Earlier this week, the waiting period began for the highly-anticipated Red Bull Heavy Water race in San Francisco. And while it remains open until November 2, the event’s website currently has the surf window listed as “Red,” meaning there is no swell in sight for ten days. But as competitors nervously wait for Mother Nature to deliver one of her XXL swells that this race needs to run, Connor Baxter and Ryan Funk got in some practice at Ocean Beach. We’ll keep you updated on when the race is going to run but in the meantime, check out their practice session.
Highlights from last year’s RBHW.
Who’s planning to compete in this year’s big race.
Interviews by Rebecca Parsons
As kids, many of us can admit to dreaming of becoming a professional athlete. But when the reality of adulthood sank in, most of us turned to pining over those living out our dreams through social media and web stories. But does being a professional athlete truly mean traveling the world, competing and chasing waves for days on end? Or is there more to it?
We caught up with five of the top athletes in the sport and asked them if being a pro is truly everything it's chalked up to be and more importantly, how they make it work financially. You may be surprised by what they had to say. –RP
It is definitely a challenge to fit in work, training and school into my schedule but I make it happen and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have to admit it is sometimes very challenging financially and I end up paying for a lot of my travels and expenses out of pocket.
Not only do I go to school full-time during fall and spring but I also nanny part-time during the school year and work full-time during the summer as a summer camp counselor. Life is definitely about balance for me! Although it is definitely not a dream life and a lot of work, I love what I do. I work hard in every aspect of my life and I am very lucky to have the opportunity and ability to do so.
Traveling full-time competing in SUP races/surf events is exhausting! A lot of the time we have to travel with a 14-foot board--that isn't the easiest/cheapest thing to do. I usually fly Delta and it's $150 for a board bag and I usually have two board bags! I try to plan ahead and plan with other athletes to make it work out and split costs. Luckily, I do have a few sponsors that help with a lot of my travel expenses.
Mo works construction with his pops.
I also have a side job when I am home--I help my pops with construction. I love learning how to do physical work. Knowing how to do wood work, mechanics, and household stuff is a great deal; you save a lot of money doing it yourself! Eventually, I'd like to go to school, I can't pick up wood my whole life. Recently, I've been doing clinics while traveling, which helps with some of the expenses. I'm under contract for the next three years so we'll see what the plan is after that.
This year it was not financially feasible. I was receiving travel assistance from a sponsor before and this year that stopped. You may have noticed that I haven’t flown to any races and I drove out to Carolina Cup and lived in my van for the month. I’ve always worked at Carolina Paddleboard Co. doing sales, rentals, and marketing but I moved to California so I’m in between jobs. Which means even less funds for travel than before. Not to mention the stress of finding another really cool place to work that’s okay with you taking off for a month or two to race.
April with her co-workers at the Carolina Paddleboard Co. She has since moved out west.
I’m currently looking for sponsors to help out and I’m also looking for a job (or many small jobs) so I can travel and race. Maybe if I had a nickel for every time someone told me that 'I’m valuable' to the industry or my content is good, I’d have enough nickels to go to an event! I’m very optimistic for 2019, though!
A lot of people from the outside think we are all professional athletes. There are some full-time professional SUP athletes but not many. I personally work full-time. I paddle before or after work--I've done it that way my whole life. Now I've even stepped into coaching more and am enjoying that just as much.
Each year, I negotiate with some sponsors to figure out what events will benefit us both. Everyone has budgets but sometimes you have to get creative in order to fill your duties and also do the events you really want to do. If there's a will there's a way. I treat my sponsorship money like it's my hard earned money because it is. I try and find good flight deals, be organized and book early, stay with friends or book a room with a group, car pool, etc. Even for the sponsored guys it's not easy--the budgets are not that big. If more people did SUP or watched SUP they might be, but at the moment SUP is still a very niche sport.
This specifically hits home to me because I couldn’t afford to compete this year due to my finances. It’s really financially exhausting for me to travel. At the high point of my career as a whitewater paddler, I earned about $4,000 cash between the small collective group of sponsors I had, plus all the newest and hottest gear to compete with. With all of my bills and travel expenses, it still put me in a lot of debt. So much debt that I had to pull back the last two years from competing to pay it all back.
Zollinger makes ends meet through various side jobs including working at the 98 Center Restaurant. Photo: Heather Jackson
The most important season to train is the winter/spring to set yourself up physically for a strong competitive season. But I work in a seasonal town and that's our busy season. So to have to work 40+ hours a week to pay my debt back and to save money for the next season, I hardly had energy to train. I actually never really felt 100% prepared or confident in my physical body and state for any of the seasons I competed in as a professional athlete. I tried to fit in as much as I could, when I could, but it still wasn’t what I had hoped for in committing to being a professional athlete. I always felt like I had to have one foot in the athlete world and one foot in my other world.
At Infinity, we have a team and it's not cheap, that's for sure. Fortunately, I do most of the marketing and design so a lot of that entails being on the water, going to events, and doing the fun stuff. For instance, in New York, I went and competed but I also filmed, dropped some edits, and shot photos--I just try to balance the best I can. I get to write it off because it is work; in a sense I guess I kind of sponsor myself.
