Check out an awesome highlights reel from the weekend, courtesy of Matty Schweitzer and the Starboard crew. This clip shows just how crazy/awesome/ridiculous the 2014 Battle of the Paddle really was.
I would have posted this earlier but I’ve been watching it on loop the past half hour. Yeah, there could have been more footage from the Women’s Elite Race, but apart from that it’s a slick little production. There are too many highlights to mention so just watch above and enjoy…
Though do pay close attention around the 4:03 mark – that’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in stand up paddling.
More than half the men’s field caught the first two waves in what was the set of the day. It was brilliant. Though spare a thought for the guys that were caught in no man’s land and who were mercilessly mowed down by the wave and the pack.
Oh and there’s a very interesting slow-motion section around 5:22, which shows the end of *that* incident between Kai and Connor in the Men’s Elite Race Final.
Long story short: Kai and Connor (along with Jayden Jensen and Danny Ching) were the top 4 guys that had broken away in the Elite Race Final. As they surfed in to the beach at the end of the second lap, Kai and Connor resumed their heated “Get Off My Wave!” back-and-forth rivalry that’s been going on for months/years.
Kai initiates the exchange by subtly fading Connor – basically trying to force him off the wave, or at the very least force him so wide that he has a bad line for the beach run. Connor gets frustrated, as you would, but his response is far too aggressive. Instead of just holding his line and going straight, Connor does a couple of sharp cutbacks (not easy on a 12’6 by the way) and after Connor’s second hard clash, Kai falls.
If things stopped there, the blame would have been squarely on Connor. However things don’t stop there… As Kai’s going down, he goes out of his way to grab Connor’s handle and take his rival down with him.
Some of the initial footage that came out Saturday afternoon made Connor look bad – he took quite a bit of heat on Facebook after the race – however the general consensus by the end of Sunday was that both of them were in the wrong and that if you really wanted to break it down to basic rules about sportsmanship, then both of them should have been disqualified (hey congrats Jake Jensen!).
I’ve actually got an interview with Jamie Mitchell that’ll come out tomorrow, in which the Aussie superstar gives his insightful take on the drama. Definitely keep your eye out for that one.
Anyway, this whole “Handle-gate” thing a very interesting sub-plot (seems there were a couple of those: don’t get me started on “Buoy-gate”) to what was an incredible story of racing in the waves at Salt Creek this weekend. I’m sure there will be plenty more epic videos, photos and stories of drama and intrigue to come out in the wash, so check SUPracer.com every day/hour/minute/second this week for the latest insights.
The “Battle” of the Paddle definitely lived up to its name this year…
Catch up on our full Battle of the Paddle coverage thanks to Starboard: