West Australians stole the show at today’s 19km Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton event, Australia’s longest kitesurfing race, cheered in by a 700-strong crowd.
In light wind conditions at around 16kn and choppy seas, 100 kitesurfers took off from Rottnest Island, crossing Gage Roads to Leighton Beach Fremantle. Dale Stanton was the victor with a time of 28 minutes 45 seconds. There was controversy at the start with ten competitors false starting, leaving the race wide open.
30-year-old Stanton from Palmyra said it was a tough race, made more interesting by the tricky light wind start and an ankle injury earlier in the year.
“A bunch of guys started when the yellow flag went down but they were supposed to start on the green,” Stanton said.
“Half way through I was exhausted and didn’t think I could hang in, I stacked it half way through but I bounced straight back up and went with the speed of the board.”
In second place was Alex Genz from Shenton Park in WA and in third was Duncraig’s Marty Farrow who also placed third at last year’s race.
Event Director Tim Turner said it was an awesome race.
“It was a fantastic day with solid 16kn the whole way. The race was made more interesting with the false starts and some competitors going up a minute early, but the rules are simple and we used world-standard rules.
“100 competitors is the perfect number for the race and we’ll do the same next year and have the potential for national teams. Record holder and last year’s winner Alex Caizergues plans on coming back in 2012 to defend his title.
Fastest woman across the line was Keira Macfarlane from Scarborough in a time of 34 minutes 12 seconds.
“It felt slower than last year with less wind and sloppy conditions. I used a surfboard this year instead of a twintip, which made it harder than last years. I ran out of power a bit in the middle of the race but I new I just had to hold my ground,” Macfarlane said.
Competitors were vying for more than $4000 in prizemoney and a crowd of approximately 700 gathered at the beach to cheer them in.