The 2007 Wind and Water Open Something or Other, formerly known as "The Velocity Games"
Thursday: Registration Day and Pregame Festivities
Words and photos by Stacey Fonas
Posted Saturday May 11th 2007
Thursday 10th May: Getting to the VGames
We met at the Best Office at 5AM, me, Sean (Sales), Kristin Boese (2Time World Champ), and Keri (Events Coordinator). We had a lot of crap to take with us ... Kristin had at least 5 check-in bags, including her guitar, for the Kristin Boese Singalong we'd have if there was no wind ... so we had to call Brandon and wake him up so he could drive me and Kristin down in his big red truck. (For the record, Kristin's name is pronounced "Kristine" ... but German's don't really know how to spell :) )
I felt a little bad for Brandon, since he wasn't coming along with us, so I decided to leave him a little memento, something I knew he loved which would remind him of me, to make him feel like part of the crew (see my blog entitled "gaslight" for more information). Right before I got out of the truck, I opened up a brand new New Car Scent Air Freshener and slipped it behnd the seat, in a kind of hard-to-get-to place. We unloaded all our crap and said our goodbyes. I whipped out my video camera and started filming Brandon pulling away in his truck.
"Sorry," I said to Kristin. "This will just take a second. I just stuck an air freshener under his seat and he's about to find it."
He got maybe 25 feet away, and the truck came crashing to a halt.
"Hahah, he found it."
He threw the truck into reverse, came screaming back to us in a blaze of blinking taillights, and jumped out of his car. "STACEY! where IS it ... GOD that's awful. NEW CAR AIR SCENT, get it out of my truck!"
He jumped out, came around to the curbside, and started frantically and unsuccessfully searching the cab. I was laughing and filming, and finally had to tell him where it was if we ever wanted to get away and catch our plane. For such a tall boy, he's not very good at finding hidden air fresheners.
After checking in, we got to the gate, and even though it was still so early, it's never too early for a song. Sean whipped out Kristin's guitar, donned his Howdy-Doody cowboy hat (to get us all into the Texas mood) and belted out a few show tunes. Keri loved it.
Southwest Airlines ... whose airplane colors are decided upon and painted by a class full of kindergarteners. (Ed's note: Those colors look pretty sober to me, maybe we need to hire them to do the 08 color schemes on the kites.)
When we got to Corpus, with very little drama and no lost luggage, we waited for the complimentary shuttle to the Omni hotel. I'd heard that Texas girls have big hair, so I decked myself out accordingly ... kind of like Sean getting into the mood with his cowboy hat.
Then it was time for Bucky to pick us up and drive us to the RV place so we could check out the status of the RV. Jake, Alex and the boys had landed in Texas a couple of days earlier, fresh off Alex's USA Tour and Drill2 Film Session, and after all those miles, the RV had sustained a few war wounds, and was in need of a little TLC. Held together in parts by duct tape, it was still an impressive sight, and we wanted to have it at the VGames, or at least I did. We're kiteboarders, not Corporate Wall Street types, a little rough and tumble from the desert is no bad reflection on the company. "Ride hard, or don't bother" is how I look at it. The RV is badass, no question about it.
Buck also gave us a little tour of the riding spots in Corpus, and even took us to his previous digs, aka Buckland ... a true kiter-style house (talk about war wounds) perched on the banks of a nice flat bay. Unfortunately, there was no wind ... and even worse, no wind forecasted for the entire weekend. Texas is supposed to be windy all the time. Must be all the Florida kiters showing up that's tipping the balance.
Bucky also showed us his impressive collection of girlie pictures hidden in his shed, which I suspect was the main purpose of taking us out to Buckland :)
Then it was back to the hotel, to meet up with Alex and the RV crew and take care of some business. Alex and Clinton, loving teammates reunited for the first time after their trip together on the Odyssey, were very happy to see each other. Alex gave both Clinton and I a preview of Alex's latest topsecret marketing project ... without giving any of it away, I will only say this: we were stunned and impressed by such audacity.
