Thursday, July 5, 2012
The penultimate weekend of June saw the third staging of the Edge Race Cup, now established as the premier kite surf racing event in the country.
There was a record entry of over 40 kite racers who were not disappointed both with the conditions and the quality of competition!
Amongst the entrants, and one of the favourites for the top honour was organiser Steph Bridge the four-times kite race world champion.
Also taking part were Denzil Williams from Cornwall and Callum Edge from Weymouth. The weekend also saw many first time racers get down to Exmouth seafront and join the action.
The event kicked-off with a Friday night race clinic run by Lee Harvey and Steph Bridge.
A dozen kite boarders took part and they were taught up and down wind techniques, directional board footwork, stance, kite position and race strategy. Also present were the Royal Yachting Association who gave a presentation about kite surfing prior to its inclusion at the Brazil Olympics in 2016.
The first day of racing was greeted by a force five south westerly wind which, combined with an out-going tide, presented a set of very challenging sea conditions!
The race board fleet were first to taste action and three races were run in quick succession.
Home duo Steph Bridge and her eldest son Oliver set the tone for the weekend by dominating the fleet. Young Bridge displayed amazing speed and control in the rough conditions and came away with three first places in the morning session.
Next into action were the amateur and ladies fleets. The stand-out performances came from Dartmouth based Murray Smith and Mathew Causen from Bristol as well as local teenager Alice Shoulder who impressed in the ladies fleet.
After a brief lunch-break the course was moved further out to sea and both pros and amateurs were sent out at the same time.
The sea conditions were now a little kinder and it was time to set both fleets off at the same time. It was impressive to see forty racers all starting at the same time and some great racing continued. In the ladies event local rider Bel Bailey excelled in some great competition, particularly against Alice Shoulder.
In the men’s amateur fleet a pair of local boarders featured prominently in the shape of Doctor Tom Debenham and James Bainbridge.
In the pro event Oliver Bridge was once again head and shoulders above the rest, but, after wining his first two races, suffered a disqualification in the last race for starting too soon!
Callum Edge, Lee Pasty, Denzil Williams and Steve Stubbs were others to shine in the pro event.
The Saturday night party was hosted by the River Exe Cafe and, despite the rain, everyone had a great time with excellent food and wine provided by sponsor Pebblebed Wines.
Day two of the event saw much lighter winds which presented a whole different set of issues, none more so than much poorer race conditions! Just one pro race was run, and it allowed Steph Bridge to show that experience counts when the going gets tricky.
The afternoon gave much better wind and slacker tides.
In the ladies fleet it was a battle down to the wire between Alice Shoulder and Bel Bailey, who both gave it their all with Shoulder emerging victorious by a margin of just two points. The Shoulder victory all the more remarkable as it was her first ever race event!
In the amateur fleet Murray Smith just got the better of Debenham in second and Bainbridge third.
The Race board class continued to be dominated by 14-year-old Olly Bridge who won nine of the eleven weekend races he featured in. In second place was Steph Bridge with Callum Edge finishing third.
Edge Watersports would like to than all the sponsors who helped make the event the undoubted success it was.
The main event sponsor was the Atass Group whilst other sponsorships came from North Kiteboarding, Pebblebed Vineyard, Rip Curl Wetsuits, Flexifoil, New Devon Army, Xcel wetsuits and Ion Essentials.