SUP is in a unique position. There are a lot of action sports that are supported by other things like clothing companies, drink companies, shoe companies or whatever it may be, but SUP is really only supported by the board companies. So all the burden's on the board guys and without the boards there's no industry. It's no secret that the boards have much smaller margins as far as making money than a clothing or drink company does, so that's the challenge I have as a brand. Most people think these guys are making a bunch of money, everything's free, they're doing whatever they want but it simply isn't the case--it's only the top, top guys that are making any real money.
Trips, equipment, and such are pretty expensive. I get quite a bit of help from my sponsors and my parents have helped me a lot with this aspect of SUP. Paddling, cross training, and school take up a large amount of my time during the winter months and in the summer, trips for racing as well as the time it takes to train make it difficult to create a schedule that is open enough to get a job.
Casper Steinfath’s unlikely road to SUP stardom.
SUP pros’ guide to morning nutrition.
The 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life were the most exciting iteration of the event we’ve had yet. Hundreds of racers and fans from around the world, both professional and recreational, gathered on the iconic sands of Doheny State Beach in Southern California for a weekend of high action. Hurricane Sergio provided the waves, race director Anthony Vela provided the race structure and vendors provided free demos, fitness classes, a beer garden, clothing sales and live music. Fun was had by all. But don’t take our word for it. Check out the highlights above and start planning your trip for #PPG2019!
Photos from #PPG2018.
Watch the Men’s Pro Technical Final.
Watch the Women’s Pro Technical Final.
Some people are just plain fun to watch on a SUP surfboard. Dave Boehne makes this short list. Don’t believe us? Just check out this long lost clip from a 2013 trip to Mexico that produced the SUP Award-winning film, H2Mexico. Check it out!
Watch: Classic SUP noseriding with Dave Boehne.
More lost clips from H2Mexico.
Interview by Rebecca Parsons
Alison Teal is a girl on a mission. A mission to save the planet. A mission to travel the word. And a mission to share her experiences with others.
Often referred to as a "wild child" or the "female Indiana Jones," Alison travels the world, creating engaging and entertaining content with a focus on sustainability. With a film degree from USC, Alison ventures into ancient cultures and shares her stories through her blog and video series, Alison's Adventures. She's paddled the trash-laden LA River in an effort to ban the plastic bag, surfed the Seine River in Paris in support of the Paris Climate Accord, and paddled through piles of garbage in the Yucatan to raise awareness about plastic pollution.
Teal strokes through a waterway of filth, also known as the LA River. Photo: Tina Segura
In addition to her adventure series, Alison is a Naked and Afraid alumni and runs a non-profit alongside her parents. We caught up with this wild child to learn more about her experience on Discovery Channel's hit television series and what ignited her passion for sustainability. –RP
Sounds like you had a pretty unique upbringing.
I was world-schooled since birth. I was gifted to have a world-renowned adventure photographer papa who got paid to capture the beauty and majesty of different cultures and a mom who was one of the first people to embrace the natural health movement and yoga in the USA.
At two months old, my parents took me up the highest peak in southern Peru and since then life has been a whirlwind of adventure. I was that sort of Tarzan child raised around the world, literally carrying my stuff in a backpack. They inspired me to carry on the torch of adventure filmmaking – showcasing environmental and cultural phenomena in an effort to share the beauty of the world and why we should protect it.
So what is Alison's Adventures?
Growing up, my dad always had a camera in my face so by default we became his models. I could only rebel against it for so long before realizing that I just love sharing adventures, travel and culture as a way to keep it alive and perpetuate what's out there. I was incredibly blessed to get a scholarship to USC film school. With that film training I thought: How can I share the mystery and the intrigue about what I love about the environment and the cultures I've grown up in? I decided to do a sort of education through entertainment--I wanted it to be like if Disney and Discovery had a baby. I joke that I got on my camel with my pink surfboard made of recycled coffee cups, my bikini made out of recycled plastic bottles, and my camera and I set out across the world.
Tell us about your time on Naked and Afraid.
It was the first show, the first season and initially I said no because I didn't want to be naked on national television. Discovery Channel pursued me to join the challenge and showcase survival skills in extreme conditions. I survived 122 degree heat in the Maldives because I knew how to live off the land and sea due to my childhood in foreign environments, as well as having special skills the elders in Hawaii had taught me.
Teal finding trash on the island she had to survive on in Naked and Afraid. Photo: Sarah Lee
All I could do all day was watch all this plastic wash up on shore from all over the world. You spend a month in that environment and it definitely creates a new sense of what's happening in the world. How often do you sit there naked watching nature all day? I made a pact in my head that if I survive this and the Earth can keep me alive, I want to give back and show everybody what's happening.
Why the focus on sustainability?
