Monday, July 6, 2015

Kitesurfing Festival Rodrigues June 2015

Such a colorful sport!  Banners around town announced the Rodrigues International Kitesurfing Festival for June 24-28.  They had races and freestyle events planned, so we decided to go watch the freestyle finals on Sunday afternoon.  We caught the bus to Mourouk on the SE corner, a destination well known to us as the start of many of our walks.  A fancy hotel, the Ebony, was at the end of the bus line there and was hosting the kite event.  We took our lunches and drink in our backpack and headed off for the day.
Kites were standing everywhere, waiting to be used.

We reached the beach starting area just as the final race event took off.  The whole group started at once and blew off to the southwest towards an island in the reef-fringed lagoon on this side of the island.
The local fishing boats were anchored just outside of the start/finish line.  One fisherman leans on his boat to watch the start.
Some of our group as we arrive and try to determine where we might want to base ourselves to watch the festivities.
Others had ridden out with the Port Captain, here in the plaid shorts.  The three kids off of Evita vied for the attention of the poodle, Charlie off of Papillion.
The local fish traps still mixed in with the dites on the beach.  And shorts down around the hips looked like a local fashion here, too.  These bright orange shorts belonged to one of the better kitesurfers we watched.
I love the colors of all the kites splashed across the sand and grass here.
A beautiful blue sky on the white sand.  But the clouds in the distance made their appearance later.
Lee and Sean trying to see if Sean's kite works.  Lee has a board, but no kite; Sean has a kite, but no board.  Unfortunately, the cockroaches on Sean's boat had eaten the inside of the valves and the kite's edge wouldn't hold the air required for it to work.  So he packed it back into his bag and carted it back to his boat later.
The center of operations for the kiteboarding action.
Alfred, Tom, Barbara, Helmut, Liz and Tim having coffee and Oreos at a table next to the beach, while Rosemary and Kerstin await their orders at the bar.
Just taking my kite for a walk along the beach......
Even Batman made an appearance here.
Some odd shapes of fish traps stacked up against the tree on the beach.
The kites look like pretty little pup tents on the beach.
Along with the kiteboarding race and freestyle events, there was a Miss Kiteboarding Rodrigues contest.  We think this raven-haired beauty walking away from the camera was pretty much the winner.  She was fun to watch.
Jason practicing his style and techniques off the edge of the restaurant.
This lady was pumping up her kite edge.  She was the only one we saw wearing a helmet.
Charlie sprawled out on the step to the restaurant.
The briefing for the contestants.  The blond with no top on in the center of the shot was another one we enjoyed watching.  I think he was from South Africa and he spoke English.  We think the curly-headed guy with his back to us may have been the actual winner.
Chris and Jason on the edge of the restaurant.  We watched the freestyle event from here.
More color on the sand.  The contest was put on hold when the wind got too light for the contestants to do their jumps and turns.  They stalled and waited for the front to arrive and bring the wind.
More shots of the race start.
So many colors in the sky.
Locals made up the majority of the kiteboarders.  This one had a huge grin on his face as he zoomed into the shallow water to do a jump for the cameras.
Lots of smiles as these guys skimmed into the very shallow water near shore.  Cameras were set up in and near the water to try to capture some of their moves.
This lady had some pretty impressive jumps and turns.  She let her hair down just as she took off. Guess it helps to look good wet!
A whole family here had colored hair.  The guys had blue and green hair on top and the lady had magenta ends in her hair.
We think this woman won the Miss Kiteboard Rodrigues.  It's nice to be in a country where the women can smile and dress for the activities and weather, rather than be all covered up and not having any fun.
The kites resting on their air-filled edges in the sand.
Another cool character moving his kite around.
The South African making a jump before the events.  You can see the whitecaps on the water, meaning there was plenty of wind at this time.  But it died and they had to wait for a front to arrive to get enough wind to continue the freestyle event later in the afternoon.
Back at the wharf, you can see YOLO on the left.  The rainbow ends on Tim and Liz's home up on the top of the hill.
Their home is a long ways up a very steep road.
A BBQ with sausages and chicken at the kiteboarding contest.
Some locals thought the wind made it really cold and wandered around with winter parkas on!
The wet look of the lady champ, we think.  A very pretty lady who was exciting to watch.
The kite shack on the beach
Woven hats are popular here and many of the ladies make woven bags, hats and other things for sale as souvenirs.
The locals used the event as a reason to bring the family to the beach and have a good time.
The freestyle event ended in a free-for-all on the water as they realized the frontal winds would be short-lived and they wouldn't have enough time to go through the 3-man heats before the day and the wind ended.  So the entire group vied for space in the judges viewing area.  The higher they jumped, the farther downwind they were blown and they couldn't spend the time to try to get back upwind; they might run out of time and wind.  So some hopped off their boards and carried them, running up the beach with their kites still attached to them.  Then they'd jump back on and take off doing jumps and tricks as they headed out to get another run in to do more jumps on the way back in.  They had to be in a certain area for the judges to award them for their efforts so it got quite crowded.
The lady jumping in a turn near shore.
You can see her hair flying to get an idea of how fast she was moving.
The hair was let down just as she took off from the beach.
Not everyone was enthralled by the happenings.
This guy was sitting behind me in the restaurant.  I'm not sure what to make of his 'look'.
Cool dude with purple hair.
Karen and Chris sitting on the ledge of the restaurant, watching the kiteboarders do their stuff.
There was a live music concert after the kiteboarding and this guy was warming up as we were leaving.
Even the youngsters got into the contest.
A Coast Guard guy watching the 2-man volleyball tournament also going on this day at the resort.
Just testing the lift on the kite.  With the changing wind strength, some opted for bigger or smaller kites to do their tricks.  This was my favorite guy to watch.  He was the only blond and was easy to spot.  We called him the California Dude, but he was from So. Africa.
Ian and Paula from Evita let their three kids wander and watch.
Catching some air.
More airborne acrobatics.
We think this guy may have been the overall winner, but we never confirmed it.
Locals with winter coats just made us shake our heads.

 The trophy being carried into the area for the prize-giving.

We left before the judging announced the winners as we had to catch a bus and the crowd seemed like there were many more people than the last bus could handle.  We had to literally elbow our way onto the bus.  Old ladies were pushing and shoving me to get on before me.  All us yachties managed to make it on the bus.  A guy with a pickup truck agreed to take us back to town, but then changed his mind and said we couldn't ride in the back of the truck as it was illegal here and there were too many policemen around.  Jason had gotten inside the back seat of the truck, so he got a ride back but was the only one not on the bus.
We think we know the winners, but it really didn't matter as it was a good day out and we all had lots of fun watching the events.  There was one Frenchman, a fellow yachtie, one South African, and one guy from Madagascar, making the event "international" and the rest were locals.  

2 comments:

s/v Libertad said...

what a great day - beautiful pics. if you run into a boat from the Netherlands, Happy Bird, say hello to Yvonne and Roderick from us. We crossed the pacific with them in 2012.

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