Welcome back to Paddlecast. I was really excited to release a two-part episode with Annabel Anderson yesterday and today. We had a great chat last week — I talked with Annabel for more than two hours about what she’s been up to over the past couple of years and her thoughts on the sport in general. But I messed up the recording and the audio got jumbled 🙈
I’m going to see if we can get back on the phone with Annabel this week (she’s a fascinating person). But until then, I decided to fill in today’s episode with a little “Storytime with SUP Racer”… → READ MORE
We’re just 48 hours out from race day at the Quiksilver Waterman Carolina Cup here in the sleepy-hollow-turned-paddling-mecca that is Wrightsville Beach.
With its mix of elite superstars and everyday paddlers combined with a festival setup and early-season “reunion” atmosphere, Carolina is always a special stop on the circuit. This year, however, the cake’s got a nice little cherry on top in the form of The Paddle League World Tour, which aims to give the sport a solid foundation and help support/elevate these classic races such as Carolina–the events that act as true pillars of our sport. → READ MORE
Mo Freitas has proven yet again that he’s one of the best paddlers in the world, outlasting an all-star field to claim the JM Survivor Race as part of the Quiksilver Waterman’s Festival at Huntington Beach today.
After several rounds of short, fast, intense racing in the signature “Survivor” format, Mo triumphed over one of the most-competitive lineups we’ve seen all year, with the hugely impressive Aussie and freshly-minted Infinity team rider Toby Cracknell finishing a close runner-up ahead of a who’s who of the sport. → READ MORE
One of the most highly anticipated new events to come along in a long time is just days away: The inaugural Quiksilver Waterman’s Festival, aka the Jamie Mitchell Survivor Race, is set to light up Huntington Beach this Sunday. There’s a plethora of paddling races on offer, including traditional prone paddleboarding, open races and a Dash For Cash, however the main event will definitely be the Survivor SUP Race. And what a race it’s shaping up to be… → READ MORE
While we’ve enjoyed a nice little post-Molokai pause in proceedings, it’s now time to get back into it and focus on the big races happening in the second half of the season, and two of the biggest are set to form a massive double header over the next two weeks: The Jamie Mitchell Survivor Race at Huntington Beach this Sunday, then the iconic Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, Oregon just six days later.
We’ll have plenty more to say about the Gorge next week, but this week it’s going to be all about the JM Survivor Race in southern California, which is shaping up to be not only one of the most competitive contests of the year but also one of the most exciting and innovative. → READ MORE
In what is a rather bold, unique and also very exciting move, Jamie Mitchell has opted for an “open board class” in the pro division of his Quiksilver JM Survivor Race, a highly-anticipated new event that’s happening at Huntington Beach on Sunday August 14. This means competitors can paddle whatever they like with absolutely no restrictions on board length.
12’6, 14, 18, 10 ft… Whatever you like. I think it’s a great move. It not only gives the paddlers more freedom, it’ll also encourage shapers to experiment with new board designs that are tailor-made for specialty surf racing events such as this. → READ MORE
Paddleboarding legend Jamie Mitchell and surf giant Quiksilver are planning a major new event in Southern California this August, with a strong emphasis on creating an innovative, energetic and exciting new race for both athletes and spectators alike, as well as offering a big prize purse that will no doubt attract many of the world’s best paddlers.
The event will see the return of the famous “JM Survivor Race” format, and is set for Southern California’s iconic Huntington Beach on Sunday, August 14th. The one-day event is yet to be officially announced but is apparently 100% locked in, so save the date. → READ MORE
In case you need some mid-week motivation, or if you just want an entertaining trip down memory lane, watch this four and a half minute montage from Quickblade, which features some of the biggest names and events in stand up paddling accompanied by a couple of iconic speeches from the wider sporting world.
Simply titled “Train Hard. Go Fast. Have Fun.” – the official mantra of QB Paddles – the clip is an interesting look back at the past eight years of not only one of the sport’s most iconic brands, but of the sport itself → READ MORE
Current Australian Champion and Molokai hero Lincoln Dews has just signed with JM Paddleboards, giving the boutique Aussie brand their first major stand up paddle star outside of founder Jamie Mitchell.
Lincoln announced the deal on Instagram last night, looking in frighteningly good shape ahead of the upcoming race season. → READ MORE
What are some of the world’s top SUP athletes doing in the off season? What they love most: Surfing big waves.
