Summer race series takes grass-roots approach

June 22, 2011

The Cabrinha Race Series kicked off over the weekend with about 25 competitors battling one another, variable wind, strong currents and typical Columbia River chop.

The three-part series, which will run again Aug. 13-14 and Aug. 27-28, brings kiteboard course racing to Hood River for the first official race series the area has seen. Course racing a popular branch-off of the sport in other areas, and many hope to see it in the Olympics someday; much like sailboat and windsurf course racing is today.

But for Hood River, where conditions aren't exactly ideal for the sport, the concept was more about getting people on the water competing in a fun and friendly fashion than fostering Olympic aspirations.

"It was awesome to see everyone out on the water having fun together," said Kirsten Ulmer, race organizer and rep for Cabrinha Kiteboarding. "It's meant to be a casual, not very serious event, and or our first race, everything went great. It was especially cool to see some of our local kids out there racing together."

In the spirit of the grassroots style of the event, a junior class was added at the last minute after a handful of youngsters expressed interest in joining the fun. Lacrosse camp posed a scheduling conflict on Saturday, but due to lack of wind the race was postponed until Sunday, when the kids were able to clear their busy schedules and enter.

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