Renaud second at KiteClash 7 

Fellow Whistlerite Lamothe also podiums in third

click to enlarge PHOTO BY RICK MELOFF - RISING UP Rick Renaud (right) took second in the amateur men's division at KiteClash 7.
  • Photo by Rick Meloff
  • RISING UP Rick Renaud (right) took second in the amateur men's division at KiteClash 7.

A year after making a critical mistake in selecting too small of a kite for the Kite Clash masters finals, Whistler's Rick Renaud was on track this year.

Competing in a brand-new amateur men's division, Renaud took second to Corey Coons en route to hitting the podium on Aug. 24.

"In the finals for the amateurs, I picked the right-sized kite, and everything lined up," he said. "I just nailed all my tricks, basically, and I only had one yard sale. That was good, because when you have a big yard sale, it takes so much time to get back on your board and the next thing you know, the heat's over."

Renaud's success came from the diversity of tricks he displayed to the judges, who liked what they saw down at the Squamish Spit.

"It's about nailing a lot of tricks, a lot of different types of tricks," he said. "My coach and a couple of the judges said that I had a bigger variety of tricks that I laid down compared to some of the other guys. Variety is something they're trying to see."

Renaud has a unique trick in his arsenal, the toe-side back roll, which he performs inverted and high, though he boasts an array of moves.

"I've been working on unhooked tricks. I've been nailing the M-16, also known as an unhooked backroll kite loop. Same thing with a front roll or an S-mobe," he said. "When you do those tricks, you end up getting way more points than when you're hooked in.

"When you're an amateur, unhooked is a big deal. I'm still working on my handle pass, trying to do a surface pass."

Renaud explained that riders' rounds typically get more difficult as the heat elapses as they look to bank points before moving on to riskier efforts in the event that something does go wrong. However, it can be difficult to stack the tricks over the course of the run, especially with numerous other athletes out there at the same time.

"Trying to get all your tricks in, you've got the weather to deal with, you've got other kiters—sometimes they crash in front of you. We try to jump in a small area. We're going around in a circle where there's five or six guys," he said. "We're all following this pattern, you jump in the same area, and if somebody crashes, then you need to bail and do a different trick."

However, Renaud was foiled in the masters event once again by a small kite. He noted that wind conditions were changing fairly regularly throughout the day, and the competition was held during a lull.

"I went out there with too small a kite. It was a whole two sizes too small for me," he said. "That was the difference. I couldn't perform my tricks because I was drastically underpowered. It didn't even give me the chance, really.

"You have to pick the right kite. That's trick No. 1."

Renaud added that he was excited to see top pros such as Aaron Hadlow from the United Kingdom competing. Renaud got to go head to head with the pros in the big air competition, which was an enjoyable facet of the weekend, and he also appreciated getting advice from some of the world's best.

Also competing this weekend was Whistler's Rachelle Lamothe, who placed third in the amateur women's event.

For more information on the event, visit kiteclash.ca.

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