Events: What should they be...

Open forum to discuss, constructively criticize, generate ideas, etc about windsports events in the Midwest.

Moderator: MK

Post Reply
Posts: 5274
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Location: Here, Now

Events: What should they be...

Post by Tighe »

Event coordinators want to know what you want from events.
What aspects are the most valuable?
What aspects aren't worth paying for?
What could be done better?
What other activities could be included?
Any ideas welcomed.

This is an open forum so if you would prefer to enter anonomously you can log out and post as a guest.
Posts: 1646
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:11 pm
Location: Apostle Islands

Post by Stroh »

What aspects are the most valuable?
I think that having the banquet's (breakfast and dinner) is a valuable aspect of the event. it brings everybody together. but there maby should be a price people can pay to just compeet and not include food.

What could be done better?
we need to have bibs or equlivelent # system... someone mentioned #'s on helmets.

What other activities could be included?
right now I don't think we have a kite event centered arround freestyle compitition.
I also think the border cross idea would be fun.

Jon Stroh
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2003 10:58 pm
Location: North of the border

Post by Woody »

Here's my 2 cents if we are talking about 'The Crossing':

- have everybody start at the same time eliminating the need for keeping track of 20+ individual start times. This can be done by having a giant lemans style start in waist deep water. Wouldn't that be something to see if you were a spectator, or better yet, a reporter!? Garrison Beach or Malmo can support this kind of start no problem.

- get rid of the 'upwind mark'. Wouldn't need it for a single start. This would also keep the whole pack closer together and easier to keep track of with fewer support craft required. Sure the pack will eventually spread out, but not by 10 minutes (time allowed to round the upwind mark) at the very start of the race. Wanna know who's on the water? Look for a BIB.

- kiters should wear bibs and announce there name/number to the RC when finishing eliminating any confusion. Remember who finished in front of, and behind you. Something I always do in a regatta.

- use an inflatable cone (6 footer) for the turn around marker. This way you will be able to see it at least 2-3 miles away. I'll bring one next year if needed.

- have this major event at the end of August instead of Sept. Water's warmer and days are longer. Two major factors in safety on a lake like Mille Lacs. Again reducing the number of boats required

- If the event isn't an actual 'crossing' anymore, call it something else that will be marketable like "The Mille Lacs Race" or "18 Miles Of Mille Lacs" something like that.

- GET INVOLVED. What a golden opportunity to showcase to the world, a Windsurf/Kiter event/race.

- lower the registration fee. More people will come. I spoke with a couple of people who never registered because of the high costs.

Stay Cool :P

Woody - who is still feeling the effects of 'full throttle' windsurfing on Mille Lacs...
Posts: 2001
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:38 pm

Not A Racer

Post by JRN »

I mainly attend to see people whom I normally don't see on a regular basis. Alot of out- state, west metro, Iowans, Canadians, UP-ers, etc. can only be encountered at these events. I have no interest in racing, but enjoy watching the antics of others nonetheless. As an observer from shore, the Kite start was too free-form to be accurate. I think a simultaneous start would be chaos. Draw numbers for the order of starting, line up in order, and start them out at 3 second intervals. I think this is done in Olympic track & field events which include alot of participants. Still it was AMAZING that there were no kitemares, or unfortunate kite/ sailboard encounters, and everyone should be PROUD of that! JRN

Post by Guest »

Thanks, Mike, and all the people who made it happen - what a blast - I'm still sore too...

I'm a total newbie to organized races, but here are my thoughts:
* It was awesome to mix the windsurfers and kiters - great idea to build harmony across the different flavors of wind addiction instead of segragating them!!
* Hype it with the mags - it is a unique deal. Those guys are still talking about the original kite freeze, for example
* Don't call it a crossing if it isn't one. I think it should be a crossing, however.
* maybe slightly separating the 5 or so people who really want to win it from the rest of the pack is a good idea.
* Get sponsors and lower the entrance fee. To do this, you'll have to show them some guarantee of exposure - coupon books for the riders, advertising, other media, etc.
* Try to al la carte stuff to lower the price even more: make the meals optional, maybe even the swag (i.e. sweatshirts). I did talk to a lot of good racers who didn't enter because of the high fee.
* tighten up the time commitment - scarificing a day is fine, but 3 days of hanging around can be tough with other family and work commitments.
* The starting stuff was really confusing - don't know how to make it better, but we can stand in the water there. Maybe a simultaneous standing start.
* how about a starting gun (or flare) and a series of blasts from the horn counting down 30,20, 10 seconds...
* Yes, a bigger turn around buoy - I couldn't see it from very far away.
* Maybe put a little bit of the work back on the particpants - i.e. organizing rides back from the other side if it is a crossing, etc.
* I thought the rescue kits were a good idea - could we have recycled them for next year or do they get old?
* other events like highest jump, sickest trick, best crash, etc.
* do the awards and banquet right after the event if at all possible.

However you do it next, I'll be there!!!
- z
Aaron Saude

Post by Aaron Saude »

What aspects are the most valuable?

I'm not a competetor and in our local windsport scene I don't see the value in a place standing of a race except for braggin rights. In my opinion the draw of an event is only to gather everyone with a shared passion, hang out, play with our equipment and talk shop later. Keep the cost down, add an element that will draw people like gear reps and demos, and keep the participation value high for everyone who isn't interested in racing. You need as many MNers as you can.

What aspects aren't worth paying for?

$75 is too much. Unless the event has to purchase insurance, which hopefully they did, that is just too much money for a recreational wind sport enthusiast to pay to do something they can do for free at a different site. A T-shirt at cost is about $5. A hoodie $15. Food doesn't cost $60. Where does the money go? Unless you offer money or prizes for an event you're not asking them to compete for anything which would probably get you by MN state Statues for water sports gatherings. Mike does deserve to make money off the event though, I mean really, it's a pain in the ass trying to put together a nice weekend for people and get nothing in return. It's not something you'd want to do for fun because it's definatly not that.

What could be done better?

If this community wants events with prizes and awards they need to get off their asses and participate in the planning. One guy beggin for crap from companies is tough. And especailly if he can't even predict the number of attendance. If you were a kite company would you give $500 worth of product to one guy asking for it for his event? Well I can tell you, they don't. It only makes sense. And really, why should they? So you fly their flag at the event? The local beach reps will do that anyway for free. Or talk about how great their product is to everyone at the event. You can't stop that stuff. You can't make someone buy your goods because you sponsor events that happen once a year in a state like MN. We just don't have the numbers to make it happen. And exposure? That's pretty tough. Even if it was plastered on Yahoo's homepage there's no garuntee that people will buy the sponsors gear. We're all very select in what we ride and it's not because of what the company does, but how the gear performs for our particular needs.

What other activities could be included?

If you don't have a pre-registration and the wind doesn't look good for the day of the event, people won't come. It's a cold hard fact and that's the way it is. YOu could plan no-wind activites till your head bleeds, but unless it's free money you're giving away people won't come. We're wind chasers and planning a wind event is like russian roulette.

Look at other events in the US and see what the draw is. Mountainous terrain, big ocean waves and wind, Pro riders that come to show off moves. We don't have that in MN and sadly we probably never will. Cloud 9 couldn't justify leaving Idaho for MN and really.. can you blame them? This is a tight knit group because we hang together and kite with each other and share the fun and go home. I used to have higher expectations, but reality kicked in. I've learned alot from the Ice Fest and Paddle Fest and it all comes down to, keep it cheap, don't offer much, expect low turn out, keep it loose, and have fun.

Kudos for Mike for his drive to keep providing an event for no reason at all for people to come to, have fun, and go home.

Aaron Saude

Post by kiteracer »

If we are going to have long distance or course racing at our events, the only way to have a proper race is to have everyone start together. A safe group start may mean setting a 200 yard long starting line, which shouldn't be a problem. If new kiters are afraid of the traffic they can hang back until the traffic clears. Trying to keep track of each persons time seems to pose risks far greater than setting a starting line with enough room to allow everyone to start together. It also makes for more exciting racing for both spectators, if we have any, and competitors. The racing should be much more intense if it's truly who crosses the line first.

