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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

 

Puerto Rico SUP Run - 11/15/2009 By EJ Johnson

EJ was kind enough to send us this great account of his recent visit to Puerto Rico (with wifey Andie) to compete in Puerto Rico's 1st Pro SUP event (7.5 mile San Juan SUP Run)...

Images courtesy of EJ...





The San Juan, PR SUP Run - 11/15/2009 By EJ Johnson


I am so stoked to have been able to participate in the First Annual Velauno- Pro SUP Run in the beautiful and exotic Puerto Rico , from the flat protected waters of Condado Lagoon to the challenging Atlantic.

31 Elite paddlers from the Virgin Islands, Florida, California, and Puerto Rico, were put to the test during this 7.5 mi. part lagoon and part open ocean challenge.
The start was 9:30 am sharp, and for once the start was clean, because the racers were warned if you jump the line you will be penalized 5 minutes.



We headed east for 100 meters and made a 90 degree right turn under the low highway bridge, and were greeted by some solid overhead surf.



I made it through no problem, but you had to be very careful not to cut inside of the reefs.
I was lucky to have had a great start with Puerto Rico's premier waterman Adrian Garcia.

I let Adrian get in front of me a bit, so I could use his local knowledge to keep the right line.



It was so beautiful, seeing old historical sites and reefs, that are so alive and clean, it was tough to concentrate on paddling hard.



I was going good for about 2.5 mi., when the heat (90 F.) along with high humidity set in.

My lungs felt like I was inhaling concrete , it was so hard to get air. I am very lucky to have the best sunscreen known to mankind!
( Watermans Applied Science) Thanks Pete and Macon for the P.R hats, everybody was stoked on those.

I started to get a little dizzy and vertigo'd out, so I had to bring down the pace to 60% (around 40 strokes per minute)

One big mistake I made, was no hydration, typically I don't use any for races under 10mi. Although this race should have been he exception given the temp.

The Island was blocking the South wind ,which is normally out of the East and would have made for the ideal downwind condition that my (New) Starboard 23.5 just kicks into overdrive, reaching up into the 8.5 mph range.

I finally reached the San Juan bay entrance, and was greeted by calmer waters and a cooling south wind.



At this point Adrian is about 75 meters ahead of me, and to his advantage on his Bark 14' in the flat harbor water.

I was able to kick up my pace, but in a paddle board race, there is no such thing as "I'll catch um later"

Once you let your competition get ahead of you, it's almost impossible to catch them, unless they fall, or hit the wall.

We now were passing the docked cruise ships and million dollar private sport fishing boats.

I was still feeling the heat, so I quickly downed my last Hammer gel/with caffeine, and grinded out the last 3 miles.
It was definitely a long 7.5 mi. for me. I could see and hear Adrian hit the beach for the short spectator run, he was greeted with much Aloha and support from friends and family.

When I came in, I was Stoked that people I didn't even know, were cheering me on, and telling me to run faster(which I couldn't, but I played it off).
I high-fived everybody, and headed straight for the turquoise water to lower my body temp.

I downed three waters and relaxed into a state of total chill.
I cheered on all the other guys and gals, while talking and letting folks try my board out.

All in all , I had a great race , winning the 12' 6" class , and 2nd overall in the Elite division.

My wife Andie, also enjoyed in a 1st place win herself, in the Weekend Warrior division on a borrowed board, but she remembered to bring her favorite Starboard carbon Wave model paddle.





The kids race was full of smiling faces, and also of young warrior game face.

We were settled in watching the kids go at it, when a giant wall of blackness envoloped the whole Island.

First, there was light rain, then heavy, now a full on tropical down pour with thunder and lightning.

In California, this would have immediately canceled the whole event, but Puerto Rican people just kept with the flow, hoping that it would subside.

Mother Nature had her own idea, and that was to keep raining.
The race director and Velauno shop owner Jaime Torres, told me by the time they finally packed up, there was two feet of water surrounding the tents.



It rained the rest of the day and all of the next day too, but I guess that is why P.R is so green and lush.



We had an awesome time there, and were shown much Aloha, by the locals, and especially Jaime Torres and the Velauno staff.

Definitely put this event on your calendar for next year It will be Bigger and Better.

Many Thanks to Svein, Margareta and the entire Starboard family.

Thanks to my other sponsors :QuickBladePaddles/KreedEyeWear/Honolua/WatermansAppliedScience/OnItPro/Trunq/CurtisFins/ Wardog and Deb
at SUPSports. And of coarse Brian Szymanski of North County Paddleboards for the fastest boards on the planet!

