Baja’s Premier Kiteboarding Competition

Published on May 13th, 2014

All the best that Mexico has to offer comes together in Los Barriles in Southern Baja. About halfway between Cabo San Lucas and the capital in La Paz, Los Barriles enjoys a combination of superlative weather, natural beauty, easy pace, and the remarkable Sea of Cortez.

Los Barriles is also home to one of the go-to kiteboarding competition, Lord of the Wind, with top world kiters like Bryan Lake, Adam Koch, and Johnny Heineken from San Francisco as regular attendees. Wylie Nisbet, event PRO, explains what makes this event click…

Here in Los Barriles, Southern Baja, we have been running kiting events for about fifteen years. Our current event is called Lord of the Wind, a four day Pro Am event that’s sponsored by our local Rotary Club. Currently the purse is about $11,000 and going up.

We usually try and set our courses three to four days prior to the start of the event. This gives us time to tweak the courses and lets everyone have a little practice time. Because of the local conditions, we cannot keep boats in the water during the event. Our outside marks, 200 yards off the beach, are set in 300’ of water.

We hold a mandatory skippers meeting the night before the racing starts. At this meeting, we go over the event and how it is going to be run. For newbie’s to the event, we have a separate meeting to make sure they understand the courses and the fast sequence of starts.

Day 1: We run an eight mark Slalom and usually get off about 36 heats… about one start every 6-7 minutes. The starters have a heat board that shows the current heat being run. We use a four minute start sequence. This pretty much uses up our daily wind window. Because of the local, side shore conditions, all starts are run from the beach and the finishes are recorded from the beach by the Corona Cougars… our finish ladies.

Day 2: We run the Course Racing, usually running about fifteen starts. Next winter this will go up to about twenty starts, to include foiling. That means shorter courses to get this done within our wind window of about 4 to 4.5 hours. Our conditions are side shore so this makes for great arena sailing.

Day 3 and 4: If you have made it through the last two nights of parties, then the weekend brings the finals of the Slalom and Course racing. Starting on Saturday morning, we will run the finals of the Slalom. Then at 1300 we go into Freestyle for the Pro’s. We get a large local crowd for this event and some local TV coverage. On Sunday morning, we finish the Course Racing finals and again at 1300 we go into Big Air. This event is open to all comers. This finishes up our event, again with a lot of beach spectators.

It takes over 100 volunteers to pull this event off, including 36 people that run the racing. The proceeds from the event sponsor the Technology Center for the local school kids.

Click here for daily highlight videos from the 2014 edition.

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