February 1st, 2010 0 comments


Another great event comes to an end this past weekend.  Thank you all for your efforts in such a great event, I was honored to finish second overall. Until next year!  Damo


The 7th annual Jupiter Kite Invasion took place at kite beach in Jupiter, FL January 29-31.  In classic Invasion style, the event once again managed to take place with incredible conditions.  Cabrinha team riders Jon Modica, Damien Leroy, and Melissa Gil all looked like early favorites for victory in Jupiter, but anything can happen under a full moon in Jupiter and once again, the Invasion proved that guessing is fun, but you have to play the game.

Friday was a no go for wind.  Saturday morning brought gusty side to slightly side-off wind that was sufficient to run heats.  We got through 8 heats and had to call it quits in heat #9 due to light offshore wind.  We called it a day, but already we could see that on the men’s side, Leroy and Modica looked strong in their heats, and young Jaime Fields and Melissa Gil looked strong on the women’s side.  Sunday’s wind was epic.  The wind had filled in to 18 knots by 10 am from the North for classic Jupiter kite beach conditions.  The waves had disappeared for Sunday with some waist high sets finally coming in the finals heats.  Advantage: twin tip riders.  This year’s Invasion pit both freestyle and strapless riders mano-a-mano in heats against each other being scored on overall impression.  This is a tough task for the judges, but in the end the event was very fairly scored. 

On the women’s side, event frontrunner Melissa Gil and youngster Jaime Fields, both dawning Switchblades, seemed in control and destined to make the podium.  Both rode with confidence and assertiveness displaying a mixed bag of tricks including raley’s, raleys’s to blind, s-bends, kiteloops variations, big airs, and front and back rolls with grabs.  All of this changed in the finals, however, when the two women wrapped kites and were taken out of the heat early on and thus out of contention for an Invasion championship.

On the master’s side, more mature men from around the state of FL battled it out in a epic final heat.  These guys might not 18 any more, but they are fierce competitors and nobody wants to go toe to toe with them on the water.  Richie Gardner from Naples, FL powered to a victory on his Switchblade kite.  Richie’s monster airs and technical kiteloops were enough to eek him past the stiff competition in this year’s masters class.

The Pro Mens heats were stacked with big name riders that came to Jupiter to claim their stake.  The list read like a who’s who in professional kiting: Damien Leroy, Joe Ruscito, Tommy Fields, Jon Modica, Billy Parker, Alex Fox, and Jeremy Lund were all on hand and had a chance at the title.  Again, Jupiter brings surprises and 2010 was not to disappoint.  Jon Modica, easily the contest’s strapless favorite, bowed out early in the competition Sunday as he refused to give up his strapless surfboard for a twin tip and the wave conditions never came around to power his unique strapless style.  The big surprise came from the under 18 crowd.  The youth empire really took it up a notch at this event with both Brandon Bowe and Matt Collins, mere youngsters in this sport, working their way to the finals.  The two yutes brought the goods with super technical and powered handlepasses mixed in with some strapless riding.  Damien Leroy, as expected, rode very well mixing it up with mobe to blind, kgb, slim, front mobe, flat 3 etc.  The guy is sick.  Also on fire was Billy Parker.  Billy goes huge and is always a spectacle on the water, but has a history of failing to make the podium even though he is very talented.  The Pro Mens finals pit Damien Leroy (Cabrinha), Billy Parker, Matt Collins (Cabrinha), and Brandon Bowe (Cabrinha) in a celebrity death match.  Once the heat began, the experience of Billy Parker and Damien Leroy was evident and the contest was on.  Billy threw a huge kite loop with a handle pass at the apex and Damo answered with a couple handle pass variations.  Meanwhile, Matt and Brandon were battling it out with handle passes of their own.  Disappointment struck Damo as he rode too close to the beach ripping a screw out of a fin and having it turn sideways on his next landing.  The resulting crash and subsequent recovery attempt effectively took him out of contention to win it all, however, this was Billy’s day to shine.  Billy rode super well and produced a championship heat with his spectacular style and mixed bag of progressive freestyle tricks.  Meanwhile, Damo finished out on borrowed gear since he tangle his kite and ripped the fin off of his board.  Matt and Brandon put everything they could into beating their mentors with technical progressive moves like slim chances and kgb’s, but it just wasn’t enough.  Matt Collins even took a page out of Jon Modica’s book and was sure to switch back and forth between twin-tip and surf board during the heats.  Matt’s overall skills across all disciplines and Brandon’s consistent progressive freestyle were very impressive and these kids are clearly the future!!

Congratulations to Jeremy at Jupiter Kiteboarding for hosting yet another amazing event.  Also thanks to Neil H. for donating his efforts and equipment to the judging and announcing once again.  Congratulations to the entire Cabrinha Team for a great showing and to Billy Parker for winning his first Jupiter Kite Invasion Championship.  Lastly, a special shoutout goes to the youngsters at this event that are taking our sport to the next level - Go Youth Empire!!


Pro Men
1) Billy Parker
2) Damien LeRoy (Cabrinha)
3) Matt Collins (Cabrinha) tie

3) Brandon Bowe (Cabrinha) tie
1) Richie Gardner (Cabrinha)
2) Mike Carson
3) Victor Mathison