US Nationals Competition: An update from Marion Lepert, Coolibar Athlete and Windsurfer:
I recently returned from competing in the US Windsurfing Nationals in Hood River, OR. This event took place on the Columbia River, a renowned location for windsurfing, where it is sunny and warm. I raced in both formula course racing and slalom racing classes and had a blast while doing it. Each day, we had three formula races followed by three slalom races, making for about 5-6 hours of total sailing every day.
Formula racing is done on big boards that can be sailed in 7-25 knots with fins up to 70 cm long and sails up to 12 meters big. The courses consist of a start, then upwind and downwind buoy roundings and then a race to the finish line. I have been racing in this discipline for five years. I was very pleased with my performance in this event; I finished 1st in the women’s category and 8th overall (men and women).
Slalom racing consists of much faster paced races than formula, and the gear is much smaller and done in more wind. The courses also have a start, but the rounding of buoys is different; they are all downwind and must zigzag through them to get to the finish line. I am still learning this discipline, but I had a great time racing in it at the Nationals. I had a difficult start to the event, still being uncomfortable with the format of the racing and falling on several of my transitions. However, I stayed focused and improved during the regatta to win the Women’s National Champion title.
Racing in the Nationals reminded me of why I love windsurf racing so much. Speeding around courses and trying to get ahead with tactics is a lot of fun, and the community of windsurf racers is very friendly and close-knit. I had a great time, but the event would not have been the same for me had I not had my Coolibar gear. I spent almost 10 hours every day in the sun racing, resting, or taking care of my gear, but wearing my Coolibar clothing helped me stay safe from the sun. I wore my Stash Pocket Swim Shirt, pink Long Sleeve Swim Shirt, Fingerless Gloves and red Sun Gaiter, all of which worked great and allowed me to focus on my racing, not the sun.