Rio Vista Grand Slam

17 - 19 June - Rio Vista, CA


The Rio Vista Grand Slam was even bigger in 2016 than in 2015.
There were lots of stars in attendance and the event was well attended.
In addition to Jesper Verstestrom, Tyson Poor and Wyatt Miller who were already there in 2015, Philip Soltysiak, Arianne Auxes, Caesar Finnies and Kevin Pritchard joined the event in 2016.
The was a bit light after the briefing on day 1.
I went out to see what it was like.
Initially, I was struggling to make any ground upwind with the flood but gradually, the wind picked up.
Eventually, there was enough wind to race and we were getting ready for race 1.
None of my starts were very good but my kit was big enough to be powered up coming out of the jibes.
That helped me to gain a few positions.
The wind was picking up gradually.
I changed down sail for the third race.

That was a good move as the wind picked up a notch.
I was well powered up even with the smaller size.
We had four races but due to a mix up with the class flag (A or B fleet), one of the races was cancelled.
In the end, three races counted.
The free ride races were very popular.
It was great to see people you don't normally see doing slalom have a go at the figure of eight course.
Day 2 featured an autograph session after the briefing.
The organizers had prepared posters.
That was definitely a 'pro' aspect of the event!
The wind dropped around mid day like it normally does at Sherman Island.
Jean Rathle took the opportunity to organize a timed sprint SUP race.
We started from the beach and went around a buoy about 50 yards from the beach.
Some guys were really good at launching!
The wind never really picked up enough for day 2.
The racing was called off around 6pm.
The party started around 7pm.
The band was awesome.
We were even introduced to Susy, the saxophone player, before the gig by Jean Rathle.
That lady rocks big time!!!
Day 3 started with light wind again.
Never mind, one of the best feature of the Grand Slam is the kids race.
It's great to see the next generation of the windsurfers battling it out!
Sherman Island is the perfect venue for that with flat and shallow water.
After the race, Caesar Finnies taught them some cool freestyle move.
He was spinning the sail into the wind, stepping around the mast and catching the sail again like a boomerang.
The kids looked so cute trying it out!
The wind didn't cooperate so the event was called off around 10:45 and we had the prize giving.
The highlight for me was to finish 4th overall in the slalom and 1st Grand Master.
Despite the lack of wind on day 2 and 3, the event was a huge success with the parties, events for the kids, free riders, a great team of volunteers and fantastic sponsors.

 I'm looking forward to the 2017 edition.