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First Stop of the American Windsurfing Tour in Santa Cruz


#1

On May 5th, the first day of Goya Windsurfing Festival at Waddell Creek, everything was set for an epic day, besides the wind which was dramatically missing. Thankfully windsurfers have become versatile water enthusiasts, and AWT director Sam Bittner didn’t miss the occasion to organize a SUP competition to take advantage of the unusual glassy conditions.

With no set divisions, an open format put young pro’s like Bernd Roediger and legends like Josh Stone in brackets with women, kids, and amateurs alike, giving them an epic opportunity to ride with the pros! Competitors were able to express their surfing skills in incredibly glassy waist-high waves, while seals and pelicans cheered them on from the chili water.

The prodigal pro Bernd, a fait ses armes on the SUP World Tour at Sunset Beach and Abu Dhabi, was killing it. Though he wasn’t able to shine in the earlier contests of the tour, he has become one of the strongest SUP riders on Maui, and was holding nothing back as he easily made his way into the final.

Also shining through the ranks and working her way into the finals as the only female was SUP/Windsurfing machine Fiona Wylde. Talented in both racing and the waves with either a SUP or windsurf board under her feet, Fiona’s competitive skills have gone to another level recently, taking a win over Izzy Gomez, the current women’s SUP World Tour leader, in Mexico. So it was of little surprise to see her name in the final round amongst the guys.

Fiona smiling in the wave - (Si Crowther/AWT picture)

The final heat came down to the Stone father/son duo of Josh and Harley, Bernd, and Fiona. A soul competitor, being surrounded by under 18 year old’s didn’t’ phase Josh one bit, and he definitely did not get daddy cool. He played the full game with fast and smooth waves, but the classy and old school style just couldn’t beat Bernd’s critical sections and floaters that got him to 1st place. Harley Stone and Fiona Wylde complete the podium.

More information on the AWT website.


#2

Love how you guys made lemonade from lemons and had a SUP contest! Good spirit.


#3

Though the riders and waves were ready, the wind just refused to cooperate for the rest of the AWT contest at Waddell Creek. However, riders were far from falling into despair.

Another SUP contest was organized on Saturday and everyone had a blast competing in the glassy, relatively ‘warm’ nor cal conditions, where even a few riders event out in board shorts and bikinis, despite the 50 degree water temp! Bernd Roediger, Fiona Wylde, and Josh Stone confirmed their SUP level by returning again to the final, and this time it was Canadian sensation Tony Litke who took 2nd place behind Bernd.

Competitors were also able to demo the latest SUPs from Quatro and paddles from Black Project, all in all a great weekend despite the wind!

With the first event over, the anticipation is even greater for next weekend and the 2nd stop of the tour in Pistol River, OR.