The last thing we want to do is have people travel long distances to a race and not have a fair competition.

Kite racing could be a major opportunity for growing the sport in this region, I hope we can make it happen.

How many people would like to have a group start at our next long distance race?
Posts: 1646
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:11 pm
Location: Apostle Islands

Post by Stroh »

I think the indidival timed starts are the best way for truly accurate results.. when it works. I think the only big problem was us not haveing numbers. the other problem was litle orginazation on the kiters behalf. if you saw the windsurfers, most if not all of them were waiting in the water upwind of the start. the kiters were rideing arround way downwind of the start. makeing it imposiable to get back up to the start mark in time.

Haveing every one start at once might lead alot of tangled kites. the timed start speads everyone out a bit. if we have bibs and a starting order this could work extreemly smothly. and if we started in a order of standings from the last race we can ilimiate grooping of kiters.. somewhat

MY 2 cents

Jon Stroh

Post by dangler »

i think the america's cup should consider this approach. this will make it much safer.
Last edited by dangler on Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 5274
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Location: Here, Now

Post by Tighe »

these are all great points

I'll add my 2 cents worth.

I think the individual timed start is the safest. We do it in the winter with little trouble and very accurate results.

I really like the idea of head to head competition. i.e. he who crosses first wins. and I think if we have 40 kiters in a mass start it could be dangerous and extremely difficult to organize. (slanted start line with those downwind closer and those upwind farther back)

Qualifiers, or smaller races during the year (or from past years) could make sense for starting in waves.

We need to talk about safety. Right now the size of the course is determined by the number of boats required to maintain a certain distance between them. Is this the only way? What if we hug a shoreline? What if we were all to get some sort of locator beacon? What if we only allow riders to spread out to X miles then a sag wagon picks up the stragglers.

I personally want to do a crossing....and back.

I would like to see a big board updated after the racer's meeting that lists all that day's activities. I can't tell you how many times I get asked what's going on.

I'd like to see other activities scheduled and happening. Like bbq's, like kiter cross, like maximum daily distance, like maximum distance jumped, Like clinics, etc.

I'd like there to be an announcer that generates stoke, informs the audience what's going on, etc. Maybe even some good tunes.

I'd like to see an ala cart menu of events, meals, etc. Obviously a package would save some $.

I think somehow events should raise enough money to have a few paid positions. You have no idea how much time goes into these things. We're talking hundreds of hours.

I'd like to have a position established for someone to shoot a short documentary of the day, that we can play in the well as other images and video from the year.

I think we need to look beyond kiteboarding sponsors. They rely on a windy event to be successful. There also just isn't enough of a market here to make it feasable for them.

It is pretty easy to imagine a value proposition extended to corporate sponsors that lays out a media plan that would ensure exposure of their support/association with these events. This exposure goes well beyond the event itself. The event really becomes secondary.

I think we need to do more during our social hours to be more inclusive. There always seem to be a few that are venturing out to their first event and have a hard time mixing in with the community. Not sure what this might be but there might be some game/activity that pulls people together more.

If we want to bring people to these events whether there is wind or not, then we need to have other things to do. Come on we can play well together no matter what we do.

Let's bring education into these events where appropriate. Sometimes introductory lessons are feasible but probably more feasible are Kiteboarding Overview for non kiters stopping by with an interest. How to Jump Higher Clinics, Unhooking for your First Time Clinic, Speed, I Want MORE Clinic, Equipment panel discussion/Q&A, Safety, Associations, and Access Issues, Reading the forecasts/ weather patterns, etc

I think if we have a toolbox full of activities on tap, the coordinator can fill the day based on the conditions. Personally I hate waiting around.

I'm sure I have more but this is already getting long...

