Thursday, March 05, 2009

WISSA 2009 Wrap Up

WISSA 2009 was a record breaker!

101 competitors from 14 countries. Racing held on hard ice covered with light snow - perfect.

Three classes:

  1. Open Class: any sled powered by a windsurfing rig

  2. Wing Class: all hand held sails - kitewing

  3. Kite Class: all kites welcome

Perhaps what was most remarkable was the incredibly warm and sophisticated way in which the championships were run. Our Latvian hosts did everything within their power to make us comfortable, accommodate our needs, and keep the racing running smoothly. Every obstacle was deftly handled, and everyone came away happy. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our Latvian friends. They are welcome addition to the WISSA family!

On addition to that, our Latvian hosts introduced a new discipline that is sure to take hold. The new Short Track Slalom promises to be a huge success. It will attract a whole new class of rider to our events. Despite the difficulty of clearing snow away from the ice, it will be worth it.

The area that needs clearing is relatively small when compared to the high attraction of Short Track Slalom racing. Racing is fast, furious, and right where spectators can observe it. This year, the Red Bull truck had awesome tunes playing as the crowds gathered to watch what could be described as an exciting mix of windsurfing and ice hockey.

Future organizers take note: You will need ice clearing equipment for a 100 x 100 meter area, but your sponsors will love you because the crowds will gather to watch the action up close.

Regular racing seems to have taken the “up down up” course by popular demand. The Olympic Triangle that was tradition for so many years was abandoned on a trial basis, and now the consensus is that DN style “up down up” is best. This is and will remain at the core of our racing venues as will the venerated marathon, but new more spectator friendly disciplines such as Short Track Slalom (for Open Class & Wings) and Freestyle (for Kites) may replace the Speed Trials.

In summary, WISSA is stronger than ever and enjoying a very bright future indeed. Our success is driven by the passion and love of our members. Friendships are forged, competitions wrought, and traditions venerated with each passing year. Thank you to all who have returned, and welcome to all new comers.

William Tuthill / WISSA

The pictures are to follow

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