May 24, 2011 (Honolulu, Hi) - Surftech team rider; Candice Appleby, couldn't have picked a better way to launch her new 2012 Surftech/Bark 12'6" signature race board. Appleby was said to have a "target on her back" in a pre-event press release, as the 2x defending champ of the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle. With the strongest women's field to date and her new signature 12'6" Bark race board under her feet, Candice's competitive fire burned brighter than ever.
With such a competitive womens field, Appleby knew this year's race would be a true test of will and endurance. And tested she would be. After the first of four laps, Candice found herself as the hunter rather than the hunted. She hit the beach in 4th place behind Rachael Bruntsch, Morgan Hoesterey and Jenny Kalmbach. "When I started the 2nd lap I could see the three girls ahead of me. I felt if I just kept my pace I'd make up ground on them. I had so much confidence in my new race board, with every stroke I could feel my board respond. It was so stable yet so fast that all I had to do was keep moving my arms and the board just went." explained Candice.
By the end of the 2nd lap she had moved from 4th to 2nd place and found herself roughly 20 meters behind the leader, Jenny Kalmbach. "I knew how far ahead Jenny was and in a SUP race it's really hard to catch someone once they have a gap like that on you." With sheer determination and a fire in her heart, Appleby would dramatically shorten Jenny's lead by the time they reached the furthest turn buoy at the Diamond Head end of the course. "As I got closer to the last outside buoy turn by Threes I was neck and neck with Jenny. I'd finally caught up to her, but she wasn't giving an inch." As they made the turn, Candice caught a glimpse of a wave approaching and adjusted her pace to position herself for the wave. The adjustment gave Kalmbach the lead once again but only for a moment. Appleby caught the wave and rode it almost the entire distance between the two buoys. When the wave died, she made the buoy turn and looked back to see that she'd created a fairly good lead over Jenny. Candice just needed to keep up her pace, not make any mistakes and the race would be hers.
On the final lap, Appleby kept a steady pace and held off Kalmbach and the rest of the chase pack. After rounding the last turn buoy the realization that her third straight victory would soon be at hand invigorated the weary warrior. "As I stroked that last stretch along the shore with every ounce of energy I had, I felt the most overwhelming sense of joy I have ever experienced." With a giant smile across her face and paddle in the air, she ran through the finishers chute to victory.
Appleby's win makes her the most successful athlete in the history of the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle Elite class with two 2nd place finishes and three 1st place finishes.
Candice carried her momentum out to Florida last weekend for the Gulf Coast SUP Championships. She finished the GCSUPC undefeated with a win in the Women's Elite class, the "Paddle X" Sprint Race and the Relay race!
Surftech would like to congratulate Candice on her incredible achievements as well as all of the Surftech team riders and ohana who competed in the 2011 Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle. Joe Bark, Morgan Hoesterey, Dane DeBoer, Jimmy Terrell, Heather Baus, Savannah Baus, John Becker, Matt Becker, John Griffith, Travis Ross, Bobby Boulaskus, Trent Ventura & Mark Kobayashi.