This year Wet Feet is teaming with Blue Planet to bring you a bigger and better WPA National Race. The course is 7 miles downwind from Sunset Beach to Haleiwa Alii Beach along the famed 8 mile miracle coastline at 12 noon. This race provides WPA ranking points to entrants so they can compare themselves to other SUP paddlers across the US. Da Kine stepped up this year and became title sponsor and every age group winner will receive an $80 Da Kine Waist Hydration Pack as a prize. Don’t miss this big event. There is still time to sign up online: http://wetfeetblueplanetsurfrace.eventbrite.com or you can enter race morning on the beach from 9am to 11am. We look forward to seeing everyone there!
Its always enjoyable doing the channel because its a chance to think about nothing else for hours except accomplishing the task at hand while enjoying the beauty of the ocean. There is a bit of suffering (I’m sure there is lot more suffering for those racing to place or win) but there are also moments of extreme clarity as your body responds to changes in how it burns fuel and creates energy. It requires almost constant focus except when you are awakened by things like a dolphin playing with you and crossing your bow, whales jumping, or flying fish buzzing in front of you. Then you are reminded of how amazing this place is that God created for us.
This year there was no wind! At the start and the days up to the race I was very disappointed because I was so looking forward to surfing the canoe all the way across. You can catch and surf every little bump and its way faster than a standup. At the start the boat wakes did provide some interesting little rides and from 1/3 to 1/2 channel there were actually some swells to ride but from halfway to Sandys it was pretty lake like. Once at Sandys there were tiny bumps to ride and my boat captain Cory said there was wind at our back but I did not feel it. Cory took me on a great line. As you can see he made a course correction where I was heading too south. A knowledgeable captain is key. I was aiming for Kokohead for most of the race but you can see how the current pushed me north then the slight wind pushed me south. I know it was a good line because I passed about 5 boats that were south of me as we went from Allen Davis to Hanauma. I got a great wave at China Walls that took me all the way to poles and it was high tide so you could surf all the way in without worrying about the reef. So it was a pretty successful day, I got a good workout, and it was another great experience.
The Kanaka Ikaika Oahu Championships were held this past Saturday and our Wet Feet team did really well! Congratulations to our Race Readiness coach Jared Vargas for his first place finish, and to Anders Jonsson and Cory Lar Rieu for thier 3rd and 4th place finishes. For full results, visit http://www.kanakaikaika.com.
If you are looking for standup races anywhere in the world, check out www.allsupraces.com!
This past weekend was a busy one here in California. The Hennessey International Paddleboard Race was held in San Diego on Saturday, followed by the Tahoe Fall Classic 22 mile race on Sunday.
It was a beautiful morning in San Diego. Outside, the temperature was about 85 degrees and there was very little wind. The race had a 9 mile long course as well as a 6 mile short course for the 12’6 SUP class. Several Hawaii paddlers showed up including Kevin Seid and Beccy Cravens from Everpaddle, along with Jared Vargas and Nicole Madosik, two good friends of ours here at Wet Feet.
All of us paddlers here in Hawaii are really spoiled. It seems like in Hawaii, there is almost always some kind of wind or swell to help push us along as we paddle. Flatwater paddling is a completely different story. You earn every mile you paddle in flatwater, and our 6 mile course was a hot and sweaty one. Mission Bay where the race was held is a perfect place to paddle…big open water spaces, and lots of scenery to look at. For me though, the best part of the paddle was the last 1/4 of the race, where I had the chance to paddle along and chat with Joe Bark. Joe Bark and his crew always represent at races like these and were there in full force so that people could demo the race boards after the race.
Overall, it was a great day in Southern California. For full race results, click HERE…
After the race on Saturday, Jared Vargas and Nicole Madosik decided to make the drive up to Lake Tahoe for the 2010 Fall Classic. The Fall Classic is a 22 mile race across the lake. Nicole said that this morning the temperature was 35 degrees outside, and the Lake was probably not much warmer-a huge contrast to the 100 degree weather we had here in Southern California today.
I haven’t seen full results of the race yet, but I hear that Jared was the big winner, coming in first overall, and Nicole placed 3rd in the women’s elite division. Pretty good for paddling 22 miles at 7,000 feet the day after driving for 12 hours. Congratulations guys!
Next up is the Battle of the Paddle. I will try to keep this updated as everyone starts to arrive.
Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez
Battle of the Paddle
October 2 & 3, 2010
Doheny State Beach
Dana Point, CA
Ok here we go… the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of Paddle California returns to Dana Point at Doheny State Beach on Saturday, October 2nd & Sunday, October 3rd.with a celebration of the modern waterman’s lifestyle. This classic event is a stand-up paddle festival and exposition that includes a series of races and demonstrations for all ages and skill levels.
The Battle of the Paddle is more than an ordinary paddle race. For the sport’s elite racers it presents a championship-styled SUP race that offers the sport’s largest cash purse of over $25,000. For those just getting their feet wet in the world of SUP, it represents the ideal opportunity to learn about the sport, the fun, the equipment and the international community behind it.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2ND
Competitors: The world’s best SUPers.
Equipment: stock (12’6”) SUP boards.
Course: Multiple laps on a circuit that includes paddling through the surf and beaching equipment for a short, flagged sand course run. Approximately __ miles.
Defending Jamie Mitchell (Australia), men
Champions: Shakira Westdorp (Australia), women
Challengers: Recent Battle of the Paddle Hawaii champions Danny Ching (Redondo Beach, CA) & Candice Appleby (Honolulu, HI).
What to Expect: Tons of excitement, cheering, thrills and spills as the world’s best put it all on the line for the cash & glory.
Open Age-Group Race:
Competitors: Open to everyone!
Course: A friendly, fun and moderately challenging __-mile buoy course.
Equipment: Whatever you like! Including surfboard class, 12’6”, 14’ and Unlimited.
What to Expect: Last year’s Open Age-Group Race had the largest SUP field ever assembled: over 390 paddlers! This year’s race promises to be even bigger. Don’t miss out on being a part of history!
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3RD
SUP Distance Race:
Competitors: Mixed bag of international talent and local hopefuls.
Equipment: SUP craft categories 12’6”, 14’ and Unlimited.
Course: A scenic but challenging 10-mile course from Doheny State Beach to San Clemente Pier, and back.
SUP Surf Relay Race:
Includes prize money. Last year over 160 paddlers participated in the relays and had an incredible amount of fun doing it. Grab some family members or co-workers, maybe even a few new friends you’ve made on the beach and give it a go!
Free SUP Expo:
Meet the world’s best shapers and manufacturers, check out their latest board designs and paddle innovations and purchase these goods at steep discounts. Naturally there will be demo boards and paddles of all shapes and sizes available for those who want to perfect their stroke or even try SUP for the first time.
The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association will be organizing kid’s activities and expo throughout the weekend. If your kid is open to maximum fun, have him/her enter the Kid’s SUP Races being organized by Keli Outrigger & Paddles Sports.
Everyone who enters The Battle of the Paddle will receive a free pair of Rainbow Sandals, event tee and lunch. All event proceeds to go to the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association.
Whether you’re racing for the prize or just getting started, The Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez’s Battle of the Paddle is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the rich tradition of Southern California’s original surf lifestyle, and the dynamic new surf paddle sport known as SUP
Our good friend and awesome supporter Nicole Madosik crossed the Molokai Channel for the first time this past sunday. She did awesome, and wrote a bit about her experience…We couldn’t be more stoked and proud for her. Congratulations Nicole, we knew you could do it!!!….
It’s the day after the race and every time I think about it my heart races and emotions run wild. To my friends and family who are curious, these are my thoughts.
After completing the race as a team in 2009, I decided it was the best day of my life. Mostly because I had accomplished something that I never thought I could do. All it took after that day, was just a little encouragement from my friend and training partner Morgan to get me to commit to going solo this year.
I completed the race this year, and I am so happy. It was so different from last year though…and that is the story. Not to take anything away from those who do it as a team…because to accomplish the task of crossing the Kaiwi Channel is a great feat in and of itself. But for me, crossing as a team did not come with the gambit of emotions that came with crossing it solo.
I landed on Molokai with 100% confidence. I even told myself I think I can finish 4th if I have a good race. I had a 17′ Naish board that I know goes well in the open ocean swell which only added to my confidence. I also had a great Escort Captain Noah and good friend Holly who would act as my support team. Little did I know just how much I would need them.
I began getting nervous the night before. But I tried to hide it…I told myself that this is where the mental game begins…HERE and NOW. Control your thoughts and your emotions. I tried to remind myself that I had trained hard, had good support, good board, and that I was ready.
Just before the race start, I used the information at hand in regards to the conditions to make a call. I told Captain Noah to draw a rum line to Lanai Lookout and keep me North of it. That was it…the plan…for better or worse.
