The Hobie Hennesseys US Paddleboard Championships were held in sunny, warm Redondo beach. There was a great crowd of prone paddlers and SUP paddlers which continues to grow like wild fire. This was a tough race to get ready for because I was fighting a pinched nerve in my back from a bad wipeout in Tahiti a couple weeks before. I went to Dr. “G”, Gary Arthur, founder of Health in Balance in Laguna beach, who is a highly respected Chiropractic Kinesiologist that works with several professional athletes in keeping them in peak performance for competition. He helped educate me about my body mechanics and put me through physical therapy and damage control and taught me how to stretch and listen to my body as I train. As an athlete; you are always going hard and sometimes you forget and have to really stop and slow down and listen to your body so you can keep charging at a high level. None the less, I still had a race to do and went for it anyway.
I paddled my Hobie 18′ unlimited race board and a new custom Kialoa race paddle (86″) long. The race started out with the usual rolling start where everybody gets so excited and keeps paddling past the start and then the horn goes and your off. I held the lead for a short while and good old Danny Ching starts grinding next to me and finally passes and I’m playing follow the leader.
After we round the first buoy, my shoulder starts to go numb and shortly after, then my hand. I struggle with getting a good grip on the paddle as i stroke on the Right side, but I am determined to keep going because that is what your stubborn mind tells you to do. I round the 2nd buoy and really start to notice a lack in board speed as Thomas starts to get closer. I give it all I have just to keep my sanity and start to have problems feeling the paddle every time I switch to my right side. I round the 3rd buoy with one more lap to go and I decide to pull out of the race. This was one of my hardest decisions to make, because you know you can do it yet your body is telling you otherwise and you think about your sponsors and fans and even yourself; how you let everyone down and you failed. This was a very humbling decision that I will never forget, but it was the right decision and I learned a lot about myself and what it takes to stay on top of my game plan and keep myself healthy to fight another day.
All of us go through this type of thing in different ways every day and it’s a healthy and exciting learning process that makes life such a great challenge to be the best you can at anything you choose.
I have been to Tahiti several times chasing big Southern hemi swells, tow surfing and paddle surfing and I have always dreamed of stand up paddling Teahupoo. So this trip was all about SUP and exploring the other islands and meeting new friends.
The Hobie Hennesseys Paddle race was held in Dana Point at Doheney state beach. The conditions started out with a light wind out of the North West and as the race started, it cranked up to about 18-20 mph making the first leg of the race a solid down winder. Then as we rounded the down wind buoy it became a major battle up wind and that is where I started to pick people off.
I paddled my Hobie 14′ Carbon race board that worked well in the chop and because of it’s shorter length compared to my 18′ unlimited, the board never got pushed around and was easier to keep a straight line while paddling.
I managed to bend my knees more and really crouch in the wind while paddling and that really helped in keeping myself focused on over taking some of the unlimited paddlers that were in front of me.
I managed to finish in the middle of the unlimited class and win the 14′ class again. I hope to see the 14′ class build more for racing in the future.
Rainbow sandals put on another epic event at San O which was an Aloha style SUP surf event with over 100 competitors in costumes, wigs etc.
The conditions were smooth with a dying 2-4′ ft swell that kept pulsing till the finals. It was great to see competitors from Hawaii and all over the West coast. The Aloha spirit was alive, great food, good music and super fun heats. There was huge SUP industry support where all the SUP board and paddle companies had tents and demos etc.
I surfed my 9’9 CP stinger and kept making it through each heat. I made it to the finals and battled it out with Noah Shimibukora, Tommy Loy, Leleo Kinimaka and Kyle Mochizuki in super fun high tide surf. We were all trading waves and having a blast, full Aloha Final.
1st place Noah Shimibura 2nd place Chuck Patterson 3rd place Kyle Mochizuki
This season, I was fortunate to start training with The Team California outrigger team. With my busy schedule, I had limited time in the boat, but the boys had confidence that I would do better under pressure while racing. I paddled in seat 4 which is considered part of the engine room and so I had no excuses but to paddle my butt off. The first outrigger race of the season was in San Diego and our 6 man crew raced a 12 mile open ocean course against 60 other teams.
We battled it out with Lanikila and got 2nd overall and 1st in the Masters division. the race was insane and nonstop paddling all the way to the end. Outrigger is all about team and you can never slow down or let your team down, so I learned a lot about pushing myself super hard to the end even though i wanted to quit.
I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the guys at Go Pro cameras and ever since I got those cameras; I’m like a little kid. I have been building a bunch of cool and funky mounts, so I can capture the feeling of the sport I’m doing.
I like to look at a shot and think how it was taken and feel the mood of what’s happening in the shot.
Watermans sunscreen put together a great 6 mile SUP race in Dana Point off Doheney state beach. Conditions were smooth with a slight South swell and Southerly breeze.
I decided to paddle a new 14′ Hobie Carbon race board to see how I would fare against the 18′ unlimited guys. Unfortunately each board class started a 2 minutes apart, but I managed to catch up deep into the middle of the unlimited class before finishing 1st in my 14′ ft division.
The race was well run, with a good crowd and all for a good cause.
The Malibu downwinder SUP race was an 8 mile race that started up by the Naval base beach and ended just North of Leo Carillo beach. The race started in the afternoon so that we could get favorable windy conditions to race in. As the race started, the wind was pretty non existent with a couple good small rollers, but a lot more paddling then gliding.
I paddled my Hobie 18′ unlimited race board witch is pretty heavy and has a rounded bottom for flat water paddling, but for some reason it could catch every little bump and i took the lead early and held it all the way to the finish; finishing 1st overall.
Sure enough when the race was over, the wind cranked up and a bunch of kiters and windsurfers took to the water to enjoy the good windy afternoon that we were waiting for.
Super fun, workout of a race and great food and beer was had by all.
Every year at the end of March, there is a race from Catalina island to Dana Point harbor (34 miles). The race starts in Avalon on the South end of Catalina and is open to OC 1’s OC 2’s surf skis and stand up paddler, with each contestant having a chase boat for safety. You could go solo or team. This year I wanted to paddle a 14′ ft hobie race board solo and found out that there were not enough people entered to make the 14′ ft class a strong running group, so I teamed up with Hobie team rider Byron Kurt on my old Hobie 18′ ft unlimited SUP race board instead.
The conditions were foggy with a 10 mph southerly wind and a combo swell from the South and the Northwest. The race started early Sunday morning in pretty calm textured conditions. As the race started, Byron pulled into the lead battling it out with another team for a good hour. We did our switches every 30 minutes to conserve energy, and keep a strong pace throughout the whole race. Jeff Alter from Hobie was our captain on a really nice luxury power boat that had a ton of room to relax and stay warm on when we did our changes.
As we got about 7 miles away from Catalina island, the South wind started to get really strong and churn up the water, making you have to paddle on the down wind side of your board 95% of the time. We paddled on one side for over 3 hours. Some teams were paddling towards the South and some towards the North, trying to get a good line to the Dana harbor. As it got rougher, we just kept focused and put the hammer down. I had some great tunes playing in my Ipod witch was in my H2O Audio case, making it easy to paddle with a fast stroke.
The last hour, got even rougher, but we had a good landmark to aim for, that put us right at the opening of the Dana harbor. As we hit the harbor enterance I switched with Byron and paddle the home stretch to victory. We set a new course record of 6 hours and 3o minutes.
It was a great race and congrats to all the competitors who braved the elements of the channel to make the crossing. Thanks to Jeff and hobie for a fun day of training….