Event 5 thoughts--- Crossing part

Post by JEC »

1. I like the idea of starting without the upwind mark. (Rabbitt start)
2. I still like the out and back two laps the best. Need bibs for all.
3. Waves like the Birkebeiner. 5 min intervals. Best to seperate Windsurfers and kites
since there are more and more competitors it may be necessary to have 2 waves of Windsurfers and 3 or 4 waves of kiters.
4. Do electronic transponders work in water? Like marathons use?
an idea for the future. Would be very accurate if if if
concerned local

let's race and have fun

Post by concerned local »

all of these points are very well intentioned. having a windsurfing or kite race is not the same as a typical endurance race. if you have different start times, competitors will experience different conditions. the real pioneers of kite racing are in san francisco and the races are being run by the st. francis yacht club using the rules of sailboat racing. i think we should pay attention to what they are doing. if we want to promote these events as races we should make them races. if we want to have a parade or rally then that is what we have now. there are alot of people that don't want the events to be too competitive, racing is the very definition of competitive.

kite racing is fun, if you like to race. we could have an informal weekend race circuit on metro lakes during the winter without much effort by anyone.


Post by tre'cool »

if you want to race- use isaf sailing rules. they have been established and modified over the years to enable fair racing with clear winners. why try to reinvent the wheel and create a different set of rules that are applicable only to kites? kites are simply another form of sail craft. also if you apply these rules during races maybe some kooks would figure out the difference between port and starboard and we'd all be safer on the water. :P
sly melvin

Post by sly melvin »

and I think if we have 40 kiters in a mass start it could be dangerous and extremely difficult to organize. (slanted start line with those downwind closer and those upwind farther back)
Actually starts are one of the most crucial aspects of any sailing race. Hence the pre-start ballet that can be witnessed during a serious match race like the America's Cup. Figuring out which end of the line is favored and maneuvering into position to take advantage of the line is a skill acquired only through practice. I have been on starting lines with 100's of boats. Not only is it not inherently dangerous but it is extremely exciting and a real test of sailing skill. If you actually have 40 kites for a race just make the starting line 500 yards long. The good sailors will figure out where to be and everyone else will sort themselves out.

Racing is serious business-make it real. If you want to organize races you should follow the established rules. Why not set a windward/ leeward course and determine who can go fast on all points of sail.
Posts: 5274
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Location: Here, Now

Post by Tighe »

I fully agree we should learn from the heritage of racing that has been taking place for hundreds of years....and....we also need to recognize that our "ships" are 27m wide (line length). Also, a collision of two large sailing craft at a start, would be somewhat contained, a collision of kites and entangled lines could cause havoc for everything downwind.

I don't know what the answers are here either. I think there has been some great input here. I know Mike has been in touch with the directors in San Francisco that ran races throughout the summer. I think we all forging new ground here.
Dave C

Post by Dave C »

It looks like this discusion is focusing just on the Crossing Witch I agree should have a difernt name if its not a crossing although i would like to see it as one even a crossing and back like Tighe said. I was one of the poor fellows who opted for the cheaper nonracing registration fee $40 versus $75. Witch realy wasn't a big deal cause I have fun at these events wether I race or not. But I would like to see the extras like the sweatshirt, and meals, ala-cart, even though I'd still pay for that dinner buffet that tasted so amazaing after all that riding.

I'd like to see good freindly competion between the windsurfers and the kiters meaning they race at the same time and do the exact same course, so either both have to go to an upwind mark or neither do. Otherwise you can't realy compare times between the kiters and the windsurfers. The wind can be so up and down in MN that if you don't start at the same time your not realy doing the same race. The wind was very strong at the begining of the race and was much lighter as the kiters and last windsurfers were finishing. I'd say there was a definate advantege to starting the race early. The windsurfers probaly had better wind then the kiters cause they started earlier. But at the same time this isn't a race for money or anything just fun so I'd be fine with safety taking presidence over being the most fare way to race.

If gets to a point were its open to all kiters, not just invite, it would be nice to for people like me who windsurf in highwinds and kite in light winds to not have to register for one or the other but be able to race on whatever the conditions dictate that day.

I like having at the end of Sept. I think it gives us the best chance for wind and is still somewhat warm.

I think slideshows and movies Sat. evening were cool

Oh ya and lets get some Best Girls there, I could think of a few nonwind activites then!
Post Reply