ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Kiteboarders from around the United States are set to kick it into high gear as they skim and slide during the Islamorada Invitational ’10 set for March 25-29 at Whale Harbor Marina, mile marker 83.5 in Islamorada.
Dubbed the “II ’10″ and hosted by Islamorada’s Seven Sports, a part of Islamorada Watersports Co., the four-day festival attracts pro, amateur and everyday thrill-seekers of all ages who want to participate simply for the love of the sport and the rush of competition.
Newbies to kiteboarding as well as festival spectators have discovered that kiteboarding and paddle boarding are truly unique, family-friendly ways to experience the waters surrounding the Florida Keys.
Brad Lange of Seven Sports said the II ’10 is open to all competitors and spectators are encouraged to attend. The higher the winds, the greater the kite activities.
“If it’s blowing ‘east 20 [mph],’ that’s when it’s all going to be jamming —we’ll have more kites in the air, races and events happening. So, the windier, the better,” Lange said.
Kiteboarding events include a boarder cross, kite race, freestyle competition, park competition, big air and kite loop competition and an ongoing Overall Impression best-photo contest for interested photographers.
First-timers and those wanting to hone their kite skills can take advantage of kiteboarding lessons offered during the action-filled event.
New to the II ’10 is paddle boarding, or paddle surfing, a sport best suited to light- or no-wind situations. Short track, team relay and circumnavigation races around Matecumbe Key are planned for II ’10 participants.
Paddling demonstrations, fun paddles and group paddling excursions are to be offered for event spectators who want to learn the eco- and fitness-friendly sport.
Riders’ meetings are scheduled daily, usually at 9 a.m., with all ’boarding action to start by 10 a.m., weather permitting.
Food, beverages, music and entertainment are planned during day and evening hours.
Cost for four days of event access is expected to be $50 per participant, and includes a rider’s jersey shirt, watersports and beach activities such as a sunset pig roast and other parties.
Admission to watch kite and paddling competitions is free. Tickets to the beachside pig roast are $10 per person.
To find out about area accommodations, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 305-664-4503 or 800-322-5397, or visit the Web site of the Florida Keys & Key West at www.fla-keys.com.