Thanks to Starboard SUP we’re bringing you complete coverage of the 2013 Battle of the Paddle. Daily BOP insights, interviews previews and predictions all month long will culminate in LIVE updates all weekend on September 28th & 29th.
We’re just five days away from the biggest race of the year, the 2013 Battle of the Paddle at Dana Point, California. On Saturday 28th September the best of the best will line up on the shores of Doheny State Beach for the main event: The Elite Race.
This is the one race of the year that attracts the best talent and the most attention. The bragging rights that go along with an Elite Race title are unmatched. And that’s because it’s such a super hard race to win… Not only do you have to beat the world’s best in the Elite Race Final, but you have to qualify just to even get to the start line.
For the past two years the BOP has been using qualifying heats to manage the size of the Elite Race field. Everyone from Danny Ching to your weekend warrior lines up in the morning heats, but only the top 70 odd paddlers will make it through to the prestigious final in the afternoon. It’s always interesting to watch the Elite Race heats and see who’s in form, who’s playing it safe and who’s firming as a dark horse bet.
Generally the top contenders take it easy in the heats to conserve their energy for the final (unless you’re Danny Ching, who decided to make a statement in the first qualifier last year and win it by a country mile), though this year that might not be the most straightforward option: The most heavily stacked field in BOP history plus a new wave of hungry young kids will combine to make even the qualifying heats a tough affair.
But exactly who will be racing who in the morning heats? Well now we know what to expect on Saturday with a first look at the Elite Race Heat Draws.
Seedings are based on the 2012 Battle of the Paddle results, with the top 50 guys being split into different heats to ensure there’s no “heat of death” and that everyone has roughly the same chance of making the final. On the women’s side the seedings will be based on the entire Elite Race final from last year, where there were 22 finishers.
Odd finishers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc) from last year are in the first heat, while even finishers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc) are in the second. While this is designed to keep it even, anomalies and coincidences mean one heat is always more stacked than the other. This year I’m picking Heat #1 as the tougher of the two.
And of course this is just the seeded paddlers. There’s going to be another 100 or so unseeded paddlers in the Elite Race as well, including a few dark horses that weren’t at the 2012 event…
As we announced the other day there are some big changes for the 2013 Battle of the Paddle, with the main point being a separate Elite Race final for women. However: the girls and guys will still race together (and start at the same time) in the two qualifying heats, only the final will be separate. The first heat is @ 9am on Saturday while heat #2 is at 10am. The final for the women will go at 1:30pm with the men scheduled to hit the water an hour later.
NOTE: The *official* Elite Race heat draws have not yet been released (and won’t be until Friday) but we know the formula for the seedings and are pretty confident this is how they’ll look…
2013 Battle of the Paddle Elite Race Heat Draws
NOTE: This is just the seeded paddlers, there will be another 100 or so other competitors as well.
Men’s Heat #1 Seeds
Men’s Heat #2 Seeds
Bart de Zwart
Women’s Heat #1 Seeds
Women’s Heat #2 Seeds