#PPG2017 Advice From Veteran Racers

Interviews by Rebecca Parsons

Just as it’s important to study for a big exam, it’s equally as important to prepare for a big race. Be it spending some time in the surf zone, familiarizing yourself with the course or talking with experienced racers, every little bit will help come race day. To help you get the results you want, we collected advice from five veteran racers of Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life.

Annabel Anderson celebrates victory in last year’s Pro Womens Distance Race at PPG. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez

Annabel Anderson

Age: 36
Hometown: Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Most people underestimate the small, rolling waves of Doheny. Those in the know, know that to underestimate these Pacific Ocean waters is at your own peril. Come prepared to do battle with the ocean, the buoys, your fellow competitors and the stones of DoHo. Come prepared to have fun and to celebrate this annual coming together of paddlers from all corners of the globe. And remember…your presence and your participation will be etched in your mind, your board, and most likely, your body for many months (if not years) to come.

Mel Wygal

Age: 40
Hometown: San Clemente, California

Train in all weather conditions, the uglier the better—”If it’s challenging for others, it’s just right for us!” Practice in open ocean and waves, surf your raceboard often, and never give up—anything can happen in a surf race!


Connor Baxter, practicing what he preaches in the Pro Mens Technical Race. Photo: JP Van-Swae

Connor Baxter

Age: 23
Hometown: Haiku, Maui, Hawaii

I am a two-time PPG winner and am excited to be heading back for the third year. Whether you're a first-timer or coming back looking to improve, one tip would be to take the time with your raceboard in and out of the surf zone. Also, practicing your beach starts is a key factor to having a good race. Getting out into clean water in the beginning of the race will give you the opportunity to turn the first buoy and get on the wave right away. At the end of the day, the biggest advice is “Always have fun and never give up!”

Finn Spencer

Age: 14
Hometown: Paia, Maui, Hawaii

Never hold back, especially in the surf. If you ever hesitate when you're riding a wave or going over a wave, you will most likely fall. But if you are 100-percent committed you will rarely fall. Another thing is to try to get in a lot of practice doing beach starts and sprinting out through the surf.

Sonni Honscheid

Age: 36
Hometown: Sylt, Germany

I would recommend to really work on the beach starts. It’s also important to get to know the place. Unlike a flatwater race, where you get used to the conditions really quick, Dana Point can offer some really challenging conditions. If you don’t feel really confident in the surf or you just want to be safe—wear a helmet!

Register now for #PPG2017!