The First Annual Elite Big Air Classic has come and gone and it couldn’t have turned out better! The event, originally scheduled for February 18th, was postponed twice due to a lack of wind but, thanks to the expert forecasting done by Shea Gibson of North Carolina, and a few wind dances, was cemented for Saturday, March 4th. Conditions were beautiful with a clear, sunny sky and wind speeds of 18 knots with gust of 25. The competitors would have appreciated a bit more wind for their heats, however, the day was gorgeous which made for a perfect beach day for all the spectators.
The day began with the captain’s meeting at 1:00 pm, where Aaron reviewed how the event would run; it was based on divisions, split into heats, and directed through a timed flag system. There were five divisions, Women’s, Juniors, Amateurs/Intermediate, Masters, and Pros. The larger divisions were divided into two heats of around five to twelve competitors; after each heat, the top few riders progressed into the final heat for their division. Along with an air horn warning, there were three flags the competitors needed to keep their eyes on; the yellow flag meant there was two minutes before the beginning of their heat, the green flag signaled the beginning of their ten-minute heat, and the red flag meant the end of the heat. There were three judges on the beach and after each heat, they tallied up the score cards to determine who moved forward into the final rounds. The judges looked for “big air” jumps, wow factor, and style; they wanted to see someone who was able to boost high, pull out a trick, and land their jump all while showcasing their own unique style.
Immediately following the captain’s meeting, the first heat would take place; the women’s division was divided into two heats. The wind conditions at this point were not terribly favorable for a boosting competition, but the ladies still managed to perform and kill it out there. After both the women’s heats, we decided it was best to take a short pause on the competition to allow the winds to pick up. After about half an hour we continued with the rest of the heats; the event went smoothly.
To give a short reprieve in between the original heats and the finals, we held a “Pump Up Challenge”. With teams of two, each group had to pump up and rig a kite and lines; whoever did this the fastest and correctly, won! This activity was a fun addition to the competition and enabled the spectators to participate if they wished! All for fun! The winning team took home a CORE pump.
After the fun of the Pump Up Challenge, the finals began. Again, we started with the Women’s heat, moved on to the Amateurs/Intermediates, Masters, and then Pros. The Juniors’ & Pro’s division were small so, they each only had one heat. The Juniors completed their heat after the first Women’s round. We waited for the Pro’s heat to be the finale as the winds were the best just before sunset.
Once everyone was off the water, we announced the winners and held a raffle for the swag from our sponsors! Lots of awesome gear was given out to raffle winners and to the second place winners of each division. First place winners went home with cash money!!! We did run out of daylight, so we had to have a second raffle drawing the following business day.
The day was a huge success and we couldn’t thank all the sponsors and competitors enough for making it what it was! We can’t wait to do it again next year. The prizes will be flowing in and the cash will be upped next year, so spread the word, let’s make this an annual event for the books!! Now, enjoy some photos of the event. If you were there and took some pictures, feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add them to the post. 🙂
Congratulations to all our winners! You all killed it out there!!
Thank you to all the competitors, you too, rocked the event and made it hard for the judges, as you all did fantastically!
Huge Thanks to the following Sponsors: Slingshot, Liquid Force, F-One, Core Kiteboarding, Tampa Bay Grand Prix, WOO Sports, and of course, the Magnuson Hotel Clearwater Central.
See you all next year!