The El Norte returns as Team Bridge storms to glory
Words: Ella Johnson
The classic El Norte finally arrived on day four providing strong winds and solid racing at the HFPT La Ventana. For the first time all week, the races were able to start on time in the pumping conditions and races were held back to back, averaging about 13 minutes in duration. Athletes rode out in the exciting conditions they had been waiting for, mostly on 11m kites and with the change in conditions came a slight change in rankings. Olly Bridge , Guy Bridge (Flysurfer) and Axel Mazella (Enata) lead the pack respectively for all three morning races. Daniella Moroz swept the win for the ladies, giving over half the fleet a run for their money.
As the wind began to pick up, the top mark kept shifting, keeping the assistance boats quite busy and then, after race three, the race committee called an hour break during which the riders refueled.
As the athletes set up for the final race, the race crew encountered some technical issues. The committee boat began to take on water over the bow due to the increasingly high winds pushing up to 30 knots and the building swell and, as the crew worked hard on bringing a new boat out, the wind continued to howl making launching and landing difficult at times for the competitors.
The final race kicked off as the wind began to build . This tested the racers ability to hold down their bigger kites, all while dodging the various kiteboarders who inevitably crossed through the course. Olly Bridge lead the way for a win, followed this time by Axel Mazella who was able to finally overtake Guy Bridge with equal points before snatching second overall due to earning two bullets.
The hopes of running one more race quickly dwindled and with them Guy’s chance to claw back his second place position as the day was called to an end due to concerns for the competitors safety.
The challenging and variable conditions experienced at this event have tested the riders but they showed their strength and ability in both light and strong conditions. It looks like we’re in for an exciting year hats off to Olly Bridge for taking an HFPT event win by a ten point margin and setting his season rolling with a perfect start!
1: Olly Bridge (UK)
2: Axel Mazella (FRA)
3: Guy Bridge (UK)
1: Dani Moroz (USA)
2: Kirstyn OBrien (USA)
3: Andrea Lanier (USA)