I was fortunate to be able to attend this year’s Battle of the Paddle, not as a racer but as a spectator. The thought of cold water, unfamiliar territory, logistics of equipment, etc didn’t make me want to race. I had a great time shooting pics and video and got a chance to see a lot of the movers and shakers in the SUP industry. Then my camera battery died. Oh well. I know this took a while to post but here it is. I didn’t get that many pictures of the races because I was shooting video so if you want to see the races, please watch the videos.
One thing I noticed was that the Hawaii racers were really comfortable in the surf. I could see their posture change when they rounded the final buoy into the surf zone and when they caught a wave, they had an “it’s over” look to them. Slater was definitely one of them.
Aaron Napoleon was helping out others by carrying their boards. Since he always finishes in the top, there’s a lot of time to help out.
Jeff Chang from Wet Feet showed his tenacity by sprinting at the end. Check out the guy in the referee uniform. He deserves an award, free beer/food and a tip. I watched him save so many boards from damage by jumping, diving and lunging. Most valuable player goes to him.
Some of the Hawaii contingent:
It wouldn’t be a race without Sam Pa’e. I think Sam gets the ‘best attendance’ award. I can’t remember a race that I’ve been to that he wasn’t there.
Riggs Napoleon is already a force to reckon with, even though he’s only 10 years old. He paddled a Surftech Bark lie down paddleboard. I can barely even lie on that board and balance while Riggs stood up on it and surfed with ease (as you’ll see in the video).
Then he walked right off it at shore and ran to the finish line. The best part for me was when the announcer asked him how it was out there and he said, “It sucks that it’s so cold…” One more reinforcement for my decision not to race.
Speedo man must not have been affected by the cold.
The start line at the SUP relay race was crazy packed.
Zane sent in this picture of the carnage in the water.
Jamie Mitchell catching his breath during the relay.
Mark Raaphorst mentioned that the kelp was an issue they didn’t know about prior to the race. He said that he would pull ahead and then all of a sudden the others would start passing him and then he noticed all the kelp stuck to the rudder. He had to remove it by hand over and over which of course affected his time.
Mark still had and has a great and positive attitude. Here he is talking story on shore.
Pono Bill was there and went home with Mark’s F-18. Bill was pretty tired but at his age he’s doing a great job.
The F-18 that Bill got is a bit different from the one that I have. His board has sharp bottom rails and mine has round and smooth ones. His tail is more cut off and mine looks like the tail on an OC-1. I think his deck is scooped out a bit and mine is flat.
I walked around the booths checking out the gear. The beach in California has these handy built in barbecues and the only one in use was full of food. I knew it had to be the Hawaii guys and I was right. What can I say? Hawaii people love to eat. I ended up joining them.
The barbecue was between the Solo Paddle tent and S.I.C. booths.
Kevin Seid from Everpaddle on the North Shore of Oahu was there to show off his stuff and race.
The guys from Waterman’s Applied Science were kind enough to give me a hat to block the sun.
The Surftech truck.
The Starboard crew.
Boardworks and C4.
There were definitely some interesting looking SUP race boards there.
Here are some pics of the race course: