The 2007 Wind and Water Open, formerly known as "The Velocity Games"
Saturday Night: The Party at Nils' House
Words by Stacey Fonas, many photos by Tyler Bentz
Posted Wednesday May 16th 2007*
*I'm still behind. There were 214 emails in my inbox when I got back to work on Tuesday ... it ain't all fun and games around here.
Saturday Night 12 May: 7:30 PM
The Best Bus was supposed to be parked outside the Omni Hotel at 7:20, where it would be available for chauffeuring any kiter that dared to board it. But, we were a little late, as is the fashion, and probably didn't get out of there until around 7:50. As we were walking towards the bus, Kent Marinkovic (Cabrinha) said, "Do you think I'm going to burst into flames?" "Probably," I said. "We can only hope." Hehehe, just kidding. :)
Sean Lee (Best Sales Rep) fell in love with the bus at first sight, as did I. His love for the bus, however, far eclipsed mine: he'd agreed to forego a night of mad revelling and be the Designated Driver ... which is a far greater sacrifice than I am pretty much ever willing to make. Plus, I probably wouldn't have been able to drive it anyway ... that thing is massive. And I'm such a delicate little thing.
Confidentially, the real reason Sean was driving the bus is because of his glowing red nose. The headlights are working now, but that's not to say they won't go out at any time! And that was not a risk we were willing to take ... not when a dozen or so kiters were entrusting us with their immortal souls. Should the headlights go out, Sean (aka Rudolph)'s nose would beat a brilliant path through the streets of Corpus Christi and carry us all safely to our destination.
And yes, I know we were handing out Best 30 SPF Sunscreen at the Games all day long, but unfortunately, even the best sunscreen does not work if you don't put it on. But it IS guaranteed to make you kite like Andy Hurdman ... but beware. It isn't waterproof. So you'll only be able to kite like him for a few minutes, until it wears off, then you'll turn back into a kiteboarding pumpkin.
Rudolph, seen here, with his driving assistant Keri ...
Although Kent didn't exactly spontaneously combust upon entering the bus, he didn't exactly want his picture posted on the internet riding around in the Best RV either. Oh well, too bad. Next time, it's going to be worse: as "admission," everyone's going to have to have a fish tattoo logo transferred on. "Then you'll have no one riding the bus," Kent said. Oh well, I guess we'll have to take our chances. At least it'll weed out the riff raff :).
Davey Blair, and Ben (Chambers, I think) with Karen, who was one of the Original Best Models and whose picture is hanging in JeffG's office.
Ben Meyer was so excited to be on the Best RV that his eyes were practically popping out of his head. It was precious.
Two hot chicks sitting between Mikey Bradley, from Florida, and Sean Reyngoudt, from the Keys.
Alex Bloechinger, from Ft.Lauderdale, being secretly admired.
Somehow, despite the directions on the back of the flyer, there was some confusion between South and North Morningside Drive, and whichever one we were supposed to be on, we were on the other one. En masse, we ended up combing the neighborhood looking for our party. It was a little embarrassing. Best Kiteboarding ... we can ALMOST get you to the party!! (Sorry, everyone, for making you have to walk the last 1/2 mile. But you didn't kite today ... you needed the exercise anyway!)
So, when we finally got to the House of Nils, I tried to take some pictures but whenever I show up with a camera anywhere, people start hiding for some reason, so I passed the camera off to Tyler Bentz, who agreed to be my stand-in. Here he is, with his girlfriend Tara, moments before setting himself loose on the crowd.
The crowd, being set loose upon.
More crowd being set loose upon.
Rootbeer and gingerale ... very refreshing.
Anna, one of the VGames Best Girls, with one of the Crush Girls.
Tony, who runs the Crush Girls, with one of the Crush Girls.
Bill Bentz either a) looks on in shock, as his son's girlfriend, left to her own devices, busts out some radical dance moves, or else b) just plain makes a silly face at the camera. Not sure which.
Kevin (who bought me 2 shots of Green Apple Schnapps, at once, as I was leaving the Prize Giving Ceremony on Sunday Night. Thanks! Just what I needed to round out the weekend.)
Impromptu ice chest.
Unbelieveably, the house was not closed off to the partiers. Everyone was free to wander around, spill beer, and be a little nutty, wherever they felt like it. If Nils buys a yacht, I'm on it!
As you can see, for a party that could and might have verged on the edge of "wild," everyone was pretty respectful. See that cup being knocked over? They were outside. I'm just happy that I spilled nothing, broke nothing (plastic cups don't break), and remained very in control the entire time.
