Kites, sharks, snakes
By Steve Spinks
WHEN they call kitesurfing an extreme sport, they're not kidding.
The 78 competitors at the weekend's Lennox Head Kite Classic at Seven Mile Beach not only had to contend with a howling northerly wind yesterday but also packs of sharks - and a brown snake.
Who said sport was boring?
Competition was shortened on Saturday after a pack of tiger sharks closed Seven Mile Beach for three hours and a lack of wind kept competitors out of the water for the rest of the day.
However, conditions were perfect yesterday with a strong northerly so nine hours of competition was compacted into the first day of daylight saving.
"There were still sharks out there today," one of the organisers said.
"Apparently a couple of great whites, which is what some of the competitors said, and there was a brown snake as well.
"As long as the sharks aren't floating around on the surface it's fine."
And as long as you don't fall off your board!
Gold Coast kitesurfer Paul Jackson prevailed in the open men's category, defending the title he won last year.
Jackson's superior surfing style proved the difference in a strong field where defending Australian champion Aaron Jarman, of the Sunshine Coast, was knocked out early.
Lennox Head's Shaun Craike, who finished third, was the highest placed local.
The women's division was won by Marine Sudre of Sydney with Byron Bay's Michelle Linkhorn second.
Locals fared better in the Over-35s.
Ash Woolley, of Ballina, won the division while Eric Groenewoud (Lennox) and Peter Gallop (Ballina) filled the minor placings.
In the legends division, Over-45s, Lennox's Bill Hession claimed fourth behind Kevin Johnson of the Sunshine Coast.
The Under-18s was an all Sunshine Coast affair with Scott Johnson, Andy Yates and Keahi De Aboitiz claiming the placing.
Johnson's win secured a father-son double for the Sunshine Coast family.
All the winners from the Lennox Head Classic, which doubles as the NSW and Queensland championships, earn the right to contest the Australian championships at Port Macquarie in February.
Hopefully, Port Macquarie will be shark and snake free!