After a couple of hours on the water, I retired before the rain came through and enjoyed the BBQ and sank a few beers with the other competitors.
The forecast for Saturday was decent yet cross-offshore and gusty, and the plan was to try and get all the competitions completed that day. They opted to run the juniors and girls first, before getting onto us heavyweights, leaving plenty of time to get out on the water and get a feel for the conditions.
After a couple of hours of competition it came around to our first heat; I was up against Steve Mews, Marcus Hawkins and Kevin Matthey. All went well initially landed a high grabbed frontroll followed by a railey to blind in the tricky conditions; however I somehow managed to activate my safety release after passing the bar - sending the kite tumbling out of the air. Fortunately, it came to ground pretty quickly, and I managed to grab the bar, reconnect the chicken loop, and got some assistance to get the kite back into the air. The lines were all twisted up but the kite was flying, and I had no time to fix it, so headed straight back out onto the water, with sheer determination to make up for my mistake. After getting back upwind I strung a load of moves together in a frantic attempt to get some points; I didn't even hear the buzzer signalling the end of the heat - I was probably still out trying to get in as many moves as possible.
I was really pleased to see that despite the difficulties, I'd managed to score a win and a place in the final - the others must have clearly been struggling with the far from perfect conditions (albeit with their kite attached!).
This left me with plenty of time to watch the other heats and prepare for the final against Pete Whiteley, Kevin Matthey and Steve Mews. The final started off well, landed an early railey to blind after a previous attempt which found me flying across the water in a nasty gust. I opted to play it safe for the rest of the heat to rack up as many points as possible in the difficult conditions. When the buzzer blew to signal the end I had a good feeling that I'd done enough to secure the win, and all that was left was to wait for the evening event to get the results. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the pro's showing us all how it's done - they were clearly struggling too but Ali Barrett was pulling off some amazing high handlepasses and powered low moves, but perhaps not as consistently as the North boys, who were ripping also.
We all headed down to the May Quay public house for a few ales and to talk about the days events. After food had been served, Mark Ward announced the Seniors' results in reverse order - Steve Mews 4th, Kev Matthey 3rd, myself in second and the old master Pete Whiteley taking top spot again! After loads of banter with the guys, I found out later that the judges decision was a split one, and had just not done quite enough to seal the win - my conservative approach had probably cost me.
Sunday was a very relaxed affair, and we awoke to bright sunshine, cal and warm temperatures. We all enjoyed the sun and generally passed the time on Dave's inflatable SUP's and helping Flindal with his kite-tow attempts in the light winds. At 1pm they decided to run the prizegiving and Whiteley did his best to shower myself & Kev with bubbly, but it was the King of Watersports award that came as the biggest surprise, as they awarded it to me for my never-say-die lightwind attitude - I was over the moon, as it was totally out of the blue. I was awarded a brand new Sector9 longboard which will keep me busy whenevr the winds not blowing - epic!