After a full summer of downwinders, surf, and flat water riding in Cape Hatteras it was time to mix it up. There is always a feeling of anxiety when one travels back home, friends, family, …exes. That was all forgotten on this trip as I headed back to Michigan to compete in the King of the Great Lakes.
This year was the 9th annual King of the Great Lakes Kiteboarding Competition, but a first for me. KoGL draws all the Midwest riders as well as many pros to the event annually in Grand Haven, MI, USA.
I awoke groggy and tired the first day of the contest to rainy skies and off shore wind, not the best conditions to get one rushing out of bed. In route to the beach I noticed, as all kiters do, the wind shifting to side shore and the rain clouds break apart. You could feel my excitement rising with every mile we got closer. We kicked off with a riders meeting and everyone seemed stoked for the great conditions.
The KoGL was held at Pier Marquette Park, this allowed spectators and photographers to get up close and personal. All the competition riding occurred between the arms of the jetties, making for great flatwater conditions, well not quite Hatteras flat. Everyone looked stoked, got suited up the heats were off. I was riding the 2010 Hi-Fi comp 11m all day along with the new Kaos 139 with U2 boots. The setup was insane; the new cores on the boards, combined with the new Liquid Rails makes the board super lively. The reduction in weight alone makes the board ride like a dream, not to mention the flex!
I was feeling good about my riding and advanced all the way up to the finals with a nice mixed bag of tricks. The final showdown came against Damien LeRoy and he just managed to just edge me out. I really am glad I wasn’t one of the judges. The day ended a little chilled out with the crew of riders drinking hot chocolate and other beverages to warm up at Captain Jacks Restaurant on the beach.
The second day saw the first ever course race portion of the KoGL. Damien pretty much made us all look like fools with his amazing race board and racing skills. I decided to just session the nice flat water and enjoy the great conditions. At the end of the second day was the awards ceremony. When all was said and done Damien Leroy edged me out of the top spot so I was up on the podium taking 2nd. No giant red bull parties here, just a collective of overjoyed people.
The third day saw the entire group of participants wave riding on the outside of the jetties. Plenty of flat-water kickers to go around and everyone had a huge smile on their face. I can’t believe the great riding available to this persistent group of kiters. They work hard for their sessions and it shows, no one worries about the next biggest trick, no one has any attitude, people are ecstatic just to get on the water and ride with friends, and isn’t that what kiting is all about.