La Ventana Classic Starts This Week

It’s a good week for watersports fans
BY: LACEY STORER

If you’re visiting the tiny town La Ventana this week, be prepared for a lot more kiteboarders, windsurfers, foilers and SUP racers taking to the water for the La Ventana Classic. Hosted by Palapas Ventana and The Kiteboarder Magazine, the event will kick off at 8 a.m. this Tuesday, January 24 and run through Sunday, January 29th. Last week was the Lord Of The Wind competition in Los Barrriles, if you missed that, well, so did we. Don’t miss this one, the two are back to back.

This event has three goals: keep everyone safe, have fun and, most importantly, help raise money for school children in La Ventana, El Sargento, and Los Planes. The cost for one student to go to high school for one year is only $300, but even that is a big enough hurdle for some families that it keeps kids from getting an education. Since it started, the La Ventana Classic has raised a whopping $111,808 USD for the kids. Last year alone they collected $14,000 for school scholarships, and organizer Tim Hatler said the goal for this year’s event is to raise $20,000 for scholarships. If they do, and figuring $300 a student per year, 67 lucky kids will get a crack at a good start in life.

This year’s event is expected to bring together 100 competitors; pro foilers, kiteboarders, and sup racers, as well as amateurs who will compete in the sportsmen division that’s all about having fun. (Sign us up for that division.) According to the website, the La Ventana Classic isn’t a huge prize money event, but it’s still pretty fierce competition.

For those who aren’t up to competition level, there are multiple clinics available, so you can perfect your skills and still raise money for the kids. Amateurs can pay $100 USD to learn more about foiling and racing, the strapless board and freestyle kiting, and there’s a women’s fun ride as well. Those interested can learn more on the website at: http://laventanaclassic.com/the-event/clinics.

Once the races are done each day, it’s time for the parties! There’s something planned for every night of the event, including: a beach party with a giant Hawaiian luau, flame throwers and fire dancing, and the Mexican Weirdohs Surf Band; a poker run that will consist of a flotilla of 100 people floating 5 miles downwind, picking up poker cards off buoys and ending up at a reggae party to play their hands and win prizes; a bubbles and smoke dance party; a full-on rock concert with the Canadian AC/DC tribute band BC/DC; and finally, awards night. Whew! If the competitions aren’t enough to wear the athletes out, the parties certainly will do the job.

For those newbie La Ventana Classic spectators, there are three main races you should watch for: The Crossing, where kiteboarders are transported to Cerralvo Island and race 11 miles back for prize money; The Criss Cross, where foils and windsurfers race from La Ventana to Cerralvo Island and back; and the SUP 8-mile downwinder race from Rancho Las Cruces to La Ventana.

If you want to be a part of the action but haven’t yet perfected your watersports skills, Tim says they are still looking for volunteers and sponsors. Interested volunteers can email milena@palapasventana.com and sponsors can contact tim@palapasventana.com.

If that’s too much like work, just drive up to La Ventana near La Paz and lounge out on the beach to watch the action. Hey, we know all you had planned for this weekend was to sit on that beach blanket. Well, this is beach blanket vegging with an exciting show. For more information go to www.laventanaclassic.com