// July 12th, 2010 // Comments Off // Uncategorized
KB4C Saturday, July 10th
The morning of the Kiteboard 4 Cancer endurance/relay event, the team: Jason Slezak, Sensi Graves, Dominique Granger, and Chris Stuckey awoke early to the sight of white caps on the Columbia River. Everyone was charged and stoked to make this a wicked-fun day. Arriving at the Event Site early to setup, we pumped several quivers of kites; Naish Cults and Helixes for Sensi and Dominique, Liquid Force Havocs for Slezak and Stuckey. The team worked fast to pump kites and stake our real estate on the lawn as the Event Site began to crowd up with teams and individuals preparing for the start of the event. In the meantime, Jason made some last minute negotiations and acquired a Rawson Quad for the team. Apparently surfboards are the way to go.
Ten am came fast and with it, a rider’s meeting led by Neil Hutchinson. Highlighting the rules, the race course, and potential hazards, it was one of the larger rider meetings the team had been around. Neil stated that the race would begin at 11am and the team quickly decided that Slezak would be our lead rider. The start to the endurance event began on the far side of the river, with 130 kites dancing on top of one another. As the final horn blew to signal the start all participates barreled toward the Event Site to round the first mark. In about three minutes the team spotted Jason on a 10m Havoc and a Rawson quad, rounding the buoy in a great position roughly nine people back but before the chaos. As you can imagine, this area became a quick cluster of kites, lines, and more tangles than anyone of us have seen in quite awhile.
At the end of Jason’s first lap the forward strap on his surfboard broke loose from the screw. The team noticed this hindering element as Jason, instead of rounding the Event Site marker kept riding toward his cheering team on the shore. Dominique and Stuckey sprung into action like a well oiled NASCAR pit crew and fixed his strap. Within minutes, Slezak was back on the water charging. An hour-an-half later, Slezak threw the secret sign to indicate that he would do one more lap. The team utilized this time to prepare for the switch and get Sensi on the water. As Slezak came in, downing his kite to Stuckey, he passed off his riding jersey (the baton) to Sensi.
Sensi stood in the water with the team riding jersey now on, as Brandon threw her 9m Cult into the air. Navigating around a couple kiters on the shoreline, she was off around the first mark. The wind was experiencing a lull and with most of the kites on the inside down, Sensi had to slog through her first two laps significantly underpowered. However during the second half of her portion Sensi was lit, flying through the course with her kite very near directly overhead. After having enough of this chaos she signaled to the shore crew and came in.
Dominique was next in the line up and put up a 7m Helix. She took off around the riders and flew up the course. The river swell on the outside was massive and definitely over Dominique’s head. Yet she powered through the chop and managed to get four more laps for our team. Coming inside Dominique maneuvered around a couple other riders and landed safely on shore. Luckily none of our team had any line tangling incidents although plenty of kiters experienced significant accidents.
Stuckey was the last team member to launch. On an 8m Havoc and the Rawson Quad fish he flew through the course. At this point the wind was cranking. During the conclusion of lap four and approaching the event site marker, his forward strap broke loose on the board. Stuckey recalled later, “That moment when it broke, I had two options: continue on or come to shore for a NASCAR style pit fix. I decided to keep charging and continued on for several more laps.” Stuckey was able to lap quite a few individuals and pulled out an impressive seven laps.
With only 20 minutes left in the event, Stuckey passed off the final bit of this endurance challenge to Slezak. Jason covered an impressive nine minute lap his first lap around. Therefore he was able to finish two laps before the end of the event was finalized.
All in all, the team placed an impressive 3rd place in laps, at 23 laps! Take in mind, the fact that three of the four team members rode this spot for the first time the day before the event. We are most proud of the fact that we were able to raise a significant amount of money and create higher levels of awareness for those affected by cancer. Furthermore we had a wonderful time sharing our stories and high levels of stoke with fellow kiters on the opposite side of the country. Wind Ninjas would like to thank everyone that donated, contributed, helped out and supported our team. We could not have done it without you! We’ll be back next year for sure!