March 13, 2022, Cocoa Beach, FL — This past weekend, foilers from across the country gathered for the 3rd annual Foil Surf Racing League event in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Team rider, Austin Kalama was looking good on his new Naish equipment! Primarily, Austin rode the Jet HA 1240 Foil with the HA 280 Stabilizer for added ability to pump in the smaller waves. This setup also helped him get up and glide quickly, which is extremely valuable in quick races.
With a simple yet exciting format, each race consists of two laps, which makes for quick and exciting heats. Racers line up on the beach with their board on the sand and take off running for the water at the sound of the horn. Once in the water, they make their way out to catch a wave in the take-off zone and pump their way across the racing zone to a buoy a few hundred yards downwind. After reaching the end of the race area, competitors then attempt to pump their way back to the start. If they come off of their foil on the way back, they must return to the beach and run back to the start to complete the lap.
On Saturday, the event kicked off early as there was a massive storm system making its way across Florida due to hit Cocoa Beach at around noon. The competition kicked off at 9 AM with the first heat of the men’s SUP who would race in a 2-heat, overall points-based format.
Kalama was on the 65 cm mast which allowed him to take off in shallower water and move across the race zone while other competitors were still making their way to deeper water. This propelled Kalama to take a considerable lead and he took 1st place in the race and secured a solid points lead.
The next race for Kalama would be the pro men’s prone. Again on the 65 cm mast, Austin was able to pop up and make his way across the course much quicker than his competition and secured his first heat win.
After getting through the first couple heats, event organizers put the competition on hold for the weather which moved in right on schedule with heavy rain and shifting winds to offshore which greatly hindered the surf.
As the contest resumed the decision to run the best trick expression session was called. By the end of the hour long-expression session, the offshore winds were greatly affecting the waves and the contest was called off for the remainder of the day.
Sunday was greeted with cold, side-off winds but slightly larger waves. This prompted Austin to go with a larger 75 cm mast to pair with the 1240/280 combo to be able to pump over waves.
His first race would be the SUP final which proved to be a challenge. With the longer mast, he was unable to get on foil and down the course with the large lead and would finish 3rd. This 1-3 finish for the SUP class would secure enough points for the 3-peat and keep Kalama’s winning streak in the SUP class alive.
The men’s prone races proved to be another factor. In the semi-finals, Austin ran a risky strategy and opted to focus on the inside line. Pumping down the course in knee-deep water. A single mistake could be extremely costly and cause the foil to strike the sandy bottom. However, Austin was able to make it across the race zone but be too far inside to pump back to the start, forcing a run back before making his way for the second lap. Kalama’s incredible skill and foil control made the inside line work for him and he was able to secure a spot in the prone finals.
Between the semi-finals and final event the wind completely shifted from light side-offshore winds to strong side-onshore winds building to gusts over 20 mph before the start of the final. With the changing conditions, Austin opted to go with his shorter 65 cm mast to allow for a shallower take-off.
Taking off in the finals Kalama went for an early start but unfortunately struggled to get on foil quickly and running back would prove to be a slower pace ending his streak as the back-to-back champion and finishing 6th in the final.
Overall, it was a great event and we are stoked to have Austin representing Naish. Stay tuned as his journey has only just begun.
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