Bridge of the Gods attracts top kiters

Kiteboarding really catching on

"Go fly a kite" has taken on new meaning among watersports enthusiasts the past few years.

Kiteboarding has reached the peak of its popularity -- never more evident than at last month's Gorge Games -- and has begun catching on all over the world.

The sport will continue its asÿcent Saturday, Aug. 11, as the second annual Bridge of the Gods Kiteboarding Festival blows into Stevenson, Wash.

"We are stoked to have the event in Stevenson again," event organizer Floyd Wilkes said. "We want both a great competition and to create interactive opportuÿnities for spectators and sponÿsors."

Wilkes said this year's festival has received an outpouring of community and corporate supÿport from sponsors such as Naish Kiteboarding, Slingshot, Wipika, the Port of Skamania, Xtracycle, Ikiteboard.com, Storm Warning and New Wind Kiteboarding School. As a result, the athletes will be competing for purse monÿey and prizes valued at more than $3,000.

Headlining this year's competiÿtion are Gorge Games Blowout champions Cory Roeseler of White Salmon, Wash., and Renee Hanks of Arcata, Calif., the first woman ever to finish the event.

Roeseler, one of the sport's originators, defeated kiteboarding mogul Flash Austin at the 2001 Gorge Games with a record Blowÿout time of 47:51. Hanks, who is spending the summer training in Stevenson, won first place at last year's Bridge of the Gods.

Other local athletes registered to compete are Mark Doyle, Ken Winner, David Tyburski, Gary Reed, Stacey Boggs, Karen Burekÿer and Barb Smith, among others.

Also scheduled to appear is 2000 Bridge of the Gods winner Adam Koch, although he will not compete. The Seattle native and men's freestyle kiteboardÿing champ at this year's Gorge Games will instead be judging the event.

Bridge of the Gods is open to the public and features an exÿpression session format to deÿtermine the winners. The event will be held at Stevenson's East Point, just east of Bob's Beach on the waterfront.

Athletes must preregister and can find more information online at www.freestyle.tv or by contacting Wilkes at floyd@freestyle.tv or (509) 427-5156.

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