Jamie Mitchell, Kai Lenny, Mo Freitas, Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer and 7-time OluKai champion Andrea Moller were just some of the stand up paddlers to feature recently in a string of historic big wave sessions. → READ MORE
Less than 72 hours til the biggest race of the year, the Pacific Paddle Games. I get the feeling this event is going to elevate the stand up paddling world to a new level, and while this is the inaugural edition of the PPGs, the race is happening at the “spiritual home” of SUP racing, Doheny State Beach in Dana Point California, the place it all began way back in 2008.
Speaking of taking it back to the beginning: Quickblade. The QB team have been around since day one of the sport. Literally. Jimmy Terrell made one of Laird Hamilton’s first paddles over 10 years ago, while the Mad Scientist was himself part of the very early SUP races back in 2006 and 2007. → READ MORE
And so Downwind Month continues. At the same time Connor Baxter was winning his sixth straight Maui 2 Molokai race on Saturday, one of his key rivals in ocean racing, Travis Grant, was dominating the Cline Mann Memorial Paddleboard Race over on Oahu.
Perhaps it was symbolic that Connor crossed the line first on Molokai while Travis won on Oahu, as these guys are the two favourites for next weekend’s Molokai 2 Oahu showdown. Connor has won three of the past four M2O showdowns, while Travis is the 2013 champion and went very close to beating Connor twelve months ago. → READ MORE
So the Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race was held earlier today and won by Shae Foudy and Jamie Mitchell. Jamie took out the men’s 5.5 mile distance race just six seconds ahead of Chase Kosterlitz, with the two surfing the same wave to the shore before one last sprint through shallow water to the line.
Jamie won. With his surf life saving background and incredible fitness, Jamie is near impossible to beat in shallow water running.
The whole sequence was eerily similar to *that* finish up at Lake Tahoe a couple of years ago. However today’s finish in Santa Monica reminded me even more of another race…
Jamie Mitchell and Shae Foudy have taken out the Pier Paddleboard Race in Santa Monica today, beating home a solid field of paddlers in what is fast becoming an iconic event in SoCal.
The Santa Monica Pier Paddle is the race responsible for *that* photo sequence in 2013, when the event was run in very solid surf and carnage was the order of the day. JM, a big wave surfer by trade, probably would have fancied his chances even more if there was a similar swell for this year’s race, however conditions appeared to be a lot mellower and more welcoming for paddlers today.
Click through for full results and pics from the Pier… → READ MORE
Jamie Mitchell has continued to work his way back into the racing scene, putting on a vintage display to comfortably win the Davenport Downwinder on the weekend, an event hosted by the Ghostryders paddling club out of Santa Cruz.
Not only did JM win the race, he did it on a 12’6 while most of the field were on 14 footers. Equally impressive was Morgan Hoesterey, who won the women’s race on a 12’6 and beat 90% of the men’s 14′ field while she was at it.
The 5th edition of this iconic regional race scored some very nice downwind conditions, with the wind firing along the 16 mile course in Northern California. The race starts at Davenport Landing and heads south, finishing beside the Santa Cruz pier. Over 120 paddlers took part across the SUP, prone, outrigger and surfski divisions. → READ MORE
Woah… What a race. That was 13 miles of pain. I’m hurting.
Congrats to Danny Ching for muscling his way through this one and to Annabel Anderson for coming out on top despite a huge push from Jenny and Lina. Danny has now won this event three years in a row while Annabel has gone back to back in her first two attempts.
Click through for full results from all the races. → READ MORE
The SoCal SUP community came out in force on the weekend to support some good racing and a good cause. The 2014 Stand Up For Clean Water event was held at Malibu and featured a who’s who of the paddling world, as well as one very large inflatable SUP.
Hundreds of paddlers turned up for the 5 mile, 1 mile and relay races, with all proceeds going to the LA Waterkeeper charity, which is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance and promotes the restoration of local beaches. We’re just waiting on the official results to come through and we’ll have them updated below. In the meantime enjoy some great pics of the action thanks to OnIt Pro. Seriously, how many tens of thousands of race pics have these guys taken over the years? They Facebook’d 1,497 photos from this weekend alone. I kid you not: → READ MORE
So what do the world’s best SUP racers get up to in the off season? Train on their new 12’6″ prototypes? Practice their buoy turns? Do lots of dips & lunges? Well if your name is Jamie Mitchell, Matt Becker, Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Chuck Patterson, Dave Kalama or any of the other SUP racers who clearly have a screw loose, the answer is: Hell no, let’s go surf stupidly large waves instead.
I guess after six months spent grinding across flat lakes, surfing 12’6 race boards on 2 foot waves and riding bumps in the ocean that don’t even break, you might as well take it to the extreme opposite end of the scale, right? → READ MORE