Battle of the Paddle
This is my first year to attend the battle. I have always heard about the event but never really got around to watching it. I'm not much of a stand up paddler in my spare time so it never really crossed my mind. I surf sano everyday, everyday, custom build anything and everything, go fishing in lakes, rivers, ocean, mountain bike, skate, everything. The list goes on but, there is no SUP involved in there, which is not a good thing. I have come to realize how hard it is and how good of a workout it really gives you. Stand up paddling works muscles you don't use in everyday life.
Long story short, Guayaki- yerba mate, sponsored the BOP event and Luke, the boss, asked me if I would try competing in the paddle event... "Why not.", I replied. Kept doing my daily routine and knew the event would come soon enough and really just hope for the best. (: I figured a nice egg and bacon breakfast would be great, which I found out later it was not, and got down to doheny around 8 am. Mens Elite race starts at 10 am and the Mens Open started at 1:30 p.m. Thought I'd stick around and watch the elite to prepare for my race.
Being so excited I somehow forgot I didn't have a board to ride in the race. Something fell through with a friend and I was board-less on that morning. Ended up asking the legendary Dave Bahne, from Invinity Surfboards, if I could borrow a board and sure enough I was out in the water in seconds trying out what was my very first racing SUP board. Weirdest board to the average surfer. Had characteristics I have never experienced before and really took some getting used to.
I was going to watch the elite race and get a stragety for my race coming up but it consisted of a completly different approach. Elite had a beach run on every lap where as the open does a constant, non stop, 5 miles of going in circles. I just had to pretend I was alone on the beach and just try to get to the finish line, first...? hahah
bouy turn- elite
The Open Race consisted of 4 classes of men and women. There is the 14'+ unlimited, 14' foot, 12'6" stock, 12'6" surf, categorized by age, all on the same course... at the same time. Over 450+ contenders, just in the open race. So you could only imagine what chaos took place on this course. I thought I was going to get trampled, run over, and passed by everyone. Really started to get nervous now.
Me and Dad- Clifford Brown
We were all lined up and the buzzer sounded. Each group took off a minute apart so somewhat stagger the people. I was sprinting to the water's edge full speed when I see a wave about to break on shore, stopped for just a second to let it crash, and popped right over and off I went. A few people seemed to have been smashed by the shorie (: which was a good thing for me.
start of the race
go kam, go
After the first lap I thought I was going to quit and suddenly something came over me and I had this insane boost of energy stamina, and the plain courage to keep charging. I fell over 6 times, which really takes the energy out of you, and thought I was in 100th place at best. I was kinda bummed but I kept trucking along. I was thinking I'd try my best this year and beat my time in 2011.
Blah blahh blahh I kept paddling and paddling and paddling. I rounded the last bouy on the last lap and out of nowhere, this wave pops up from the horizon. I see it forming at the reef so I just put my head down and paddle with everything I had. Somehow... I caught it. Passing people left and right.. vrooom vroooom ahhaaha I dismount on the sand and sprinted to the finish line.
wave to the finish line
(2nd on the left)
I threw up right when I passed the line. BLAHHhhhhHHHH. Everywhere. I was pouring water all over my head. I have never paddled that hard. I wanted to pass out but was so stoked and overwhelmed by all the finishers congratulating me. Everyone was super cool. Never been so amped to just be there.
Award ceremonies were held right after the race. Really wonder how I did.... "Mens Open 18-29..... 3rd place, blahh blahhh..... 2nd place, Kameron Brown... 1st place, blahh blahhhh." Announcer said. I can't freaking believe he just called my name. Ran up there, got the trophy, and somehow got to shake Gerry Lopez' hand.
I had the best time at this event. Good people, good times, good vibes. Everything turned out better than I even thought. Guayaki is stoked on me and now maybe I can do some SUP in the future and make some money? (: 2nd place in my division, 38th out of 450 overall, and my time took 1:00:41 or something close to that.
Cliff , kB, Bob
Thanks so much to Guayaki-Yerba Mate, for putting me in the event and huge thanks to INFINITY SURFBOARDS for letting me borrow their 12'6" racing hull, and if you're wondering.... it worked great!