Respectfully

EJ Johnson.




Vaya con Dios...





Bien hecho EJ & Andie!!!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

 

More 2009 Battle of the Paddle Pics

Here's another round of images from the 2009 Battle of the Paddle...130 or so images...
Still lots more editing to do...

EJ heading home to victory after making the buoy turn at the halfway mark...



Distance race shot from the end of San Clemente pier...L(©¿©)King towards Dana Point...



Friday afternoon practice before the contest...from our hotel room...



L(©¿©)Ks like a woodstock SUP festival...;-)



OUCH!!!



Chuck Patterson, last year's BOP winner...running for the finish line...
He took 4th in the distance...and 5th in the Elite event...



Testosterone man!...;-)



Battle of the speedo winner...;-)



Naish team rider, Jerry Bess, gets a soul ride on the new 17' Naish Glide...



Jim Drake (co-inventor of windsurfing) with Ashleigh Parducci...her grandfather Allen Parducci, was also a co-inventor of windsurfing...also pictured is David Drake...Jim's youngest son...



More pics in this GALLERY...

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Monday, October 05, 2009

 

More 2nd Annual Battle of the Paddle Pics

The youth brigade was in full force...

Here's 10 year old Riggs Napoleon fully soul surfing...I saw guys who were supposed to be "surfers"...5 times older than this kid, running from waves like this...;-)



Slater Trout...what a kewl kid...
I paddlesurfed with him and his dad on Maui 3 years ago...he was still sponsored by our friend, and world class shaper, Bill Foote...I gave him a coiled leash because his was getting in the way of his cross-stepping...and he still remembered it...this 14 year old has really stepped it up...finishing 2nd overall in the Elite race after waterman extraordinaire, Jamie Mitchell...coincidentally, the kid has a business card with his title as "Waterman"...this is actually very doable as a 14 year old on Maui...



Thomas Gallagher cleared by flight control...



Rob Rojas...super nice guy...humble...hard working Fish & Game warden...makes time to train every morning at the crack of dawn...here he is finishing 2nd in the distance race...



Danny Ching...SUP distance Men's winner...cross-stepping back...his board was oscillating something fierce...





The wahines catching up with the men at the southern buoy turn...



SUPsports team rider, Rich Schroeder (54), trying to thread the needle...one of the only guys in this group to execute a proper kick turn...a move that Rich has worked on the last couple of months...



MY WAVE!!! I GOT IT!!! COMING DOWN!!!
What a cluster f*ck...just as Sparky planned...;-)








Aloha surf riding seven decades ago...wave etiquette is wave etiquette...some wave riders get it...others do not...



These guys totally get the "aloha" thang...the song remains the same...



One of the sweetest buoy turns of the contest...a SUP wave contest surfed on race boards...;-)

We saw lots of guys make this turn on their knees...some took as many as 15 strokes on their knees...so much for the "5 stroke rule"...;-)



Obligatory group shot...



to be continued...

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

 

SUP Racing News

With the 2nd Annual Battle of the Paddle coming up this weekend there's lots of SUP racing news to catch up on...

Last Saturday's Hennessey International Paddleboard Championships held in San Francisco
offered a glimpse of the competition that will be present next weekend...

There was a 6 mile Stock SUP (12'6") and a 9 mile Unlimited SUP (12'6" +) who did the same course as the prone paddleboarders...

In the Men's stock class, Hobie rider Byron Kurt edged out EJ by 7 seconds...picking the wrong line at the finish cost EJ a few pesos...Byron picked up $1350 to EJ's $200...$1150 is a lot of cervezas...especially, the kind EJ drinks...OUCH!...;-)

Byron Kurt is on a tear lately...he just got back from winning the Starboard sponsored 11 City Tour across Holland...you can read about this race on the Hobie blog...

Byron also won the 3rd Annual Ta-Hoe Nalu Stand-Up Paddleboard Festival held at North Lake Tahoe, Aug 15th...

The Hobie SUP team totally dominated this event...Mark Johnson's race SUP's are definitely working...that can't be debated...

Several of our SUP race team members will be sporting them at next weekend's BOP...including Rich Schroeder who just won the Naish North American Summer SUP Race Series on his new 12'6" Hobie CR-1...Rich finished in 5th place (out of 250) at last year's BOP Open race...only his 2nd race...



Australian Billy Watson, took 3rd place ahead of 4th place Dan Gavere, who was on one of the new Brian Syzmanski/Starboard collaborations...

