ORACLE TEAM USA sailors Jimmy Spithill and Shannon Falcone spent the weekend participating in the Red Bull Flugtag San Francisco. Along with guests Chase Kosterlitz, a stand-up paddleboard world champion, and Ian Walsh, a professional surfer, they entered Spirit of 17 in the astounding aerial antics.
True to its name, Spirit of 17 was constructed of pieces of the team’s first AC72, which suffered heavy damage during a capsize on San Francisco Bay last month. Parts of the wing are evident everywhere, and one piece is attached to two carbon fiber stand-up paddleboards.
Walsh, the big wave surfing legend, piloted Spirit of 17 to an early demise while laughing all the way.
“That was really, really fun. It’s not what I was expecting to do on my Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, but that’s the best Saturday afternoon I’ve had in a long time,” said Walsh. “I was just going to help them push and then jump off, but all those guys are built like horses and I was conveniently 100 pounds lighter than most of them so I became the flight dummy. Those are big boys, they’re strong."
Walsh rode aboard an ORACLE TEAM USA AC45 last week and got sensation similar to when he’s hanging 10 off Maui.
“There’s nothing like feeling that speed and control they have,” said Walsh. “It’s similar and different to big wave surfing. The similarity is how they anticipate what’s happening and read it, but I felt like I was flying. When they get up on one side and get going, it’s insane.”