The 2010 Animal Windfest delivered the customary crowds of people and sunny skies but also saw a return to the scene of Steve Stubbs 3rd overall in the 2009 season and BKSA chief instructor Andy Gratwick but unlike many of the previous years the wind gods played the game.
15 racers all gathered on the beach on Saturday morning in front of the massive crowds getting ready to battle it out on the water, with the wind between 12 & 14 knots all the riders hit the water at 11 for the first race which was a triangle course set just off Sandbanks beach which made it really easy to follow the racing for the spectators.
All was looking good until 30 seconds before the start where the wind just disappeared, only 3 riders made it off on time Denzil Williams, Steph & Olly Bridge a short while after Lee ‘Pasty’ Harvey was next to make it over the start line, eventually the wind filled back in and most of the riders who kept their kites in the sky were underway. Close battles were fought on the course and places changing all the time with shifting winds, Steph started off with what would become the theme of the day by winning the first race and all 3 races before lunch, Callum Edge counted lots of frustrating 2nd’s while Denzil, Lee and Olly all exchanged places during the mornings races for 3rd, 4th & 5th.
Lunch was very kindly provided in the Windfest marquee with competitors from all the events on the beach we had Volley Ballers, Wake Boarders, Skaters, Frisbee teams and Paddle boarders, a great lunch great and atmosphere thanks to our friends at Animal for that.
The afternoons racing got underway in solid 15knt winds with all the racers having no problems keeping the kites up, the only notable incident was in race 4 when Denzil and Jason McCafery clashed on the start and wrapped their kites into a nice mess (no one knows who was to blame), eventually after a re-start the race got underway and it was business as usual with Steph setting the pace closely followed by Callum with Lee, Denzil & Olly again sharing 3rd 4th & 5th.
Race 7 the last of the day saw a change surely Steph must have fallen at some point but the win went to Callum with Pasty coming in 2nd and Steph in a very unlike her 3rd position. A great days racing enjoyed by all and now for the famous Windfest Party which was brilliant, hundreds of people in Super Hero fancy dress was a sight to behold, too many beers later and in anticipation of Sundays racing the party finished off around 2am!!
Sunday dawned with brilliant sunshine and 15knts off-shore winds, event leader Steph Bridge was chosen as the guinea pig to test the wind at 11.15 and it looked perfect for racing with fast flat water and a solid breeze. All the riders raced to join Steph and line up for the start for the first of 4 races that were planed.
On the water it was clear that the off-shore winds were quite gusty so the racing was going to be tactical, straight off the start Steph again lead the way with Denzil, Olly & Callum in close pursuit. Sensing a change in the wind Callum tacked early and headed off in the opposite direction which paid off and he lead the way to the finish beating Steph into 2nd by quite some margin will Lee coming in 3rd. This proved to be the only race of the day as the wind decided to switch off completely so it was back to the beach to enjoy the rest of the show and the sunshine.
Thanks to Richard & Chris in the boat, Vortex Jetskis, all the riders who made it happen; Animal & the Windfest Team see you all next year.
1st Steph Bridge
2nd Callum Edge
3rd Lee ‘Pasty’ Harvey