Appleby and Trout Win Races @ Huntington
Candice Appleby and Slater Trout both put on dominant performances to emerge victorious at the US SUP Tour in foggy Huntington Beach this morning.
Waves in the chest-high realm with an incoming tide provided tricky conditions for the racers, who had a long beach sprint to get their boards into deep enough water to start paddling. Many a paddler went down in the fray (including pro men’s runner-up Mo Freitas). To add to the challenges of coming in through and paddling out through the surf, paddlers had a three-buoy triangle course to navigate on each lap. The inside buoy was in shin-deep water, creating an entertaining spectacle for fans on the beach.
Trout saved his best performance for last, pacing himself in his first heat but taking an early lead in the final and never letting it go. Freitas was hot on his tail throughout the race, catching up on each of the five laps as the men came in through the surf, but couldn’t overcome Trout in the final sprint up the beach.
“I needed that,” Trout said. “I’m three in a row (for race wins) in 2014 but this one was the most serious. Some of the best racers in the world are here. I think I made a statement coming out here and winning.”
Appleby came out of the gates with a revitalized paddle stroke and never looked back. She gained distance with each outside buoy stretch and pass through the wave zone. Hawaiian Halie Harrison used her surfing skills to make her way through the surf to a second place while local talent Brandi Baksic rounded out the top three.
“I was pretty nervous before the race,” Appleby said. “I hadn’t raced since August (Appleby has been recovering from a serious hand injury and the ensuing hand surgery) and the girls are a lot more hungry now. It was good to have a win after so long. The injury has given me more hunger to get back on top.”
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1) Slater Trout
2) Mo Freitas
3) Brennan Rose
4) Matt Becker
1) Candice Appleby
2) Halie Harrison
3) Brandi Baksic
4) Karen Jacobson