HOOD RIVER — A formidable fleet of 12 turned out to the Sandbar Aug. 1 for the first installment of the Gaastra Gorge Summer Kite Series.
Event organizer and local kiteboarding innovator Cory Roeseler of Team Gaastra caught just the right amount of wind off the start to pull away from the field and win the Wells Island Circumnavigation in a time of 21 minutes, 11 seconds.
Roeseler, one of the sport’s pioneers in the Gorge, has a history of fast finishes, most recently taking second place in the 2002 Ford Gorge Games Blowout event. He also holds the Gorge Games Blowout record, which he set in 2001 using a pair of old-school waterskis.
The closest finisher behind Roeseler was Rod Parmenter of Team Naish, with a time of 25:40. Naish teammate “Euro Jerry” finished third at 31:30, while two Wipika team members, Jim Bison (32:30) and Rutger Ingberson (33:50), finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Jim Mason (37:00) of Slingshot and Ken Lucas of Cabrinha (41:00) rounded out the top seven.
Roeseler’s Gaastra teammate, Mark Ribkoff, was able to catch a gust, but his late start didn’t allow him to place.
“I’m just going to go as fast as I can in that direction, and when I catch up to everyone, I’ll turn around,” he said.
Ribkoff hopes to have his watch set correctly on Thursday when the Speed Trap and High-Snatch event takes place at Stevenson, Wash. Kiters jump near a rock to grab the highest ribbon from a pole, suspending streamers at 10, 20, 30 and 40 feet. The highest grab wins.
The series will continue Aug. 17 with an unscored season finale, the “Dam da Dam Downwinder,” beginning at Le Page Park at John Day Dam.
The second installment of the Gaastra Gorge Summer Kite Series will take place Thursday with the Speed Trap and Hi-Snatch event at Stevenson, Wash. Skippers meeting is at 5 p.m. and race begins at 6 p.m. Event is free and open to anyone. Call Cory Roeseler at 387-3984 with questions.