NEDLANDS 17-year-old Mani Bisschops was the fastest West Australian in the eighth annual Lighthouse to Leighton kiteboard race from Rottnest Island to North Fremantle in moderate conditions yesterday .
Mani, riding a hydrofoil that lifted his board above the waves, was awarded the Marc Sprod Memorial trophy when he finished fifth overall in a time of 21 minutes and 40 seconds.
The award remembers East Victoria Park kitesurfer Marc Sprod, who Mani knew, who was killed kiting at Dutch Inn, Cottesloe several years ago.
Last Saturday, Lighthouse to Leighton organisers postponed the 19km race of 140 competitors for a day because of no wind and thunderstorms.
Racers were eventually able to tackle the course to Leighton Beach in a 17 knot south-westerly yesterday.
Despite many international entrants, women from Perth featured in the female twin tip board division won by American Colleen Carroll in 33 minutes and 7 seconds, followed by Rachael Hughes from Shoalwater in 35 minutes and 51 seconds and Kathryn Davies from Coodanup in 36 minutes and 5 seconds.
South Fremantle’s Fabienne Bossinger was third in the women’s foiling division in 42 minutes and 16 seconds.
UK mother and son Steph and Olly (20) Bridge each won the race’s overall male and female sections on kite foils.
Race organisers said the younger Bridge was ahead of the fleet for most of the race, before finishing in 19 minutes and 34 seconds for his second win after another victory in 2014.
It was the fourth successive win for his mum, in 25 minutes and 12 seconds, three minutes ahead of the next fastest woman and 12th overall.
NSW kiteboarder Jordan Girdis won the male twin tip board division in 28 minutes and 8 seconds, followed by 2016 winner and UK five-time world champion Aaron Hadlow in 29 minutes and 39 seconds.
Fremantle Dockers captain Nat Fyfe, racing his second Lighthouse to Leighton, completed the race.
“In light winds it’s easier on your body, it’s different muscles to what I’m using playing footy,” Fyfe said.
The race record of 19 minutes and 3 seconds set by Frenchman Nico Parlier in 2016 still stands.