Sydney Uni Elite Athlete Jordan Girdis, returned from a journey to New Zealand last week a kitesurfing National Champion. Below he speaks about his trip and the experiences he had while competing in the New Zealand National Championships in 2015.
Leaving a grey and miserable Sydney, Auckland greeted us with warmth and sunshine. The event itself was to take place 4 hours north of Auckland, in a little known town called Taipa, near Mangonui. This was rather concerning as the literal translation for Mangonui is “Shark Big”.
For the first day the light sea breeze never kicked above 10 knots. 14 racers were rigged up and ready to go. The foil boards were able to fly, however the larger, heavier formula boards often struggled to get planing. Three races were run, with the wind often in the 4-6 knot range. In the light winds, especially upwind, it is a game of finding the most pressure on the racecourse. Despite the light wind, the foils achieve speeds of up to 20 knots upwind, and mid to high 20s downwind, creating quite a spectacle. I was fortunate enough to win the three races of the day, and be the only person to finish all three races.
The second day of the event saw a few white horses dancing over the sea. Conditions up to 12 knots saw much closer racing, with local shifts off hills creating some tactical decisions. With some racers choosing to port start the fleet to take advantage of both the line and a left shift, much yelling was heard on the course. 5 races were held, and I was lucky enough to win each one followed by Bradely Nixon of NZ and Antoine Jaubert. In the formula division, Torrin Bright of NZ took the races out in straight sets, closely followed by Ric Black of Australia.
By the third day of perfect beach weather, with only light winds blowing, the locals kept exclaiming that it’s “not normally like this”. In sailing, this seems to be the motto of every regatta anywhere in the world. I wasn’t complaining though, the backdrop was stunning. None the less, the race committee managed to get another 5 races in, again in the 6-10 knot wind range. The sailors kite skills were tested, with the light fickle conditions proving a challenge to keep the kites dry. With faith in Moth Guru Dave Lister’s hydrofoil design and flying the “big bird” Ozone Chrono 18m kite, I managed to keep the speed on for the duration of the racers. Torrin Bright took out the Formula division of the regatta, also with a clean sweep. Bradly Nixon from New Zealand came in second in the foils, followed by Frenchman Antoine Jaubert.
Not only did the Kiwis run a fantastic regatta, they also took the time to show off their country. Using the beach as a highway, we made it to the northern tip of New Zealand before a freestyle session amongst the silica rich white sandy dunes of Te Hapua. Team Australia will definitely be back next year for Bledisloe round two.
Thanks to Kitepower Australia, Ozone Kites, Zhik, Lister Foil, Optimum Time and Sydney University Sport and Fitness for their support.