US Open 2006 Regatta Report by USA4

Hey all

I've just returned from the 2006 US Open in Corpus Christie, Texas. The regatta was held in conjunction with the Velocity Games- combining freestyle skateboarding on ½ pipes, kite-boarding, formula windsurfing, slalom windsurfing and speed sailing. It was a unique way to promote our sport- in conjunction with action and excitement of other 'board sports.' There were several thousand people on the beach and board walk just south of downtown Corpus Christie watching the different venues throughout the day.

Six sailors from San Francisco attended (Mike Z, Steve S , Mike P, Ivan, Seth, and myself) with 5 in the top 11 spots in the most competitive formula fleet-a good showing for our local SF Formula fleet as well as several other US Sailors taking the top spots! I would guess there was close to 40-50 sailors in the formula fleet with 7 international professionals attending. There was enough prize money to keep most of the pros happy and even went into the amateur fleet. We got 3 races in on Friday and 4 more on Saturday before the weather became too much on Sunday and the regatta was called.

The formula races were run in the late morning before the breeze picked up- even then the 10.0 was almost too much to handle in the choppy Corpus Bay. Steve S. proved sometimes you don't need to go big to win- making the most of his 9.0 slalom sail every race to finish 7th overall. The event was won by professional Jimmy Diaz followed by Gonzalo Costel-Hovel in 2nd, Devon Boulon in 3rd, Wilhelm Shurman in 4th, Phil McGain in 5th, Seth Besse in 6th, Steve Sylvester in 7th, Mike Zajicek in 8th, BRA 25 in 9th, Mike Percy in 10th and Steve Bodner in 11th.

In the mid afternoon on both days we had an hour break before switching to high wind slalom sailing. The wind was side-onshore so the marks could be set close to the shore with the finish line off the beach- making it exciting to watch! Not everyone had slalom equipment but enough was there on the beach so everyone who wanted to sail could. I borrowed a board from the a sponsor but after just 2 races- it snapped in half making it rather difficult to finish- even making a swim in - holding 2 board halves and a rig rather amusing! Phil McGain went onto win the slalom discipline after 2 days of racing with Jimmy in 2nd, Gonzalo in 3rd, Wilhelm in 4th, Seth in 5th, and Devon in 6th. There were 6 other locals competing rounding up the rest of the fleet.

In the early evening, the excitement was moved over the marina where a speed course was set. All that separated 4-6' gnarly chop with 20-25k in the outside bay and a smooth speed course inside was a 5' break-wall- making ideal conditions for a speed venue. You couldn't ask for anything more! The course was set on beam to broad reach with no distant limits except the extent of the marina. Arm mounted GPS units were provided by the organizer and each sailors' top 2 speeds were averaged for their score. You could take as many runs as you wanted- the only requirement was to show your speed at the beach and clear the GPS unit for your next run. Most guys were getting in the 33-38mph on their first runs on small slalom boards and 6.3-7.6 slalom sails. The top speed was set by Jimmy Diaz with 40.5 mph. I managed a top speed of 36mph with a few runs but was outpaced by the pros who were hitting 39+ mph on each run.

Overall, it was great event that showed windsurfing is still alive and healthy and when held in conjunction with several other disciplines can be a great spectator event as well. Further race reports and photos can be found on my web page at www.stevebodner.com and results at the event website at www.velocitygames.us. Some nice aerial photos of the event here.

Steve USA 4