World Ice and Snow Sailing Championship and Sturgeon Stampede on Winnebago

ICESAIL_1By Michael Casper

Elite kiteboarding athletes from around the world will gather on the shores of Lake Winnebago, February 9-14 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to compete in the World Ice and Snow Sailing Championship (WISSA).

This will be the 35th Annual Championship and is the longest running international racing venue in the history of windsurfing, hand held sleds and kites. Last year the competition was held in Russia.

“We are extremely proud and honored to have been selected as the site for WISSA 2015,” said Craig Molitor, President/CEO of the Fond du Lac Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We, along with our co-hosts – the Winnebago Association of Kiteboarders (WAK) and Wind Power Windsurfing Kiting Center, have been working on this for over a year and will be ready to welcome these athletes and spectators to our community. This celebrates our time honored sport of sturgeon spearing and recognizes that Fond du Lac and Lake Winnebago are a winter playground.”

Dan Deuster is the President of WAK. “February 9th the competitors will begin testing their rigs for the lake’s condition,” he said “and we’ll have a practice race. That night the Fond du Lac Yacht Club was kind enough to open its doors for our opening reception. Then Tuesday through Saturday it’s race, race, race!”

KITE_3There will be all versions of competition; kite, wing, sail, course, speed drags, and free-style each day.

Thus far registrants are from Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the US.
“Team Sweden is comprised of both men and women racers,” Dan said “they are a team of six who race in this world competition every year.”

How did Lake Winnebago and the Sturgeon Stampede catch the interest of this world wide organization?

“For the past few years,” Dan explains “several of their board members, one from Canada, one from New Hampshire, and one from Latvia have been coming to the Sturgeon Stampede, either competing or just observing, and they were impressed with what we’ve organized over time. You know, these athletes come from all over the world, and they don’t come for a party or a festival…they’re here to compete and race.”

But while the athletes are focused on the competition, there will be an abundance of fun for all to experience with the 26th Annual Sturgeon Stampede, a winter outdoor festival, Thursday, February 12 through Sunday, February 15.

“The entire week of competition and fun all takes place about a half mile off shore,” Dan said “and you can drive onto the lake at Sunset Grill and Bar, or Clarence’s Harbor.”

Volunteers are needed to assist these activities throughout the week on land and off the shores of Roosevelt Park on Lake Winnebago. Jobs include assistance with the set up of the opening and closing receptions, assistance at the races, judging, registration, shuttle drivers, food & beverage servers at the food tent on the ice, runners, and facility maintenance. Volunteers will be given food and beverage tickets during their shifts.

To learn more about these volunteer positions contact the WISSA Volunteer Coordinator, Lori Bohn at 920-373-7557 or

KITE_9“We have team riders from Ozone and Naish – two huge Kite companies in our sport,” said Kevin Gratton, WISSA 2015 Race Director and owner of Wind Power Wind Surfing Kiting Center. “Our conditions on the lake off the shore of Roosevelt Park are great for the event and we anticipate good winds for the competition. In addition to Ozone and Naish Vendor Sponsors include Attitude Sports, Hiberna Boards brought to us by Fish Lake Iceboards, Kitewing LLC, Slingshot and Xensr. The vendors will have booths in our tent on the ice and many of them will offer demonstrations.”

“Friday night the band D-Willy and the Souvenirs will play,” Dan said “and we’ll crown our Sturgeon Queen which is a competition open to any and all, the only requirement is having an open mind (laugh).”

Ed Schneider is Deuster’s business partner in Do-It-All Sports, and Vice President of WAK. “When the Stampede began years ago, wind propulsion wasn’t part of it,” Ed said. “It actually began as a mountain bike race from Gladstone Beach to the Lakeside Park lighthouse, and back. Eventually it all morphed into a windsurf and kite event. Having worked on this for nearly a year in conjunction with the Fond du Lac Visitor’s and Convention Bureau who has been a great partner, we won the bid to host and we’re excited about all of it!”

The traditional bonfire and fireworks will take place after dusk on Friday, February 13.

“There’s nothing like a fireworks show on the lake,” Dan said “the way the sky lights up and reflects off the snow and ice, if you’ve never seen something like it, I urge you to come out…it’s spectacular! And Saturday and Sunday are our family-days with broom-ball and ice bowling, tetherball, bag toss, ice skating, food, there’ll be an ice-bar…you can try kite boarding. Fun for all.”

Saturday will be the final day of competition.

“It will be a meld of WISSA and the Stampede,” Dan said “It’s a short day of racing which may wrap up around 2pm, but it will be followed by the ‘big-air’ kite jumping competition. We’ll be trying to jump as high as we can. We’ll have XENSR sensors which measure glide path, height, and hang time.”

Other new events for Saturday morning will be a “Spear the Fatty” Bike Race and “Bootie Adventure Obstacle Run” organized by DuTriRun.

For a complete schedule go to and for more information contact Gloria West at

Media Partners for the event are Action Reporter Media and WTCX and Sunny 97-7 radio. The Host Hotel is the Retlaw Plaza Hotel. The main sponsor of the event is Altmeyer Electric.

Partners include: Best Buy, Do-It-All Sports Arena, Flyway Sign and Graphics, Fondy”s Sports Park, Fred’s Fastrac Sales, Kreuziger Drainage LLC, Red Bull, Miller Coors, Joe Stoppleworth, Sunset on the Water Grill & Bar, and Trademark Construction.

Friends of WISSA2015 are Denis and Company, Dale Jenkins, Festival Foods, Fond du Lac Police Department, Fond du Lac Yacht Club, MW Tighe Roofing and the Spice Crate.

For information about sponsorship contact Dan Deuster at or call 920-960-9676.

Media inquiries should be directed to WISSA Event Manager, Mary Denis at 800-937-9123×114 or

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin is located one and a half hours north of Milwaukee at the foot of Lake Winnebago. The Fond du Lac Convention & Visitors Bureau is the destination marketing organization that promotes Fond du Lac area as an overnight destination for groups, businesses, and the leisure visitors, thereby enhancing the local economy. For more information go to or call 920-923-3010.

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