely leaving enough water for riders to throw down right in front of the judges tower.
Some of he heats were really close and required judge deliberation to choose a clear winner.
By 11 am the solar powered Genergy showers was supplying nice hot showers to the contestants.
By the end of day 2 possible winners for worst crash of the event had already been singled out…
The evening of day 2 was again spent around a fire with contestants sharing their stories and drinks. The evening was briefly interrupted by a Westerly gale announcing the next day’s situation.
Day 3 was firstly dedicated to wave riding. The conditions having done a 180 degree turn with wind from the opposite side, riders had to get used to the different tack and riding waves from right to left and also dealing with the current.
Being a pro division only, the wave riding heats were completed with ease and there was enough time to finish the contest with a Big air best trick contest for the Amateurs. This provided great entertainment for the spectators with spectacular crashes and also a clear winner for crash master award!
Prize giving was a fun friendly affair with all riders getting a lucky prize at the end of the day. Great to see all the wonderful prizes from Swing Kiteboarding making the riders super stocked.
Rocky, being the coolest beach dog ever got a special prize kindly donated by Cannon Rocks Homebuilders. But being the cool dog that he is, we had to convince him to take the yummy piece of biltong.
A massive thank you to our partner SAKA, who brought Price Check as their main sponsor.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers on the beach:
Natasha Haller: Assistant
Henry Smith: Beach Officer
Melissa Smith: Flag duty
Christo Zietsman: Media gatherer
Jon for the Jetski
And all the helpers: Hudson Cummings, Dane River Cox, Matt White, Steffanie, and all the others that contributed.
With new and re-kindled friendships, the tone of the event remained that of a festival affair rather than a contest.
Of course much competitive spirit was brought along, but never to the detriment of the amazing vibe permeating the ‘classic’ over the 4 days. Having rescheduled the event from January to October, we expected less spectators, however, surprisingly the beach was always full with a constant flow of curious onlookers and locals adding to the excitement.
It looks like this format is a successful one and promises great things for the future.
After a hard few months of preparation for the 2014 Cannon Rocks Kiteboarding Classic, the weather report looked perfect for an amazing event to take place. All the bits and pieces that “dress up” the otherwise very quiet Cannon Rocks beach where in place. On the morning of 2nd of January the grand stand and the tent went up, and riders started arriving in time for our Launch party which took place in the evening at the main Kitebeach inside the Halyards Tent in Cannon Rocks. Formalities like registration and opening speeches left everyone eager to see what day 1 would bring. Thanks for the food and drinks Halyards HotelDay 1 Day 1 started with mist and a light breeze kicking in. However by 3pm there was enough wind to start running slalom races and get things going. This was perfect timing with the tide coming in and covering the rocks. We were able to run all slalom races successfully. The word spread quickly that the wind was up and soon the beach was filled with spectators who had traveled from surrounding areas to come and be part of the vibe. Both Amateurs and pros enjoyed the near perfect conditions…
Oswald Smith dominated the men pro division. The Amateur race was neck a neck with a surprise win by William Tyson.
Day 2 Prediction for day 2 were looking awesome, and once again Cannon Rocks did not disappoint! The only thing that got in the way was the low tide. Head Judge decided to run the wave riding division first with riders having to make their way over the flat rocks to get to the waves at the back. The heats were closely contented with some disappointments but also some surprise results.
In The Ladies, young Simone Swanepoel displayed some really good riding to edge ahead of Michelle Smith. With the action taking place right at the back line and with strengthening winds, the judges had to keep a focused eye on the action. By the time the men’s final was up, the riding was of the highest level and the judges’ job a difficult one. Oswald smith and Josh Emanuel seemed to pick the bigger better waves of the final whilst Anthony Berzack had long but smaller rides. Oswald Smith managed to squeeze in front of Josh Emanuel (who got a nice little cover up) with some very powerful riding. But it was a really tight affair!
With strengthening winds it was decided to changes to the rest of the program. The scheduled called for freestyle heats, but the wind had gotten strong, and with the event not being competition driven, it was decided that a hang time comp was to be run in its place. This format gave a chance to riders of all levels to go out there and have fun. But first it was decided to run a ladies expression session. Simone Swanepoel displayed some really aggressive riding but with the strong wind battled to land her tricks. Michelle on the other hand with her local knowledge and a 5m Swell demo Kite from Peter Lynn, managed to land all her tricks. This gave her the edge she needed to come out on top. The amateurs then took to the water with some spectacular jumps in the first few minutes. Conditions were just getting better and better.
The intermediate riders went out and put on much of the same show with some radical airs but also the most spectacular wipe out of the contest. A skidding cartwheeling summersaulting crash by Stef Begere from Port Elizabeth who got the R 500 cash best wipe out prize from XS-Sports. By the time the pros went out, the wind was at its strongest and the crowds on the beach were in awe. Many of them enjoying the free Hotspot set up by Wipronet and sharing the images with their friends ( a first for Cannon Rocks). With jumps averaging 8 seconds it was decided to have a 3 man final with Josh Emanuel, Oswald Smith, Oscar Armstrong battling it out for placing. The longest jump of the contest was recorded in that heat with a 10.06 second which secured the top spot for Oswald Smith.
The heat finished with much excitement on the beach. Sadly Joshua who was still out there entertaining the large crowd that had gathered on the beach had an accident during a mega loop and crashed heavily snapping his board and also breaking the tibia Plateau (Head of the Tibia leg bone). Riders rushed to his help and he was transported to the Port Alfred Hospital. The contest was stopped after that unfortunate event and Organizers called for a skippers meeting at 10 am the next morning. We wish Joshua a full recovery in the briefest of times so we can have him back in the water where he belongs.
Day 3 started with too little wind to do anything, and with the Week – End ending and all results secured, Prize Giving was held at 3pm. In true Cannon Rocks style the wind did come through at 14h00 and most riders attended the closing ceremony in their wetsuits eager to get back to the water.
So another Cannon Rocks Classic has past us, and once again it was smothered in that warm friendly vibe that has been part of it from the start. Special Thank you to Tania Romagnoli, Henry Smith, Melissa Smith, Natasha Haller, Kevin and Lana Cummings, Piet van Rooyen, Kayla Macnamara, Mandy Thacker, and all the other people who helped out along the way in whatever small way.
Set up was smooth and the launch party a great way to kick off the contest thanks to the Halyards Hotel.
The first day created us with soft winds in the morning but strengthening in the afternoon It allowed us to run a number of races in 15 to 18 knots.
Followed by a display of some freestyle action. Getting Ready for tomorrow’s strong wind predictions! Here are a few pics to get you into the vibe from set up to day 1. Follow us on our Facebook page or our Twitter feed for our Live update