From the 5th to 7th of January, the 2nd edition of the Cannon Rocks Kiteboarding Classic hosted by the Cannon Rocks Beach Club took place.
This year’s event was supported by various cash sponsors, like Peter Lynn Kiteboarding (our major sponsor), The Cannon Rocks Holiday Resort, Cannon Rocks Home builders, and Pam Golding, and prizes donated by Afrikites, Thule, XS-Sports, Kittespotters, Oneil, and Peter Lynn.
This event was organized to bring together the professional approach to the sport and the passion that drives it under one sky. Not only, to go beyond a mere competition, but also more towards an “experience” where winning becomes secondary.
Where it is all about sharing a passion.
The location, Cannon Rocks, is a beach hidden amongst the beautiful sand dunes of the Eastern Cape Coast in South Africa, making it a perfect platform for such a competition. The uncontaminated natural surroundings is a perfect setting to highlight the adventurous nature of our beloved sport.
During the setting up of the event, one could feel the energy amongst the Staff of volunteers. They, in very little time, transformed the quiet beach into a hub with a structure which was to take center stage for the next four days.
Groups of inquisitive locals and tourists were immediately drawn to the area by the colourful display of banners and flags.
On the 5th at 9am the music could be heard from the Judge’s tower and inscriptions were opened, the parking lot filled up with cars. More stands were erected, the Girls from Vitamin Water hydrating the competitors and the staff through out.
Next was the kites, pumped up and ready for action. Amongst those the brand new Peter Lynn Inflatable kites, the Fury and the escape, ready to be demoed.
A thousand colours on the beach, and expectations high, however… No wind.
The air so strangely still for Cannon Rocks, couldn’t stop the energy that was flowing amongst the people present, and in the early afternoon, an impromptu concert entertained the public and the riders, followed by a very South African Braai.
A few of the competitors are trying jumps on the beach, chasing the very shy breeze.
The breeze still too soft for competing, the competitors try equipment, swop ideas, knowledge and numbers. The public patiently waits (beer in hand). While we wait for the wind, the organizers throw together a loop competition with a Peter Lynn Impulse (Trainer Kite) on the beach.
But this is only a taste of what is to come, and the public feels it.
By late afternoon, there is just enough wind to run a quick downwind slalom race which Anthony Berzack wins on an Escape 11m he was demoing!
Everyone went home with much expectation for the Sunday.
Finally the wind that is so common here is back the way we like it; The windsocks and flags from the sponsors indicated the direction and strength on the rise!
Even if it took a little while to filter through it finally settled around 20 knots and we were able to run the events back to back. The adrenalin was tangible on the beach.
First, two Races were Kurt Schmelzer emerged the winner in both. In the second one closely followed by Anthony Berzack. Great performance from local rider Hudson Cumings coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively. In the Ladies division Michelle Smith Dominated, but we saw great performance by another local rider Natasha Haller completing both races and coming 3rd.
The Wave event was then run in choppy conditions. Anthony Berzack took the honours with some great riding. Hudson Cumings in second place on a strapless doing some funky stuff, And then surprise of the day was Michelle Smith who had made it to the finals, sneaking in at 3rd place (was a close call) by riding more waves and more consistently.
Freestyle Pro was a one man Race with Kurt Schmelzer doing some great moves. In Second place Bruce Hough entertained the crowds with some powerful maneuvers and spectacular crashes. In third place (another tight call) Brad Gilmour managed to sneak in by landing his moves cleanly.
The Open session for amateurs was a tight call with Dale from Port Alfred coming 1st and winning a Xenon Board from Afrikites. Natasha Haller grabbed the second place and won a Underwave Harness from Afrikites, and Manuele Zanutta in 3rd won an Underwave double board bag from Afrikites.
All the other competitors went home with prizes from a lucky draw. It was great to be able to reward all the participants, we hope to be able to stick to that tradition in the future. A Big Thank you to our sponsors, but also to all the people involved on the beach, from the flags signals to the kite testing, from the buoy moving to the singing. Without the volunteers and their spirit, it couldn’t have been possible.
In the pipeline is a video production which will get produced in the next few months.
Till next time