Point, CA) The aloha spirit was shared by all who were in attendance at
the 3rd Annual Gerry Lopez Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle in Doheny State
Beach last weekend. More than 500 competitors and thousands of spectators packed
the beach among the SUP manufacturers' expo tents.
Under sunny skies and
a consistent 3'-4' swell, the 2010 Battle of the Paddle Callifornia was a near
perfect weekend for everything stand up paddling. In between races, spectators
and competitors alike took advantage of the pristine conditions to try out the
latest in SUP board designs from Surftech's vast quiver of demo boards on offer.
The Elite Race featured the 'cream of the crop" of
stand up paddling's top athletes from around the globe. Included in this
impressive list of contenders were 2010 Battle of the Paddle Hawaii winners,
Danny Ching (Redondo Beach) and on the Women's side, Candice Appleby (Honolulu,
Hi). Ching finished 3rd in the 2009 Battle of the Paddle California race to
Slater Trout and Jamie Mitchell while Candice finished 2nd to Australia's
Shakira Westdorp. "I've always wanted to win the Battle of the Paddle" said
Appleby. "The last two years I put a lot of pressure on myself to win this race.
I think winning in Hawaii really helped me approach the California race with a
much more relaxed mindset."
The fun sized swell wreaked havoc on the 160
Elite Competitors as they maneuvered in and out of the surf zone along the
5-mile zig-zag course. With every lap, boards could be seen floating sideways
long the face of waves bound for a group of westward paddlers. Bleeding shins
and dinged boards were a common sight as the racers exited the water for their
laps through the 100 yard sand run.
Appleby fell victim to the mayhem as
a wayward board clipped her from behind, knocking her off of her board and
forcing her to swim after her board and paddle. Meanwhile, Brandi Baksic (San Clemente, Ca) took advantage of Candice's misfortune and
caught up to her as they exited the water on their second lap. "I had a pretty
good lead before that happened." said Candice. "Once Brandi caught me, it was a
back and forth race the rest of the way." Brandi (who won the 10 mile distance
race on Sunday) never let up after catching Candice, forcing Appleby to muster
every ounce of energy she had left along with sheer determination to overtake
Baksic in the final lap en-route to her second Battle of the Paddle Elite title
of the year and her first Battle of the Paddle California title.
In the Men's Elite race, Australia's Jamie
Mitchell (defending champion & 9-time Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Race
winner) fought hard to challenge Battle of the Paddle Hawaii winner, Danny
Ching throughout the four lap race. Ching, being the veteran paddler that he's
proven himself to be, paddled a smart, technical race making no mistakes and
capitalizing on the conditions by riding several waves to increase his lead over
Mitchell. In the end it was Ching crossing the finish line in 57:45 and taking
home $5,000 with Mitchell just under 2 minutes behind him in second and Slater
Trout (Lahaina, Hi) finishing 3rd in 1:00:39. In Sunday's long course race it was Danny Ching
once again prevailing over the rest of the field, finishing the 10-mile race in
1:02:19 while paddling an 18' Unlimited board. Surftech's Jamie Mitchell and
Slater Trout opted to compete in the 14' Class where Mitchell finished atop the
division after a head-to-head battle with Tahitian, Georges Cronsteadt and 15 year-old Trout, finishing in 1:09:13 with Cronsteadt & Trout
just 1 second behind him. On the Women's side Brandi Baksic won the Women's
division in a time of 1:15:25 followed by Rachel
Brunton (California), 1:16:30 and Andrea Moller (Haiku,
Surftech would like to congratulate all of our athletes on
a stellar performance in both the 2010 Hawaii and California Battle of the
Paddle events! Well done!
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race photos or go to our web site, surftechSUP.com
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