Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby are King and Queen of  the 2015 Santa Cruz Paddlefest

Photos and words by Mike Fields

A lot went down this weekend at the 2015 Santa Cruz Paddlefest. If it wasn’t the Elite SUP Surfing contest at Steamer Lane, it was the Covewater Surf City SUP Race at the Santa Cruz Warf. If it wasn’t the Cowell’s Classic fun-for-all surf event at Cowell Beach, it was back to the Lane for some kayak surfing and delicious java from the event’s sponsor, Kicking Horse Coffee. If none of the above was happening, it was time to trade that latte for a beer (or two) to celebrate the Paddlefest at one of the event’s cracking after parties.

Today’s SUP Shootout—the final rounds of the Elite Surf competition—saw athletes battle it out in glassy head-high Steamer Lane peelers, with a stacked final heat for the women's competition featuring Candice Appleby, World Champ Izzi Gomez, Fiona Wylde and Halie Harrison. The ladies traded waves and put on a clinic of progressive SUP surfing, but after a nail-biter finish, Candice Appleby fell just short to last year’s World Champ, Izzi Gomez.

The men’s final saw Tucker Ingalls, Giorgio Gomez, Brennan Rose and Dave "The Brown Blurr" Boehne face off in some of the best waves of the day. After a commanding display of powerful, lip clobbering SUP surfing, Brennan Rose claimed victory in the SUP surf Elite.

When it was all said and done, among cheers and cheersing, more champions than one were crowned. The prize money, and the most prestigious titles of all—The SUP Mag King and Queen of the Beach Award—went to Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby, the top overall performers in both the race and the surf contest. There was no award for best beer drinking (sorry Dave Boehne).

SUP the mag was proud to sponsor this fantastic event and we look forward to coming back next year, maybe even to compete—so watch out! Congratulations to all the winners of the 2015 Santa Cruz Paddlefest. See you in a year!

Check back for an exclusive full gallery from the event.

Learn more about your 2015 King and Queen of the Beach, Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby.

(Ed’s note: In effort to bring you the best and most exclusive coverage, SUP the mag event correspondent and photog, Mike Fields, waded out to a rock outcropping at the Lane for a unique angle to shoot the finals. Upon climbing down from the rock, Mike slipped and fell into the water (in front of the entire crowd, thank you) which we hope made you laugh, despite the fact that he dipped his camera lens into sea. So go ahead and laugh as you browse the photos, and please pardon the slight blur on some photos in this collection. More, non-blurry photos to come.)