Being somewhat of a GPS geek, I thought that might be a good thing to add to the upcoming East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod. We had discussed adding a GPS speed discipline to the ECWF, but it is not exactly a natural fit, especially considering that we may not get good wind - and if we do, Kalmus is not a speed venue. But my lovely wife and ECWF co-organizer immediately pointed out one issue with freeracing: it might be a bit boring for everyone on the beach. Without a fixed course, direct competition between racers for spots is large eliminated, so spectators would just watch a few guys go back and force. May I say "booooring"?
Then we came up with the idea to make things more interesting: add a bit of freestyle to the event, similar to the Super-X races that the PWA ran for a few years. Here's the outline:
- Racers can pick their own course in the pre-defined area, and the total distance they travel during the race period (30 minutes, or maybe even just 10 or 15 minutes) is measured by a GPS they wear
- In the middle of the race area, close to where the spectators are, a few buoys define the "freestyle area. On each run through the area, racers who perform a trick will be rewarded by adding a "bonus distance" to their total distance.
- Better sailors are expected to do harder tricks - sail-body 360s are fine for newbies, but not for someone in the running for King of the Cape!
- Crowd-pleasing tricks will earn extra "bonus distance" - awe the crowd, and get rewarded! Bring your friends to cheer you on, and improve your chances to win!
- Only one trick per run through the freestyle area will be scored; competitors will have to sail through the entire area and turn around outside before the next trick counts.
That's the basic outline of our current thinking. I think this could be a real fun event, both in planing and in non-planing conditions. The details need to be filled in, but the idea is that a pure racer who does not do any freestyle would still have a chance to win - unless there's another competitor who's also very fast, but does a lot of cool freestyle during her or his run. Instead of having to pass the guy in front, throwing a few loops and Spocks will secure the victory!
We think this could be a real fun event for the competitors, but also keep spectators entertained, and show them how cool windsurfing can be. Let me know what you think!