Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest

13th-annual event draws top competition, will follow with amateur contest this weekend

— The annual Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest proceeded Saturday afternoon with an action-packed showdown that will be remembered as one of the best rounds the freestyle kiteboarding competition has seen in its 13-year history.

With sunny skies, near-perfect wind and a full lawn of spectators watching the Stevenson event, the pro men’s division was narrowed down in preliminary rounds to the top five riders, who faced off in a 15-minute final that ended with Best Kiteboarding team rider Chris Bobryk atop the podium. Starkites pro rider Nicholas Suriel, in the Gorge from the Dominican Republic for the event, finished a close second, followed by Liquid Force team rider Brandon Scheid in third, Jeff Andrade in fourth and John Perry in fifth.

The women’s division saw Stevenson local Shannon Gormley finish in first thanks largely to a few massive airs that were among the biggest of the day out of any competitor. Colleen Carrol, Rachel Callahan and Hood River’s Laura Maher rounded out the top four in the final heat.

The Blowout

Saturday’s event was followed Sunday by a blowout kite race from Stevenson to Hood River. With a points format that awarded not only fastest times but finishing together in teams, the four-man group of Brandon Shied, Kip Wylie, Mark Barnes and Jon Boersman came out on top with 60 points.

Individually, seasoned blowout veteran Cory Roeseler took the top honor as first to the finish, followed by Slingshot Kiteboarding team rider Eric Rienstra in second and Shied in third.

n Individual Blowout highlights are as follows:

1st Cory Roeseler

2nd Eric Rienstra

3rd Brandon Schied

4th Reo Stevens

5th Jake Buzianis

6th Matt Elsasser

7th Jason Slezak

8th Alex German

9th Paul Porter

10th Tony Bolstad

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