2017  Snowkite Race Ontario Championship 

On February 18,2017  a group of 32 Ontario  kitesurfers went to challenge their skills in snowkiting race .Ontario winter weather has been mixed with +10C-15C air temperatures and snow/ rain all season. Finally we traced  snowfall in the area that would stay for couple of days before the next warm up . This was an unpredictable forecast day where mother nature could take it anywhere and she did. Early morning team of CKSS showed up at the pre-planed location on lake Simcoe near Beaverton for a setup. With sun rising up there was a shift on the forecast update. Riders began to show up and kites were getting pumped. We all believed “The wind is coming” .

A few riders have set up their kites on the snow and some tried launching their kites, but with little success but majority was at the parking lot chatting about the wind, which was about 5 or 6 knots at 10 am. Clearly not enough for a race, but there was hope and weather was just wonderful – sun and light frost, perfect for kiting if little more wind. At 11 am slight breeze has arrived and small branches of trees started moving lightly . By 11:30 it was enough wind to start the race.The atmosphere was filling up with Adrenalin. Riders and support team could feel it .

This was not just a race where you have perfect wind condition. You must be alert and watch for shadows and wind drops as there is no turn back or a shortcut. First 20kms went smooth but the challenge has been waiting for riders in just around the corner. As the sun rise up it created a wind domm and a group of snow kiters that stayed closest to the island got into no wind zone. As a kitesurfer you have to become a pro wind finder and analyze the area immediately, plan your next step  . Few kiteboarders wrapped lines and began to walk and some was ruining ” it is a Race” out of wind shadow. Couple of guys said they walked few kms chasing the wind tunnel.
The first 10 places were taken by:

# 1 Matt Turgeon

#2 Oleg Nikiporets

#3 Bruce March

4.Shaun Hermiston

5. Joel Kelly

6. Kent Ackerman

7. Jeff Fitzgeraid

8. Arthur Konic

9. Ivan Zarezin

10. Mark Shalovello

A big thanks to our event sponsor SilentSport – Toronto

 

1 comment

When I arrived, very excited, there were already about 20 kiters at the spot. Some have set up their kites on the snow, but majority was still at the parking lot chatting about the wind, which was about 5 or 6 knots at 10 am. Clearly not enough for a race, but there was hope and weather was just wonderful – sun and light frost, perfect for kiting if only little more wind. I saw some tried launching their kites, but with little success.
After about one hour I started feeling a light breeze, you could see that small branches of trees started moving lightly and by 11:30; it was barely enough wind to start the race.
I changed my gear and set up my kite, which took me about 20 minutes, and launched my kite against a fresh breeze; kite went up nicely and I went around checking the wind. I went several times back and force and tried jumping and felt lifted nicely. I liked the feeling and went a bit aside of the crowd that grew slowly with more new kites in the air. I kept jumping waiting for everyone to get ready for a start. Suddenly, without hearing the honk I saw everyone rushed forward; the race has started and I was left behind.
Instantly, I felt my blood was pumped up with adrenaline, and I put my kite forward and pushed on accelerator. I about ten minutes I started to level up with other racers and I noticed that I was closer to the island, as I edged a lot, trying to maintain the course. Soon, I felt my legs started feeling the heat. I tried turning my kite and go towards the island in order to relief pressure on my right leg, and realized it was not the best idea as I quickly lost my advantage. I turned my kite back and started catching up with other riders. I saw that one rider went far away and I tried to match his trajectory, but realized that I had hard time to catch up. Yet, my strategy worked well and I saw that other kiters went far downwind and I could see that I had a good advantage towards the main group. I pointed towards a group of fishing huts on the horizon and pressed again on my accelerator aiming getting to the point before I could turn kite more towards the island. I could hear only wind whispering in my ears and snow cracking under my skies. What a beautiful day and I thought that my dog must be having fun on the snow at the starting point. I reached the huts in about 20minutes, feeling my right leg real aching, tucked to the right and instantly felt huge of relief on my right leg. I tried to edge with two legs simultaneously, by leaning more towards my back and it did work nicely. It is more difficult on snow than on water, but it did work well for some time. Soon, I saw island passing-by on my right. One kiter was very close behind me, and I accelerated more, trying to increase the distance between us. When I reached right corner of the island I felt wind went down substantially. I felt a bit worried and started to aim more away from the island hoping for more wind. I got lucky and my strategy worked well, and I could move forward, albeit much slower. I looked around and I saw several kites on the ground, exactly at the spot where I felt the wind went down. What a tragedy – typical wind shadow because of doming effect, nice sunny weather payed a trick and people got into its trap.
I looped my kite and worked sideways moving slowly out of island area.
Soon, I saw a finish line and I set the direction to go, moving slowly but steadily towards the finish. Not much excitement anymore, as most of kiters stuck for a “picnic” at the corner of the island with no wind left under their kites.

Five minutes later I crossed the finish line and my dog rushed towards me happy to see me fine.

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