With the Moorings Yachts anchored in front of Mounu Island's white sand shores, the girls of this year's Cindy
Mosey Island Odyssey Vava'u swam ashore to receive a colourful lei of flowers from the island's staff.
It was the perfect introduction to what promised to be an amazing week of friendship, learning, kitesurfing and hopefully some close-ups with whales.
There are 28 women kitesurfers joining this year's odyssey. The professional riders - including Professional Kite Rider's Association (PKRA) ex-World Champion Kristin Boese - will compete for a share of US$20,000 in prizes which is the biggest prize purse ever offered to women in the sport. Today, Kristin won the boardercross division.
The ever-smiling Kristin was in fine form as she raced across the starting buoy line in a final with Poland's Ania Grzelinska and New Zealand's national champion Su Kay. Ania and Kristin were extremely close as they flew passed the finish line in front of cheering onlookers back on the beach but it was Kristin who crossed first followed by Ania and Su in third.
The Domincan Republic's Laurel Eastman was also stoked with her fourth place in the Boardercross.
Competitors from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the Dominican Republic raced around a course in sparkling turquoise waters surrounding Mounu Island in the Vava'u group of Tonga for a share of the prize purse.
In boardercross, groups of four kitesurfers cross the starting buoys together and jostle for position in an all-out race around a course of buoys and floating obstacles. They must complete compulsory manoeuvres in each leg between buoys as they race to cross the finish line first.
The action continues until Saturday and will involve two more divisions ? a course race and freestyle heats. Participants who are on the Cindy Mosey Island Odyssey Vava'u for coaching clinics with the professional riders are getting their turn on the water this afternoon, freeriding in the absolutely amazing setting of Mounu.
The sight of a glowing white sandbar linking two tropical islands and sky dotted with the crescent shapes of brightly coloured kites was an unforgettable experience.
The amateur girls linked up with a professional rider to inspire them and make the race even more memorable.
First to make it back to the island was UK-born Lara Peet followed by Australia's Lisa Hickman and Mounu Resort resident Kirsty Bowe, who hails from New Zealand.
The week-long adventure of the Cindy Mosey Island Odyssey Vava'u wraps up with a surprise show and prizegiving ceremony at the weekend.
For more on the CMIO hit up: www.cindymoseyislandodyssey.com
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