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-   -   2012 - Wind, Water & New Gear In Paradise! (http://www.fksa.org/showthread.php?t=10764)

RickI 07-11-2011 08:50 AM

2012 - Wind, Water & New Gear In Paradise!
 
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Kiting by Alligator Lighthouse 4 1/3 miles off Islamorada


I was invited to participate in and to photograph this informative and fun meeting in the Keys in early June 2011. Dealers from all over Central and South America and the Caribbean were in attendance to learn about new gear for 2012 and to place orders. Some of the new gear has already been highlighted in press releases while others notably the kite systems have not. For that reason, clear view of these new kites has been omitted from this article. Sorry for this but the wait should be not only be short but also worth it. The gear should formally hit the street in early August 2011. So, I will focus more on the setting, general goings on and abundant stoke in this piece. Great wind, water conditions, new gear, intriguing doings on shore and tons of watermen to share the experience with!


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The meeting opened on Friday with a sunset dinner reception at Morada Bay Beach Cafe in Islamorada. This place has been a personal Middle Keys sunset favorite for many years. Pete Cabrinha was in attendance along with other key staff from around the world representing the manufacturers and distributers.


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Pete Cabrinha


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Islamorada is about halfway between Miami and Key West. It is well known as a kiting and watersports destination.


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As is usually the case here, sunset didn't disappoint delivering a marvelous array of color to accompanying good company, food and drinks. That is Morada Bay on the left, a projection TV setup for the Heat Playoffs and Pierre's off to the right.
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The launch at the Moorings



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Morada Bay is the marvelous creation of waterman Hubert Baudoin along with Pierre's and the The Moorings Village and Spa close by on the island. Much of the meeting was conducted on and off the singular grounds of The Moorings, a low key but exceptionally landscaped seaside island resort. Hubert is well known in windsurfing, surfing and alpine sports, perhaps kiting some day too? He sponsored the Islmorada Windsurfing ProAm for many years. I understand this event may be brought back this fall with the addition of kiting. We can certainly hope so. I was at the last ProAm in 2001, it was a exciting event in an outstanding setting at the Moorings.
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Hubert and Kent Marinkovic, President of Pryde Group Americas hang out at the Moorings as things get underway. By the way, I once saw Kent doing backflips through a windsurfing boom in the 1998 ProAm, a useful kiting skill, believe it!


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Damien Leroy and Matt Collins riding for a product shoot off the Mooring focusing on Cabrinha racing gear for 2012.


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The meeting moved between The Moorings, the Indigo Hotel, Morada Bay and The Islander (not shown to the north).



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Hubert and Kent share a few words kicking off the meeting.


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Kiting out in Hawks Channel near Alligator lighthouse with Brent from Tobago



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Todd Gréaux, Cabrinha Division Manager sets things up


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Damo and Matt have at it. Matt is on the new Transport directional raceboard. I was impressed with its performance need to get one once they are available.


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Pete boosts one


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The dock at the Moorings, scene of myriad shoots


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Checking out riding videos from down in the Caribbean. Lot of kiting and windsurfing talent here going way back.


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Finally kiting on skies after wondering about it all these years, thanks Damo!


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Paula enjoying the setting.



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We were put up in a new development, Indigo Bay Hotel just down the street. Well appointed, spacious with great landscaping on Florida Bay, what else could you ask for?


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Nice place to spend a long weekend in the Keys at!


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The next morning we head over to The Moorings to view the product presentations. The beach along this 18 acre property makes you feel like you are in French Polynesia. Of course nice winds around 20 kt. winds throughout the meeting helped too! The view northward along the shore.


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Squigglies all around, amazing how well they work in real life though!


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The view to the south.


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Meeting staff confer in front of a "modest" cottage at the Moorings, keeping the event running smoothly. Actually, the expansive residence is amazing, decorated with brightwork panelling and island motif.



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An amazing talent at windsurfing, kiting too up from Los Rochas



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The beach
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We met for product presentations in Hubert's former bomb/current hurricane shelter aka 50 seat movie theater and rec area.


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The lower story including two rooms devoted to front covers shot at the Moorings, dozens of them! I understand major global publications were doing shoots here before and after our meeting.



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A GoPro helmet cam shot, mighty fine kiting in these parts



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In the theater where Peter Davies with the Pryde Group in all the way from Hong Kong sets up the video connection with the home office.


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Gleidy, Kent and Leslye with Pryde Group Americas. Gleidy is due particular thanks for working effectively to make the event such a success.



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We even heard from Neil Pryde, late on a Sunday night his time, am our time, from Hong Kong via Skype. Neil shared his insights on products and business in these interesting dynamic times underway. His enterprises grossed $100 Million dollars last year worldwide, so he is a good person to listen closely to.



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Neil Pryde has been at it for 40 years and even put together a book recently about the ride titled "Will to Win". The volume is richly illustrated with numerous stimulating images and stories from the world of watersports, manufacturing and more.



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So that is a first look at the meeting and goings on, we'll be back soon. Stay tuned ...



BE SURE to checkout the followup article with tons of images from this marvelous event in the Keys at http://www.fksa.org/showthread.php?t=10782



.

RickI 06-01-2012 09:41 PM

Last year's dealer meeting was an amazing experience! Here is a look back ...


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