Day one of the Pacasmayo Pro Kitesurfing event here in Peru kicked off in fun 4 to 6 ft surf at the El Faro resort location. The wind and waves were very contestable and everyone put on a great performance. My heat was in the late afternoon and I was up against Marie Gautron and Celina Guardati. Marie and I decided to start our heat up wind rather than risk getting stuck in the strong current before our heat and not be able to stay up wind in the contest zone. I had three waves in my heat and won the heat to advance. This was my first heat in the sport of kitesurfing and I was riding strapless on my switch stance, so I was very relieved to get that heat out of the way. Pacasmayo is by far the longest wave I have ever seen and the forecast for the event was very promising and I am really looking forward to competing the next day at the top of the point where the waves are steeper and allow for more high performance kitesurfing.
Day Two kicked off at 10:45 am with amazing wind and waves. When we all woke morning, the swell had really started to pulse and the waves were wrapping around the top of the point all the way to the resort. The event format allowed for all the riders to have two chances, so if you lost your first heat you still were able to compete and lose one more. Kelly Wren from Santa Cruz was in my next heat . The heat ran in the afternoon when the tide had already filled in so there was a lot of current rushing around the point. Our heat had a few good sets and both Kelly and I were able to get a few set waves during the 15 minute heat. In the end Kelly took the win by 0.25 points and it was a hard heat. I was happy for Kelly but of course I wanted to get the win and advance on to the semi final round. The wind and waves kept coming and I ended up in the last heat of the day, which started at 5:45 pm. I came up against Milla Knesse from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, my hometown and she is an amazing rider. Our heat had several large sets and when it started Milla got a wave at the top of the point and did a really nice turn but fell on her next turn. I then was able to get a solid wave all the way across the point and was feeling good about my chance. I then got one of the biggest waves of the heat but unfortunately the wave did not offer up a steep section to get in a few solid turns and it proved to be the difference in the heat. Milla had a few smaller inside waves and rode them well and I got one more chance on a mid-size wave, but again I came up short. This time I lost the heat by .01, the closet margin of the day and when we watched the video of the heat I realized it was just one small turn that would have made the difference. I was very proud of my efforts in my first event on the KSP tour considering I was riding on my switch stance, but to lose by 0.25 and 0.01 in both my heats today was hard to swallow. I learned a lot and hopefully can take what I learned to Cape Verde and improve on my result here in Peru.
Day three of the event was scheduled to start at the top of the point at 11:00 am. The wind and waves were still very fun and the final heats of the event would be completed in 4 hours. The men were really pushing the level of strapless kitesurfing to new heights and it was very impressive to watch. On the women’s side, Kelly Wren came up against Ines Correia from Portugal and Kelly decided to stick to riding strapless while Ines was the last remaining rider in the event (men and women) who was riding with straps. This was another very close heat and in the end Ines got the win, but to be honest I felt Kelly won the heat based on her surf style without straps. In the other women’s heat, Kirsty Jones took on Milla Knesse and this heat did not start off well. Both riders were hindered by the jet ski that was out following the girls and taking photos. Kirsty had what she later said was her best wave of the trip and at the end she fell off because of the wake caused by the ski. The judges decided to restart the heat and Kirsty end up losing to Milla. The final ended up being Milla against Ines and both girls surfing very well. Ines continued to ride with straps while Milla rode the final without. Milla had a few solid waves in the heat and then had a scary moment when she dropped her kite and was in the water with her surfboard leash thru the bar and lines. She was able to re-launch the kite and get back outside and get several great waves and take the win. On the men’s side, Guilly Brandao was up against Airton Cozzolino and it was amazing final to watch. Guilly rode three set waves and scored over 8 points on each wave to take the win. Overall the event was a fantastic experience and we made a lot of new friends and I can’t wait to get to Cape Verde for the last stop of the 2011 KSP Kitesurfing tour.