Competition filled the air this weekend at Lake Tahoe, Calif. for the 4th Annual Ta-hoe Nalu Paddle Festival. Paddlers racing in the two-day event battled the heat– and one another– for two events and an overall championship.
Saturday’s distance race was a challenging, but fun one with the sun blazing overhead and still conditions on the water. For 10 miles, competitors raced toward the finish in hopes of finishing in top positions to gain points toward the overall championship. Jamie Mitchell took the win after an early dismount for the beach finish, where he was able to edge out Chase Kosterlitz by only a few hundredths of a second in a tight foot race. Finishing behind Mitchell and Kosterlitz for the third through fifth places were Jay Wild, Matt Becker and Fernando Stalla.
On the women’s side, Candice Appleby paddled to a victorious first place finish with Brandi Baksic on her heels. Allison Riddle, Lina Augaitis and Talia Gangini rounded out the third through fifth positions in the women’s division.
“I haven’t been at this race since 2010 when it was windy and there were gnarly conditions,” said elite paddler Brandi Baksic. “This year it was flat and hot, but on the way back it got a little wompy out there. Candice and I were together for the first 6 miles, but it challenging with boat wake during the last few miles and I didn’t handle it as well as her- Candice was super strong and powerful,” Baksic added.
The Jamie Mitchell Survivor Sprint Race was held Sunday with an elimination format for the men and a point system for the ladies. 32 men and 13 women began the sprints before being narrowed down for the final. Each heat, competitors lined the beach for the start and ran to grab boards and paddles before paddling a quick sprint around a buoy. “It was really exhausting paddling all the sprint heats,” said Baksic. “With the sprinting, heat and altitude, I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” she added.
When the points from the two days were added up, Jamie Mitchell and Candice Appleby were named the overall champions of the Ta-hoe Nalu Paddle Festival.
“It was a great weekend with beautiful weather and was a very well-run 4th annual event,” Baksic said. – SC
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For more information, visit: TahoeNalu.com