On the women's side in stock SUP, Brandi Baksic continues to dominate...also on one of the new Brian Syzmanski/Starboard collaborations, beating Australian Shakira Westorp and Hawaiian Morgan Hoesterey...Morgan was the first solo female SUP paddler to finish the Quiksilver Edition Molokai Race this year...she also placed 3rd at last year's BOP...

Also noteworthy, Karen Wrenn who won the women's division of the Naish North American Summer Race Series finished 4th...Candice Appleby finished in 6th place...she placed 2nd at last year's BOP...



Karen Wrenn on her new Hobie...



Men's unlimited SUP saw Thomas Shahinian took the field...a couple of minutes in front of last year's BOP Open Men's champ, Thomas Gallagher...following up in 3rd place was last year's BOP Pro class stock winner, Chuck Patterson...Jared Vargas and Ekolu Kalama finished in 4th and 5th...

Danny Ching and Rob Rojas were no-shows...hope to see these top contenders at the BOP...

Division results here...

Overall results here...

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

 

Standup Paddle Racing :: Santa Barbara

Matt spanks Rich Schroeder at our weekly SUP race series...



NOT!!! Matt put me up to the pic...;-)

Heading out to the first turn...



Rich is in good form right now...



Adam is helping us out at the shop...he's a keen triathlete, who is finding a liking for standup paddle racing...



John Ford showed up and powered his Naish 11'6" around the course into 3rd place...



Nolan L@@King pretty comfortable on the Naish 12' Glide...



More pics in this GALLERY...

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

 

Leadbetter SUP Cup

Fun SUP race and social paddle today at Leadbetter Beach...6:00 P.M.

Leadbetter SUP Cup...


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Saturday, March 21, 2009

 

Marina Del Rey Race

The SoCal Winter Race Series ended today at Mother's Beach in Marina Del Rey, CA...
The 5 mile race started in the harbor right outside Mothers Beach and headed outside of the breakwater to the first marker and back to Mother's Beach...

We don't have the final point standings in yet...will update when available...
Our paddle racing team is in contention for several "medals"...

We think Ernie (EJ) Johnson won the men's stock division with a 2nd place finish today...John Becker won't do worse than 3rd in men's unlimited...prolly the silver medal here...and Deb Thomas tallied up enough points and race finishes to finish no worse than 3rd in women's SUP...

Here's John Becker squeaking by Jim Terrell (QuickBlade) at the finish...definitely, the most exciting moment of the race...



Thomas Gallagher, winner of the Battle of the Paddle Open Class, pulling down a 1st in men's unlimited...



Jared Vargas was stoked with his 3rd place finish in men's unlimited...he's really starting to put some good racing together and will represent a threat for years to come as he matures...



Hobie's Byron Kurt put together a good race to edge out EJ in men's stock...



He also did us a favor by bringing up an aqua 11'2" that's going out as a surprise b-day gift to Indiana this week...mahalos...


EJ is always a threat...he can beat just about anyone on the planet on the right day...his performance today was enough to guaranty him the 2008/2009 SoCal Winter Race Series gold medal in men's stock SUP...good job, EJ!



Rich Schroeder returned to the paddle racing scene with a good race, after a hiatus as a basketball coach for his daughter's team...



Here's Deb bringing it on home...we're proud of her for finishing every race and never quitting...despite some downright nasty paddling conditions at times...



Brian Fernandez putting a hurt on the new Powerex SUP paddle...



Our shop manager, John Becker, also used one along with his new carbon BARK unlimited SUP...competing against bigger guys on bigger boards requires that more H20 gets moved...



Finally, a big group hug for the rest of our paddle racing team...the young guns...

Matt Becker...14 years young and he's keen to the competitive paddle racing and surfing circuit...bright kid with a great support group steering him along...
He's starting to pick up sponsor interest...but, we put him to work at our shop and his first purchase was a paddle and the BARK paddling vest he is wearing...



UCSB engineering major, Todd Strand, (most improved paddler on our team) sporting some cold weather paddle racing attire...BARK beanie...



Ed Anderson...L@@King quite color coordinated around his BARK paddling vest and black carbon themed ensemble...usually, this is Todd's domain...;-)

Ed works for his dad at Anderson Custom Boats...he applies engineering and common sense to the boats they build...after a 3 hour long distance converstaion with George Greenough recently...Ed is ready to embark on building his first SUP racing board...



More shots in this GALLERY...

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