Clinton, with Tyson (Kite Biatch), Gabe Shortman (video), Alex Brown (we all know who he is), and Jake Buzianis (Snow Rider, and RV driver).
After seeing those guys off to the airport ... they're heading up to Oregon to work on putting Drill2 together ... the rest of us went up to the hotel pool, where there was a little opening party, with tacos, quesadillas and nachos ... and an open bar of wine and beer.
Clinton and Kristin
As an interesting sidenote, at least to me, and I don't have any pictures of them because I was so stunned and taken aback by the whole situation I could barely speak let alone take pictures, but at the party, I was revisited by an uncomfortable blast from the past. There, standing to my left, was none other than North rider, Sean Farley, whose North speed board I'd wanted to steal, and whose kite he claimed I landed into telephone wires, at the Team Kitesurf Competition in Brazil. This time, I was a bit outnumbered, as his father and mother were there with him for support, and to my extreme mortification, his father related the story about how he'd run across my post about the Team Kitesurf Comp in Brazil (I didn't think anyone read this stuff) (Ed's note: C'mon everyone knows all the other kite company staff and riders read all the blogs, this where all the magic happens!) and about how it was his SON's skills and not the board that should have been touted for winning the race. Man, I knew that post was a bit controversial ... I'd also complained about the North team not letting us borrow their surfboards ... but I thought it was safely buried on the Best website which only Best supporters read, who would agree with me, simply because we're all Best. Little did I think that any NORTH people would ever come here for news. I kept waiting for the floor to open up and swallow me, but it didn't, and I kind of slunk away and tried to hide from them all night. Yeow.
Kristin, Ryan Riccitelli, and me
Clinton, with "The Best Family" ... a Brady-Bunch-style conglomeration of seven, who all fly Best kites, and show up on the beach with all their Best gear, like their very own army. On second thought, maybe not exactly Brady Bunch ... maybe more like Brady Bunch meets Viva La Bam. Carol (mom), Tony (dad). Carol's son, Grom, was running around somewhere in his white bathrobe, a kiteboarding Hugh Heffner.
Ryan, with Neil Hutchinson, the Marlboro Man, a fixture in the US kite scene, here to lend his voice to the running of the games.
After pouring out the last of the wine, to me of course, the pool party closed down ...
... and we piled into an elevator ...
... and walked over a few streets to make friends with Jeff Howard, who was giving a little party at his shop.
Ryan was there handing out copies of the May issue of Kiteboarder, and was completely starstruck with all the top-notch kiteboarders who showed up ... the very ones who were profiled in his latest issue. He couldn't believe it!
We made Kristin pose with her various pictures ... the one of her hugging the buggy she drove into the lagoon (see "Crash Course" video on the Best website) picture by Stacey Fonas by the way, not Gavin Butler :) ... and the more illustrious ad on the back cover.
Stars were out in full force, I tell ya. Jon Modica and Damien Leroy.
Teammates Andy Hurdman and Clinton Bolton
Laura Maher from the Gorge (who will be judging the freestyle comp if there's any wind), Marina Chang from the Kiteboarder, and Kristin.
Clarissa Hempel, Cabrinha, enjoying a smoke.
More Florida kiters: Brandon, with Best Team Rider Will Caldwell.
Rocky Chatwell, from Texas, who has been tearing it up on the PKRA, and recently charged past Alvaro in the Men's Singles in Austria ... with Jeff Howard.
Me and "Heff" ... rocking his bathrobe look.
I had to take this picture of a box of kites that was just sitting there. Jeff's shop carries NO Best product, but this box is exactly the same box, and exactly the same handwriting, and paperwork, and markings, of the boxes in which our kites come shipped. So if you're still thinking we have low prices because we produce our kites in "lowly" factories, think again.
Then it was back over to the hotel for too many of these at the hotel bar ...
We hung out with Jake for awhile ...
And were surprised by a return of the Boys ... who had airport-induced plane issues and couldn't get off the ground.
Then all the apple martinis kicked in and I stopped taking still pictures for the
night. It wasn't pretty, and I will probably win some sort of Disgrace Award for the weekend, but everyone was up in time the next day to make their planes
and attend the games.