I paddled to the start cool, calm and collected. It was funny watching Riggs jump from his escort to his board with so much excitement. I wasn’t even thinking about what would soon come. The green flag raised and we were off. Oahu was not visible anymore so I followed the mid line of the crowd. Some paddlers went North, some South…I stayed in the middle.
My first contact with Captain Noah and Holly confirmed that I was north of the rum line and that was awesome news! I was starting the race right where I wanted to be. I felt good, strong and in confident. I was happy.
Faced with a large North East swell, I decided I was north of the rum line enough to take advantage of the swell and surf south. This was awesome and enabled me to catch some good runners and make up some ground. Then I hit the rum line. Time to fight north again.
The winds picked up…and so did the swell. Fighting to stay north became harder and harder. My emotion had changed to frustration. I told myself to relax into it…had fun. But with the wind and waves from my side, with few rides to be found, the frustration kept it’s grasp for a while.
After about 3 hours, Holly was feeding me and Noah gave me an update. I was North of rum line again and was 16 miles from Lanai Lookout. Okay…doing good. Frustration disappeared, and determination kicked in. I was making good time, atleast for my own personal goal, and all I needed to do was keep the pace. I was mentally “in it” again.
I turned to surf south. It was fun…good runners…feeling good…then the four hour mark hit. I stared to hurt. Fighting north again, I was feeling tired. I was only half way there. If I completed it, I would barely make it under the 8 hour cut off.
At hour 6, I fell, one of many good wipeouts, but when I kicked, my legs were like jello. Unresponsive and exhausted. I hauled myself onto my board, forced myself to stand up, and then I spoke aloud to my body…and promised my legs that if they would get me through this, I wouldn’t do it to them again. I looked at my boat captain and asked him to please kill me now. It was no longer fun. Koko head was clear but it seemed I was paddling forever and it wasn’t getting any closer.
Seeing my mounting exhaustion and frustration, Noah and Holly kicked into high gear. Holly was in the water with me telling me how proud she was and how this would be the best day of my life and how she know I could do it! Noah would yell from the boat and make me laugh. I wondered if they knew how much those moment meant to me and how they are seared in my brain. I hung on to them as I continued.
7 hours…Everything hurts now. My arms, by legs, my abs, my feet. But I am happy again because I know I will finish. I can see portlock point…and I am fighting to get there. I can’t reach the wall. Holly jumps in for one last nutrition and forces some vanilla pudding tasting stuff down my throat. Thank goodness she did…because it gave me what I needed. I rounded portlock point on the inside. I can see the finish! I am stoked…cut through the reef and am right on track. Then the headwind from hell arises. I see the building next to me with a red roof…I put my head down and paddle…I look up and the building is in the same place. I am not moving forward. I want to quit. I think of Morgan, and tell myself “if you quit she won’t be your friend”…I keep padding. I want to cry.
Somehow, I am able to pull myself to the far east wall. There is a lady paddler in front of me. I must pass her…because I realized that time is ticking…we may be the last two paddlers to cross the line and I just don’t want to finish last. I am protected from the wind now and this is my back yard. I know how close I can stay to the wall and stay protected. If I can find some strength, then maybe I will pull head. I put my head down and paddle. I pass her. I am now giving it all I have…I can see the finish…and she is right behind me. I think to myself…I hope she can’t sprint because I am giving every ounce of what is left.
I cross the finish line. 7 hours 52 minutes. 5th place female. Barely holding back tears of happiness, exhaustion, accomplishment, and love. Greeted by some of my most favorite people on earth…the welcome to land made it all worth it.
It’s Monday and I feel like I was hit by a truck. But I am so happy I accomplished it. I had no idea what I was facing when I set out to do it alone. It was a bigger challenge that I anticipated and the roller coaster of emotions was something I never imagined I would feel – elated, exhausted, frustrated, angry, tired, hungry, happy, determined. I feel fortunate that I was able to paddle with a group of some of the most accomplished paddlers in the world. My personal accomplishment was what made it worth it to me…it is what I had hoped to gain. I have now accomplished crossing the “everest” of ocean channels. And I know for sure, this isn’t the last time.
To my friends and family…thank you for all the love and support. Special thanks to Holly…for jumping into the deep deep waters and swell despite your fears to keep me nourished by physically and mentally throughout the race. To Morgan…you know I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for you – you are an inspiration. To Jared for being a huge support and training partner, even when you had to sacrifice your own training for mine. And to Jenny for your support and helping me find the board that would be the magic that would help me cross the channel. Jeff Chang…thank you for including me in all of your training this year! It made a huge difference.