FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS KITEBOARDING RACE KICKOFF PARTY!!!
Bahamas Crossing Website
Neil, John and all the rest of the volunteers working to make this event a success pulled together the kickoff party last night at The Treasure Trove Bar in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA.
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There was a great turnout of virtually all 16 teams. Our fleet should consist of 18 boats for a Grand Prix style beach launch at 9 am, possibly this Friday. The support boats will be aligned offshore in their own Grand Prix configuration as well. Several sponsors were present including Fox Sports Espanol and Telemundo shooting video along with Jeff of Kiteflix. Jeff told me there will be multiple kiteflix videographers among the fleet and two helmet cams planted on riders noggins for some "you are there" perspective. A representative of the Bahamian Bureau of Tourism was also present, a major event sponsor.
Bimini is on quite a few minds right now, excitement is building.
Neil gave a nice briefing to riders, captains and crew regarding the race procedures, contingencies and related info.
Here is John, the man behind the scenes working hard to make this crossing a reality with Neil.
We'll be out of sight of land for a good portion of the crossing. Navigation is a key part of pulling things together for a successful run.
A closer look at the chart with likely wind directions drawn in as well an "as the crow flys" heading directly to Bimini.
Kent and Todd with Cabrinha hang out with Kevin, all the way in from Hawaii to ride in the crossing. Kent was one of the three riders to make it all the way to Cuba ala kite. Kevin was there too shooting video. He has some of the only surviving video of the historic crossing. You can see it in his "Kite TV" VHS production.
Neil made the rounds interviewing some of the teams with Jeff of Kiteflix capturing the video. Neil of course was one of the other riders to make the trip with a kite over 88 miles to Cuba. Matt and Tom talk about crossing prospects.
Hey, this race is official. We even have a tee shirt!
It isn't all laughs and giggles though. Neil and John have taken pains to help assure the riders know what they are getting themselves into. That is potentially a fairly intense ride. Checkout the descriptive language in the above form.
The team from Ft. Pierce including GK and Sean is stoked. They're already hydrating, don't wanna run low on fluids in the middle of the Straits! Hey, does booze count for hydration?
Here is our team, including my partner Stacey on the right, able Capt. Richard to her left, followed by kiter Billy Blackman our capable mate further to the left and Richard's wife, a former GS Olympian Skier! Oh, since I was shooting the picture, I "Photoshopped" myself in, hard to tell, huh?! Just gearing up for the crossing like everyone else.
Toby of kiteforum fame is in all the way from Germany to share in the experience and helpout on the Committee boat. To Neil's right is Karen of Kite Fever and Ozone Travel. Karen will be keeping track of the position and status of the 18 boats in the fleet via VHF and reported GPS fixes.
Shannon Best also dropped by. Lots of folks turned out for the kickoff party.
Helping out to bring this event off and having fun.
Here is one of the ladies at a famous Automatic Slim KB Parties being assisted by Neil himself to, uh ... well he's helping, I think. Lots more intriguing past Slims party photos at HERE and HERE
That's Fabrice on the far right, in all the way from France for the crossing. He was the third guy to make the trip to Cuba. Being a professional meteorologist and ocean engineer he had dialed in his kite and board selection better than the rest of the riders for the actual conditions. HINT: see what Fabrice is riding, a box of Krispy Kreme donuts for insider information. Just kidding!
Kristi gets into motion with some local wildlife.
Standing on Kings Highway in Alicetown, Bimini looking back towards Florida across the Finish.
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More interesting times to come on the way to Bimini. Good Crossing to Everyone.
More about the race at: HERE and HERE