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Whistler kiteboarder fourth at KiteClash

Renaud enjoys competing in Squamish

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Rick Renaud went out to fly his kite on the weekend, but fell a little short of his podium goal.

At KiteClash 8 at the Squamish Spit, the Whistler product was the lone B.C. resident to make the final in the masters open freestyle event, but found himself in fourth.

"My second run was better than my last run. I just nailed a couple more tricks (in qualifiers), that's all," he said. "I have one trick that nobody's doing, the toeside backroll, which probably helped a bit. I nailed that one and nailed a back roll kiteloop, unhooked."

Renaud recalled he was going for some bigger tricks in the finals, but couldn't quite land them as he needed, which ended up being costly.

"I had a big crash and lost my board. I couldn't get back to it for about a minute and it cost me a lot of time in my heat. I couldn't lay down enough tricks to get that second or third spot," he said.

At 56, Renaud said he's about a decade younger than division winner Mark Koenig of Winnipeg, who pulled off tricks that impressed him. He was glad to see a healthy masters division, especially considering kiteboarding's relatively recent emergence.

"This sport came about 20 years too late for us," he said with a laugh. "We're out there still doing it because we love it and what else are you going to do?"We're not going to take up bocce ball or golfing quite yet."

Uncooperative weather conditions bumped the schedule back all weekend, and Renaud couldn't get on the water until Sunday's final day of action. However, once he did, the conditions were ideal, even if he didn't perfectly account for them at times.

"Conditions for me in my heat were light at first, but then a little more wind in the finals, a little bit gusty," he said. "Part of my problem was I didn't go for a smaller kite (in the finals), which may have been crazy.

"But conditions were quite nice."

All told, though, he said he was there to have fun and he enjoyed the camaraderie of all the competitors. As well, Renaud appreciated all who came out, noting there was an impressive turnout to watch on Sunday.

"It's a neat place to have an event because we have a grandstand right in front of where we jump for the freestyle and the big air," he said. "You're maybe only 10 metres away, so it's pretty spectacular to go and watch."

Speaking the day after the competition, Renaud was already planning on heading back to one of the world's most consistently windy spots to work on some new tricks like a dangle pass. He said a number of those who watched this weekend would likely want to get involved, and that they're lucky to live near a fine place for it.

"The spit in Squamish is an amazing site. The wind is very consistent if it's sunny," he said.

Renaud plans to be back in action at the end of the month, competing at WindFest on Vancouver Island's Nitinat Lake. He said he plans to enter the freestyle event.

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