Aug 20, 2014
Author: words Jessica Winkler / photos by Jim Hegan
I’m a Canadian who had never kited in Canada until I came home for a visit and stumbled upon the Kite Clash Canadian Nationals being held in Squamish, BC this year. I showed up to a place they call ‘The Spit’ which is run by the Squamish Windsports Society.
They provide rescue service and facilities such as washrooms, compressors and sand bags to kiters for a day or annual fee. It’s a very well run organization and I was thoroughly impressed when I arrived. A very enthusiastic and friendly guy by the name of Thor Kaze greeted me as I walked onto the spit and asked me if I was there to compete. I politely accepted and filled out the necessary forms. Whilst waiting for the heats to start I got to know the other girls competing Katie Bowcutt from the DR, Ivet Krskova a Czech but currently living in Squamish, Corrie Neufeld from Saskatchewan, Marie Lacroix Samson from Quebec and Genevieve Leonard from Montreal. I also saw a few old friends Sam Medysky, Chris Bobryk and Brandon Shied.
The first competition of the day was the Junior Freestyle. Winds were a bit low still but perfect for riders such as 15 year old Cabrinha rider Chase Hasch who came all the way from the Dominic Republic and 14 year old Quebec native Eric Blanchard. It was an exciting start to the day as these kids have amazing skills and energy, entertaining the crowd. Slingshot rider Lucas Arsenault killed it with an awesome Heart Attack (S3) to take the Canadian Junior title and Hasch’s Double S to Blind secured him a overall win. Jason Blachard fought hard, nailed a NIS5 and won himself the 3rd place overall, 2nd place Canadian champ title.
Next up was ‘Sickest Trick’. Competitors had two tries to compete their best trick which was scored out of 10. First up were the men, with riders such as last years big air winner Daniel Koenig, Liquid Force rider Nico Suriel and the heavy hitting pros Shied, Bobryk and Medysky it was a battle. In the end Bobryk took the win and Medysky fought for 2nd place. Newly crowned Canadian Junior Champion Lucas Arsenault nailed a KGB for a 3rd place win.
Last up was the ladies Sickest Trick competition. The wind was now pumping and it was the lowest tide of the day so conditions were perfect. I was a little nervous to compete in a place I’ve never been and was totally jet lagged as I’d just flown in from Tarifa but excited to see so many awesome female riders. Local rider Ivet Krskova nailed a huge S Bend stealing the win over my Unhooked Kite Loop. F-one rider Katie Bowcutt and DR resident landed a Back to Revert and found herself on the podium with a 3rd place win. It was an awesome way for me to come back to Canada and I could not wait to ride more in this amazing flat water spot.
Day two - Freestyle Championships
The day started out with lighter winds forcing most riders to begin the preliminary heats on 12m kites but change to 9’s and 10’s as the day wore on. Heats were separated into two categories, Canadians and foreigners until the finals where they competed against each other. Best rider Chris Bobryk (USA) wowed the crowd with his powerful yet smooth style and took the win with a Grabbed KGB5. Sam Medynsky claimed his title as Canadian Champion by sticking a Nose Front Blind Mobe and winning over DR resident Nico Suriel and his KGB5. After watching these men throw down all day I was itching to get out there for my heat. The wind had really picked up by this point and I was very overpowered on the 8m RPM Aerial Kiteboarding so graciously lent me. The ladies heat was intense seeing Marie Lacroix Samson and Corrie Neufeld fresh from The Bridge of the Gods comp going big and local rider Ivet Krskova nailing some huge S Bends. I ended up with the Canadian Freestyle Championship title and a 2nd overall win which I could not be more excited about. Krskova took the overall win which was much deserved with her technical style. Newly sponsored Airush rider Genevieve Leonard showed she is here to stay with a 3rd place overall finish and a 2nd place Canadian champ title.
One of the most motivating competitions of the day was the men’s over 35 Masters. These men may be called “masters” but their big air, solid style and energy showed us they could compete with the young guys, no problem. Mark Koenig wowed us with the highest Dangle Pass I’d ever seen in my life taking the overall win. Putting up a good fight was 2014 Master Course Racing Champion Adam Vance who managed a 3rd place finish leaving Aussie native Andrew Ward with the 2nd.
Sunday’s Big Air comp drew large crowds to the Spit as event organiser Thor Kase did a great job promoting the competition on local radio stations and news papers. He decided to change it up a bit and let us ladies go first. I was thankful because after sleeping in my truck all weekend and enjoying the after party the previous night we were all a little tired. Neufeld owned the air with her powerful yet playful style. She was a real crowd pleaser cleaning up with the win. Marie finally got herself up on the podium and I managed to stay in the game with a 3rd place finish. We had such a great event and the big air comp was an awesome way to end!
Last but not least was the men’s Big Air competition. It was exciting to watch as they lit up the sky with massive hang time and playful tricks. The Koenig family, no strangers to putting on a show had the crowd screaming with excitement. Jason and his brother Stefan beat out their high flying dad Mark Koenig in the semi finals. In the final heat Jason Blanchard managed to squeeze in 3rd place win making the Big Air podium a young mans game.
Kite Clash put on one awesome event and all of us competitors are stoked to come back next year. Squamish is a beautiful flat water spot surrounded by rocky mountains and wildlife. I highly recommend making the trip out here, you will not be disappointed!