Alex McKirgan takes 1st Youth Place | International Windsurfing Tour, Baja, 2017

A huge congratulations to our 2XS teamrider Alex McKirgan on his superb result at the recent IWT wavesailing event in Baja. It seems like just yesterday that he was doing a Rippers kids course with us… He has kindly written the event and supplied us with some photos to share with you.

The International Windsurfing Tour (IWT) wavesailing event in Punta San Carlos, Baja is one of the favourite events on my windsurfing calendar and I was looking forward to some classic Punta conditions this year. I was fortunate this time to have my whole family come down to campo so I could share this place with them.

The warmup week was also the Joey Sanchez Wavecamp, so I was able to watch and learn from the local ace. As hoped, the conditions were firing. A fresh southerly swell delivered logo high sets with it building to mast-high by the end of the week. Having started my training at the more mellow beach break straight off the camp, I sailed down to the Punta to practise in the contest zone. It is easy to see what keeps bringing people back to this place. You pick up a wave on the outside, drop into a glassy section and can easily make 5-6 hits before kicking out. I was using the 2017 Ezzy Taka 3s and my Quatro custom 76 Quad. It was great to feel how the kit performed. The Ezzy gave amazing power and neutrality on the wave to allow for aggressive bottom and top turns whilst the board (on which the 2018 Quatros are based) had great speed and turning ability. After a week of this, I felt dialled in for the contest.

With the forecast looking solid for the first 2 days of the event, the Pro Men and Pro Women were sent out. It was a great experience to watch the likes of Kevin (KP) Pritchard, Boujmaa and Francisco Goya showing their class. However, it was Morgan Noireaux and his new-school rotations that ultimately sealed him the victory. The other brackets, however, faced diminishing conditions in the rest of the week. In my Youth and Amateur heats, we had good wind but wave selection would be the real test, with set waves becoming harder to find.

The Youth bracket this year included 4 Japanese riders from Omazaki, including last year’s winner Takara Ishii who has spent his summer on the PWA World Tour in the Canaries. For the Youth bracket, it was a best of 3 heat format. Despite decent wave selection and one-handed cutbacks from me, it was Taka’s tight turns and aerials which gave him the lead after round 1. However, I was lucky to get good wave selection, find some critical sections and work my aerials in rounds 2 and 3 to take 1st place in the Youth bracket.

The Amateur bracket this year was also stacked with talent. I managed to come second in my first heat to Tom Ben-Eliyahu who has been cliff dwelling at the Punta since March! In my second round heat I managed to get some solid waves and take first place to send me to the semi-finals. However, with limited set waves and fading conditions, I was knocked out, allowing Jonathon (JP) Pooley and Tom Soltysiak to advance. The final ended with old-time Joliffe Road  veteran JP riding an epic heat: connecting waves from outside the Bombora all the way into the beach. JP took the final ahead of Tom Ben-Elyahu, Tom Soltysiak (brother of WC freestyler Phil) and Olivier Meline.

Thanks to KT, Joey, Elise, Noah and the Solosports crew for another epic trip. See you all again next year.

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