And a good thing, too. As second in command of the red-nosed reindeer brigade, I needed to be in control. If the RV headlights went out simultaneously as Sean got taken up to the heavens via the rapture, my red face would be needed to light the way to safety.
Kim Kern, hard at work, with her camera.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell: Not to worry .... your son was a very good boy, unlike the rest of the hooligans. He represented well and made the brand proud.
Clinton watching out for Kristin watching out for Ben. It looks all the Best people got a little red today. All that sunscreen abounding ... why didn't we just put it on.
It's not how it looks ... they're telling each other secrets. Really.
Clinton and Hamish, eavesdropping.
Then the music got REALLY loud and no one could hear what anyone was saying to anyone else, so you really had to "close talk" ala Seinfeld if you wanted to be heard.
As a matter of fact, it was so loud that Kristin had to go outside and practically hide in the bushes to try to find a nice quiet place to call her boyfriend. Sean, Designated Driver, drinking Dr. Pepper and biding his time. "Are you guys almost DONE yet?" "No, Rudolph, the night is still young and we have the whole shank of the evening ahead of us. So shush and let us party."
Davey Blair, trying to give me a lesson on how to go over a slider behind a jetski. It's alot easier to slide on a hardwood floor, however, it turns out.
Why weren't there any guys like this around when I was growing up, in the middle of the landlocked state of Pennsylvania? Life is so unfair. I'm taking the Richmond Brothers home and giving them to my nieces :)
Kim Kern began casting out the Demon of Debauchery.
And Clinton was there to catch Kristin as she was slain in the spirit and miraculously healed.
Then, finally, to Sean's delight, it was time to load up and go home. Here he is, concentrating hard, trying to keep some of the world's best kiters alive. Neil rides shotgun.
It couldn't have been easy with all the distractions, but Sean did a kick-ass job staying focused.
Just as we got to the hotel, I was struck by a bolt of creativity, which usually happens late at night, while I'm perfectly stone cold sober. I decided to do what I'd call "The Exit Series," where I'd sit on the dashboard and take pictures of everyone getting off the bus. At that moment, it felt post-modern, ironic and BRILLIANTLY ARTSY. (P.S. I tried to get everyone, but my lens was having a bit of trouble focusing, so if I missed you, I'm sorry. You shouldn't have been walking so fast.)
And here, ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure, and without further ado, The Best RV Exit Series:
Madison Van Heurck
Karen, Original Best Girl
Ben (Chambers, I think)
Sam Medysky and Clarissa Hempel
Drat ... someboyd please tell me his name.
Will Caldwell, and Ben Meyer (who looks like he's been trampled upon by a muddy kitten)
Brandon Pelly, George from Rhode Island
Clinton "I only had 2 beers all night long" Bolton
I'm so bad at names.
And of course, Sean caressing the RV goodnight.
All I can say is, it was a pretty crazy ride ... and I was so proud of the bus. Everyone was there, all together, having a great time, riding happily along on the Best Bus ... just as it should be. From the moment Sean and I parked the bus at the event site, to the moment we got to the hotel, that's all we could talk about, how awesome the bus is and how fun the ride was. Everyone alive, no one killed, everyone safe and happily at home. That some of them were about to wake up with the worst hangovers of their lives? Incidental.
After being on such a natural RV high, however, it was hard for Sean to come down to reality, so he did something he otherwise might not have done had he been in his right mind: he got married. To the first available bride he could find. (Apparently, they grow them there in Texas.) Oddly, one of the ex American Idol guys happened to be at the hotel as well, and after falling instantly and madly in love, he and I, too, decided to get married. Sean's bride, however, was being a bit of a selfish cow and wouldn't let me borrow her dress, so that kind of sucked. Because how can you get married without a dress ... you can't. And I would have looked so lovely in such a puffy confection ... just like one of those dolls your grandmother has sitting on top of a roll of toilet paper, on the back of her toilet, for decoration.
All in all, Nils threw one heck of a party, and he said there wasn't as much damage as he expected and that he couldn't wait to do it again next year ... only he'd hand out MORE flyers and invite MORE people and go through MORE beer. I can't remember how many cases of beer he said he went through, but it was a lot ... as many as he had, we finished. So ... success all around. Thanks, Nils, for being such a wonderful and gracious host. You are the man, and we'll see you next year!
(Nils Stolzlechner, by the way, is one of these ski jump guys ... he competed on
the US Ski Team in 1984-85'ish ... I can't remember the exact details, but the picture
he showed me of him doing one of these jumps during a competition was seriously
impressive. Once he landed, there was a big hush, and then, if I can remember correctly,
the crowd went wild. Next year, I'll not only get all the details, I'll remember