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Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge Exclusive Photos & Recap

Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge Exclusive Photos & Recap

All photos: Greg Panas

The Columbia River Gorge delivered the windy goods this weekend for a collection of the best paddlers in the world to duke it out in two days of competition at the Naish Paddle Challenge. Connor Baxter took his second clean sweep of this event (the other was in 2014) winning both Saturday’s course race and Sunday’s time-trial “Double Downwinder.” Annabel Anderson smoked the women in the course race on Saturday, while Hood River local Fiona Wylde finished third in the course race. Wylde would turn around on Sunday and get first in the downwind runs by over five minutes. Those two performances would give her first overall.

Saturday was fiery-hot—over 100 degrees—which made for a long, flat, sweaty toil for the competitors. Racers had the advantage to utilize a “super lap,” which was a short buoy to give a distance advantage. For some paddlers it worked out, for others it left them out by themselves with no one to draft off of.

Anderson put on one of the performances of the event going absolutely nuts on the field winning by more than a minute over Candice Appleby in second and Wylde in third. According to some observers, she almost didn’t even need to use her super lap.

Baxter had his work cut out for him against the other men in a gritty race with a lot of board-on-board contact around the buoys. In a breakthrough result, Italian Leonard Nika finished only four seconds behind Baxter, with an in-form Mo Freitas the same distance behind him.

But the marquee draw at the Gorge, the thing that brings one of the most elite fields in SUP to sleepy Hood River, is the cranking west wind and the white caps that it creates. In 2015 the wind was dead calm. This year, the Gorge turned on the best downwind conditions for the event since 2012, making for fast, exciting racing on the two runs for the competitors.

Baxter took the win but was chased by surprise podium finisher Bernd Roediger, who calls Maui home but spends quite a bit of time in Hood River with his girlfriend Wylde. Roediger is a standout surfer and windsurfer so he’s no stranger to windy conditions, but this was a real coming-out party for the 19-year-old, who finished just thirty seconds short of Baxter for second place after two epic downwind laps. Freitas took third, proving once again this year (he took second to Baxter at the OluKai Ho’olaule’a this year) that he’s a force to be reckoned with when the wind is cranking.

Wylde’s local knowledge of the infamous downwind stretch made the difference in the women’s race, where she won her first lap by over four minutes. The second lap was closer but by then, the damage was done. Anderson put in a strong downwind performance for second, while Angie Jackson (who spends a lot of time training with Wylde) came in third.

It was a world-class weekend of talent and conditions. Check out our exclusive photo gallery above for all of the action. –WT

About downwinding in Hood River.

Results

Women’s Technical Race

1 Annabel Anderson 1:00:37
2 Candice Appleby 1:01:45
3 Fiona Wylde 1:01:47
4 Shae Foudy 1:01:49
5 Angela Jackson 1:02:41
6 Terrene Black 1:02:55
7 Jade Howson 1:02:55
8 Lina Augaitis 1:03:02
9 Sonni Hoenscheid 1:03:09
10 April Zilg 1:03:12
11 Alyson Fromm 1:04:00
12 Kalia Alexiou 1:04:05
13 Hannah Hill 1:04:07
14 Kimberly Barnes 1:04:08
15 Manca Notar 1:04:22
16 Erika Benitez 1:04:30
17 Lexi Alston 1:04:47
18 Kate Baker 1:05:20
19 Shannon Bell 1:05:40
20 Sarah Sandstrom 1:06:09
21 Kenzie Carlstrom 1:06:13
22 Annie Reickert 1:07:08
23 Mariko Strickland Lum 1:07:12
24 Genna Flinkman 1:07:16
25 Jennifer Lee 1:07:20
26 Jaime Donnelly 1:08:41
27 Talia Gangini Decoite 1:08:41
28 Kristin Thomas 1:10:01
29 Hailey Driver 1:14:58
30 Jolieanne Marxen 1:18:15

Men’s Technical Race

1 Connor Baxter 0:54:59
2 Leonard Nika 0:55:03
3 Mo Freitas 0:55:07
4 Michael Booth 0:55:11
5 Trevor Tunnington 0:55:16
6 Travis Grant 0:55:27
7 Titouan Puyo 0:55:49
8 Georges Cronsteadt 0:55:50
9 Niuhiti Buillard 0:55:54
10 Kelly Margetts 0:56:14
11 Chase Kosterlitz 0:56:24
12 Rete Ebb 0:56:26
13 Slater Trout 0:56:28
14 Martin Letourneur 0:56:30
15 Josh Riccio 0:56:32
16 Toby Cracknell 0:56:36
17 Casper Steinfath 0:56:39
18 Giorgio Gomez 0:56:42
19 Noa Hopper 0:56:42
20 Lincoln Dews 0:56:45
21 Ryan Helm 0:57:29
22 Beau O’Brian 0:57:33
23 Jake Jensen 0:57:36
24 Matt Nottage 0:57:37
25 Martin Vitry 0:57:40
26 Bullet Obra 0:58:07
27 Eric Terrien 0:58:22
28 Armie Armstrong 0:58:33
29 Nick Scheel 0:58:35
30 Bernd Roediger 0:58:37
31 Cyril Burguiere 0:58:42
32 Connor Bonham 0:58:44
33 Daniel Russell 0:58:49
34 Derek Fromm 0:58:51
35 Manatea Bopp du Pont 0:58:53
36 Guy Barel 0:58:59
37 Garrett Fletcher 0:59:54
38 Paul Jackson 1:00:02
39 Michael Tavares 1:00:07
40 Belar Diaz 1:00:12
41 Nico Schenk 1:00:14
42 Jeramie Vaine 1:00:23
43 Brian Meyer 1:00:26
44 Chuck Patterson 1:00:40
45 Christopher Norman 1:01:05
46 Scott Vande Vusse 1:01:32
47 Jeffrey Spencer 1:01:36
48 Lee McLean 1:02:05
49 Brian Schmid 1:02:10
50 Spencer Lazzar 1:02:23
51 Callan Dick 1:03:22
52 Patrick Cleveland 1:03:22
53 Jedd Hasay 1:04:11
54 Warwick Gray 1:04:27

Women’s Double-Downwind Race

1 Fiona Wylde 1:05:45 1:08:15 2:14:00
2 Annabel Anderson 1:09:56 1:09:13 2:19:09
3 Angela Jackson 1:10:57 1:09:59 2:20:56
4 Hannah Hill 1:12:44 1:10:47 2:23:31
5 Terrene Black 1:12:16 1:11:40 2:23:56
6 Manca Notar 1:14:53 1:14:00 2:28:53
7 Shae Foudy 1:15:44 1:15:05 2:30:49
8 Sonni Hönscheid 1:17:13 1:13:42 2:30:55
9 Candice Appleby 1:16:51 1:14:11 2:31:02
10 Kali’a Alexiou 1:16:15 1:16:23 2:32:38
11 Jade Howson 1:16:30 1:17:12 2:33:42
12 Alyson Fromm 1:17:43 1:16:05 2:33:47
13 Annie Reickert 1:19:45 1:15:00 2:34:45
14 April Zilg 1:17:45 1:17:48 2:35:33
15 Talia Gangini Decoite 1:19:00 1:19:40 2:38:40
16 Jennifer Lee 1:19:11 1:19:45 2:38:56
17 Lina Augaitis 1:21:18 1:18:05 2:39:23
18 Sarah Sandstrom 1:21:31 1:20:25 2:41:57
19 Kimberly Barnes 1:21:35 1:20:37 2:42:11
20 Mariko Strickland Lum 1:21:06 1:21:54 2:42:59
21 Kate Baker 1:23:17 1:20:56 2:44:13
22 Shannon Bell 1:24:33 1:22:33 2:47:06
23 Erika Benitez 1:24:31 1:22:40 2:47:11
24 Kenzie Carlstrom 1:23:17 1:24:13 2:47:30
25 Lexi Alston 1:27:15 1:26:17 2:53:32
26 Genna Flinkman 1:30:23 1:29:04 2:59:27
27 Jaime Donnelly 1:33:42 1:33:08 3:06:49
28 Vanessa Caley 1:34:29 1:35:46 3:10:15
29 Ehiku Rademacher 1:37:44 1:36:58 3:14:42
30 Jolieanne Marxen 1:47:32 1:40:56 3:28:28
31 Christy Runde 1:51:33 1:51:38 3:43:11
32 Hailey Driver 1:43:12 3:00:00 4:43:12

