A lotta Regatta: Windsurfing event and music festival kicks off at Sailboard Beach
WORTHINGTON -- The sun was poking through the clouds and the air was plenty warm, but there was one thing missing from Friday's opening ceremony of the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival -- wind.Fortunately, though, the windsurfing events beg...
WORTHINGTON - The sun was poking through the clouds and the air was plenty warm, but there was one thing missing from Friday’s opening ceremony of the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival - wind.
Fortunately, though, the windsurfing events begin today, which allowed spectators and competitors alike to enjoy the warm weather of the evening.
One happy event-goer was 8-year-old Trey Jensen, who was enjoying himself in a large pile of sand for kids to play in.
“I’m going to take windsurfing lessons tomorrow,” he said excitedly. “I think it’s going to be awesome, and I’m not afraid of the water.”
Jensen explained that the windsurfing wasn’t the only thing that brought him to the event.
“I really like to listen to the music,” he said. Luckily for him, there was plenty of noise coming from the stage, as the performing groups were completing their sound checks and warming up.
Among the other sights, sounds, and smells coming from the various food vendors, Worthington native Jason Swanson was cruising around the water on his wind-propelled surfboard.
Though he currently lives in Minneapolis, he is not a newcomer to the Regatta in any way. “I’ve been here every time since it started,” Swanson said.
He was one of the first windsurfers on the lake Friday, but he said that he is not in Worthington to compete. “My uncle is one of the many people that helps with the event,” he stated. “I just free windsurf. It’s a good adrenaline rush.”
Swanson says that event will be enjoyable regardless of nature’s cooperation. “I think it’s going to be good whether there’s wind or not,” he said. “There’s great music, and it’s a great community event, but we hope there will be wind anyway.”
Another surfer who is by no means new to the sport is Randy Moon. Like Swanson, Moon is from Minneapolis and has been coming back to town ever since the first Regatta, but he says that he surfed on Lake Okabena before then.
“I’ve been windsurfing since the early 80s,” he said. “On weekends when there was a forecast for wind, we would come out here to windsurf. We would chase wind all over, and we kept coming back to Worthington.”
“The first couple years of the Regatta, we came just for the spirit of the event,” he continued. “I was free sailing, but eventually I started competing.”
Since then, Moon has been in the Regatta windsurfing races many times, but this year he is unable to participate due to a recent injury. Despite the inconvenience, he said that the competition is not what brings him back each year.
“I have friends here, and that all started out of windsurfing,” said Moon. “I’m just looking forward to hanging out with them.”
In addition to the music being enjoyable for spectators, Moon says that the competitors appreciate it too. “It’s always wonderful to be on the water when there’s live music,” he said. “That’s when you get really dialed in.”
Regatta race director Jeff Hegwer was optimistic about the event and the scheduled competitions. “It should be ideal wind direction, so we should be able to get the course set up at this side of the lake for people to see,” he said. “We plan to do three to four races in the morning and a few more in the afternoon.”
Like many others, he hopes that the weather will be cooperative.
“There’s a little chance of thunder, but that’s good for us. It brings the wind,” he explained.
Hegwer expressed gratitude to the event organizers, spectators, and competitors, and expects this year to be successful.
“We’ve created something that is unique, and it’s well liked by the racers and their families,” said Hegwer. “The entertainment really makes the difference because most windsurfing events don’t have it.”
Today’s windsurfing events begin with a skipper’s meeting at 9:30 a.m., and the racing will follow.