Monday, October 26, 2009

Battle of the Paddle 2009

Dave Chun of Kialoa Paddle Company (we sell their paddles) sent us his report of the Lopez Battle of the Paddle race:

Day One of the Gerry Lopez Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle:

While some will want to use the clich├ęs “Super Bowl of Stand Up Paddling” to describe the Gerry Lopez Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle, I think “Super X of SUP” is a better description for yesterday’s rough and tumble elite race. Gerry’s motorcycling roots were evident in the winding course laid out by the evil genius.

The course was an in and out affair, taking the racers through the surf zone and into a shallow section referred to by the locals as the Bone Yards. While twisty and technical, a healthy south swell breaking the length of the bay proved to be the triple jumps of the day. I thought the first buoy turn was going to be a cluster f*#k. I was wrong. Mother nature thinned the herd by sending a timely set of waves at the mass. Rider-less 18’ unlimited boards mow a wide path. If the sprint out through the surf didn’t get the heart pumping, I am sure having a carbon fiber missile firing at your legs surely did. Karen Wrenn from Portland, Oregon, had asked my opinion on wearing a lease. I told her a lease would complicate remounting the board if she took a spill. 30 seconds into the race and I’m thinking “man, that was some bad advice”.

Aaron Napoleon and Chuck Patterson had great starts and my fingers were crossed for a 1 and 2 Kialoa finish. My 2010 advertising campaign was quickly smashed as my friends crashed in a pack which included Danny Ching, Slater Trout, and Jamie Mitchell. It was a mad scene as some of the best big wave riders in the world participated in what looked like a surfing lesson at Waikiki. My head was buried in my camera and I didn’t catch the order of finish, but I know Jamie won.

My classic moment of the day was watching Aaron longboard his way to the finish on his last wave. Aaron looked like the Duke as he carved his way “right” though the finish line was to the left.

A side note: Kialoa Paddlers Vicki Mills and Beau Whitehead met for the first time at the local Immediate Care. Vicki needed a few stitches for her head wound; Beau has a new scar on his wrist.

Aloha, Dave

P.S. While the order of finished was definitely “altered” by a rider’s position on the course when the sets came rolling in, Jamie Mitchell was clearly the best this day. If the condition had been dead flat, I believe he still would have powered away from the pack.

www.StandUpPaddleFlatwater.com

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