Men’s Double-Downwind Race

1 Connor Baxter 0:58:42 0:57:34 1:56:16
2 Bernd Roediger 0:58:43 0:58:04 1:56:48
3 Mo Freitas 0:59:44 0:58:14 1:57:58
4 Titouan Puyo 1:00:05 0:59:26 1:59:31
5 Travis Grant 1:00:16 0:59:17 1:59:33
6 Jake Jensen 1:01:02 0:59:15 2:00:17
7 Matt Nottage 0:59:50 1:00:31 2:00:21
8 Georges Cronsteadt 1:00:21 1:00:37 2:00:58
9 Vinnicius Martins 1:01:23 0:59:53 2:01:16
10 Niuhiti Buillard 1:01:27 1:00:02 2:01:29
11 Beau O’Brian 1:01:36 1:00:41 2:02:17
12 Michael Booth 1:01:32 1:00:51 2:02:24
13 Casper Steinfath 1:03:14 1:00:10 2:03:24
14 Rete Ebb 1:03:18 1:00:34 2:03:51
15 Toby Cracknell 1:01:35 1:02:30 2:04:05
16 Martin Letourneur 1:02:45 1:01:39 2:04:24
17 Josh Riccio 1:04:09 1:01:33 2:05:42
18 Jeremy Riggs 1:03:35 1:02:17 2:05:52
19 Bullet Obra 1:02:07 1:03:51 2:05:58
20 Paul Jackson 1:04:02 1:02:00 2:06:02
21 Manatea Bopp du Pont 1:03:46 1:02:26 2:06:12
22 Martin Vitry 1:04:16 1:02:36 2:06:52
23 Eric Terrien 1:03:36 1:03:28 2:07:04
24 Chase Kosterlitz 1:04:31 1:03:20 2:07:51
25 Lincoln Dews 1:03:41 1:04:19 2:08:00
26 Slater Trout 1:04:52 1:03:55 2:08:47
27 Kelly Margetts 1:06:34 1:02:32 2:09:06
28 Leonard Nika 1:05:11 1:04:27 2:09:38
29 Noa Hopper 1:05:48 1:04:23 2:10:11
30 Giorgio Gomez 1:05:33 1:04:59 2:10:31
31 Ryan Funk 1:06:50 1:03:59 2:10:49
32 Andrew Logreco 1:06:16 1:05:06 2:11:21
33 Trevor Tunnington 1:07:17 1:05:23 2:12:40
34 Jarkko Simonen 1:07:53 1:05:45 2:13:38
35 Jan Boersma 1:07:27 1:06:45 2:14:12
36 Connor Bonham 1:08:33 1:05:58 2:14:31
37 Livio Menelau 1:08:32 1:06:31 2:15:03
38 Jay Wild 1:08:01 1:07:40 2:15:41
39 Nico Schenk 1:08:52 1:06:59 2:15:51
40 Ryan Helm 1:05:26 1:10:44 2:16:10
41 Derek Fromm 1:09:37 1:07:18 2:16:55
42 Belar Diaz 1:10:13 1:07:56 2:18:09
43 Ingo Rademacher 1:08:29 1:09:49 2:18:17
44 Haakon Hoyer-Nielsen 1:10:29 1:07:48 2:18:18
45 Anthony Vela 1:10:52 1:07:28 2:18:20
46 Guy Barel 1:09:22 1:09:00 2:18:22
47 Chuck Patterson 1:09:36 1:09:10 2:18:46
48 Garrett Fletcher 1:11:00 1:08:25 2:19:25
49 Cyril Burguiere 1:09:45 1:10:53 2:20:38
50 Spencer Lazzar 1:13:28 1:10:02 2:23:30
51 Nick Scheel 1:12:56 1:11:09 2:24:05
52 Jeffrey Spencer 1:14:46 1:09:35 2:24:21
53 Dave Boehne 1:13:03 1:11:22 2:24:25
54 Leif Bergstrom 1:13:07 1:11:40 2:24:47
55 Brian Meyer 1:13:13 1:12:12 2:25:25
56 Daniel Russell 1:14:32 1:11:45 2:26:17
57 Dave Billenness 1:14:48 1:12:59 2:27:47
58 Patrick Cleveland 1:15:22 1:12:39 2:28:01
59 Jeremy Whitted 1:17:15 1:11:43 2:28:58
60 Scott Vande Vusse 1:15:19 1:13:51 2:29:11
61 Jeramie Vaine 1:13:31 1:15:40 2:29:11
62 Christopher Norman 1:14:42 1:14:45 2:29:27
63 Jimmy Fitt 1:16:14 1:13:58 2:30:12
64 Warwick Gray 1:16:05 1:14:26 2:30:31
65 Lee McLean 1:17:18 1:13:15 2:30:34
66 Jedd Hasay 1:18:58 1:15:17 2:34:15
67 Brian Schmid 1:20:12 1:14:31 2:34:43
68 Armie Armstrong 1:19:37 1:18:26 2:38:03
69 Yannick Michaud 1:20:08 1:21:12 2:41:20
70 Corey Curtis 1:22:51 1:18:53 2:41:45
71 Ricardo Chiari 1:26:04 1:22:19 2:48:22
72 Callan Dick 1:11:41 2:00:00 3:11:41
73 Jordan Gregory 1:38:14 2:00:00 3:38:14
74 Geoff Waterhouse 1:45:27 2:00:00 3:45:27