An El Norte arrived in the Bay of La Ventana and brought howling winds and substantial swell for the final day, day 5 of the 2018 La Ventana Classic. Kite and Windsurf Competitors and Sportsmen were up at sunrise for an early start to ‘The Crossing’. Loading up the pangas with a strategic choice of two kites and one board, it was a rough boat ride across to Cerralvo Island. Once on the island, kites were up and the riders were off, Mac Skaggs made it to the Hot Springs first in the Men’s Competitor division followed by Luis Diego Geraldo and Devon Carrol. For the Women’s Competitor division Justi Vonada arrived at the Hot Springs first followed by Collen Carroll and Marie Leclerc. For the Sportsmen’s Men’s Crossing, Dave Beddows finished first followed by Marcus Garafalo and then Norm Beddows and for the Women’s Sportsmen’s division, Shannon Gowan crossed the finish line first followed by Laura Flath and then Megan Monroy.
SUP racers also had an early morning start as they loaded up their boards into the vans and headed up north to the private resort of Las Cruces to begin their 8 mile downwinder. The strong winds created rough seas and a choppy windswell but the SUP competitors took on the challenge. Determined to finish the strenuous paddle, Ella Johnson was the only woman to complete the course, but it Macrae Wylde, who’s been a first-place finisher in most of the SUP races this week, who crossed the finish line at the Hot Springs first followed by Jon Walsh and then Mr. Pipeline himself, Gerry Lopez.
At 10:00am, the Mountain Bike 10k cross country event got underway. The circuit was a combination of six world class trails that started and finished at the Hot Springs Beach. With a mass start by class, Francisco Geraldo finished first followed by Richard Spenard and then J Kraemer in the Men’s division. Julie Mah finished first for the women followed by Katy Jablonski and Fernanda Rabana. As for the kids, in the under 12 category, Francisco Rodriguez finished first followed by Hunter McCarthy, and Gabriel Geraldo took first, Guillermo Geraldo took second and Hernan Cosio finished third in the 12-16 category.
Back on the water, the Criss Cross for foils and windsurfers was just finishing. Athletes raced from Hot Springs Beach to the island and back with John Von Tesmar on foil finishing the Criss Cross first, followed by Will Cyr and then Amil Kabil. For the windsurfers, it was Wyatt Miller who finished first with Boris Vujasinovic in second and Tyson Poor in third.
Freestyle began after the crossing and the heats were stacked. Three heats would send their top finisher to compete in the finals against Reed Brady, who had already claimed his place in the finals in a previous round days prior. The winds were pumping and all of the riders were rearing for the Ozone Big Air Award. Luis Diego Geraldo sent some massive airs and Miguel’s technical 313 advanced the two local competitors to finals. Layne Mullard threw a lofty frontroll kiteloop to joined them in the finals.
Two heats full of North America’s top strapless freestyle riders made up the strapless division. In heat 1, Evan Netsch showed off his diversity of tricks by starting off with a frontroll, landing a toeside 180 on the inside, boosting a big backroll and landing a variety of big strapless airs. Evan advanced to finals along with Fred Hope, who in that same heat went big and landed a big floaty frontroll and some lofty airs. In the beginning of heat 2, Reider Decker and Matt Elsasser, who both advanced to finals, looked as if they were trying to go trick for trick. They both landed frontrolls, but it was Reider Decker who stole the show with a 180 shuvit olay, frontroll 360 shuvit and then finished off with an incredibly technical double frontroll.
Two Sportsmen freestyle semifinal heats put Jeff Raney, Steve Condon, Marcus Garofalo and Scott Barnes into the finals but it was Marcus who landed a backroll transition on the inside to a huge backroll off a kicker on the way out that made the crowd go wild.
Unfortunately, the wind began to drop for both the Strapless Freestyle and Freestyle finals. Kiters put up larger sizes but still struggled to stay upwind. In the Strapless Freestyle division, Reider Decker, on a smaller kite than most of his competitors, landed a frontroll shuvit and a backroll on his way out before stomping a shuvit at the buzzer, but it was Evan Netsch who upped the risk factor, attempting and landing a few strapless handlepasses as well as a boosty backroll off the lip of a wave and a 180 shuvit on the inside.
The Women’s Freestyle Finals horn sounded the start of the heat but due to the light winds, the women were not able to stay upwind and would keep their results from Thursday’s competition.
Finally, Luis, Reed, Lane and Miguel faced off in the Men’s Freestyle Final all boosting surprisingly big airs for the small amount of wind that was left on the water. The level of competition was high. Reed Brady caught some gusts, allowing him some stylish big airs. He also landed a front roll, S-bend to blind as well as a slim chance at the buzzer while Luis stomped a backmobe and Miguel landed a 313 as well as a monster blind judge.
From sunrise to sunset, competitors took advantage of every part of the day. Towards the end, spectators gathered at the event site for the final raffle extravaganza before everyone headed over to Dalaney’s for the live charity auction, awards ceremony and after party.
View the day 5 event write-up, photo gallery and results here: https://www.thekiteboarder.com/2018/01/sunup-sundown-day-5-2018-la-ventana-classic/