I never wanted to be an activist. I'm an entertainer and if I'm going to entertain I have a duty in life to also bring change to this world. I was given a unique upbringing and understanding of the world, so it's also my duty to protect it and keep it around for our future generations to play in. While growing up, the world was my classroom and the ocean was my playground, so I want to keep that here and going. And not in a preachy, condescending way, but in a way that's more a fun and exciting.
I'd say in terms of SUP, one of my favorite adventures was going between the islands in the Maldives doing trash cleanups. I did the first statewide Hawaii beach cleanup in 2017. I hosted it with Kai Lenny--he foiled between all the islands and we did beach cleanups at each stop.
I recently went to Tulum to get an in-depth look at one of the last pristine sources of fresh water on the planet, the cenotes. Currently, waste management on the peninsula is not good and all of the pollutants seep straight through the porous limestone and directly into the beautiful cenotes. This trash is located directly over the beautiful fresh water caves. I paddled through the trash and it's probably the most powerful photo that I have.
I think it's important to recognize the power of one. A lot of people get overwhelmed so they do nothing. But you can do so much, even if it's just one person.
Learn more about Alison: alisonsadventures.com (@alisonsadventures)
Watch Alison paddle through filth on the LA River.
For the first time since the event's founding in 2016, nine women are officially registered to compete in this year's Red Bull Heavy Water event in Ocean Beach, San Francisco. The course runs 7.5 miles from San Francisco Bay to Ocean Beach and waves are expected to be at least 10 feet. With the waiting period officially open now, nerves and excitement are high as the competitors log their final training sessions before the big day. We caught up with eight of the women and asked their thoughts on competing in the heaviest race in SUP. –RP
I'm definitely both nervous and excited! The anticipation of waiting for a swell is pretty cool. I've never had the opportunity to compete in an event like this so I'm super stoked about that! I'm most nervous about being in bigger surf on a race board--the fact that race boards have no rocker makes it really hard to surf them, especially when it's 10 feet or more. You will never feel fully ready for a race like this (and I don't do much racing). It's basically survival of the fittest.
Now that the distance part of the race is first this year, my strategy is to try and save my energy. I don't think it's smart to go all out on the distance paddle and then be tired for the waves at Ocean Beach. It's going to be gnarly so strategy is key but it's also anyone's game!
I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to compete in Red Bull Heavy Water this year! Of course I'm nervous, but I also am really looking forward to the challenge. Who knows what's going to happen but I have been trying to prepare in as many ways as possible. It's not going to be easy, in fact, it's going to be an insane challenge but I'm going to give it my best!
I'm really pumped that myself and other female athlete have been invited to participate in this year's Red Bull Heavy Water event. I can't wait to see all the girls who I know charge in the waves take this on and put on a good show for everyone.
I must admit, I'm pretty nervous. I've been preparing at home with a few big waves sessions while the swell has been up. Plus, I've had a couple breath, mind and body conditioning sessions with an experienced free diver. I'll also be relying on many years of experience as a professional lifeguard.
Terrence Black charging Sunset Beach. Photo: Iballa Moreno
But what also scares me is the cold water. One thing with the reversed course is that at least we'll be warmed up by the time we take on the waves but it'll also be very important to conserve energy. I've been talking to a bunch of the guys about what type of wetsuits to wear as it's going to be tricky going from being hot in the race to possibly spending a lot of time in the freezing water. Hopefully I'll get the chance to practice out there before the event.
I'm definitely nervous and excited but probably more nervous. How could I not be? The waves are big, the water is cold and there are many unknowns with how our bodies will handle the direction of the course this year. I'm not taking it lightly, that's for sure.
Hitting the cold water after paddling 6-7 miles is one of my biggest concerns--cold water takes your breath away. I've been doing a lot of swimming in the past few months, which has definitely helped my fitness and breathing. I'll continue to do more breath work leading up to the event. I'm also trying to dial in what I'm going to wear. It's tricky because the water is so cold but we do the distance portion of the race first and it's easy to overheat if you're wearing too much.
I think hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to the race because of the unknowns. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to participate and I hope that when race day comes it's within my limits. Going into this I have nothing to prove, so I'm just going to prepare, say my prayers and do what I can.
Growing up on Maui and spending my whole childhood surfing and being in the ocean I have always been attracted towards the races that incorporate surf into their courses. Red Bull Heavy Water will definitely check off that box. I spend almost everyday in the surf whether it is on a shortboard, longboard, foil board, SUP surfboard or raceboard, so I feel like every session has been preparing me for this race.
Annie Reickert knows a thing or two about big waves. Photo: Erik Aeder
Going into this race, part of me is nervous but at the end of the day I am going to rely on my training and take what the ocean gives me. Because RBHW isn't just a wave course there is going to be some strategy involved--before we have to battle monster surf there is seven miles of flat water. It will be interesting to see what everyone chooses to do, some people may hold back in the distance portion of the race to save energy and others may attempt to make a gap before the pack hits the surf. No matter what happens, it will be a huge day for everyone and a special race for all of the females as we will be the first women to race the course!
This event is definitely the hardest, most challenging event of all. I think it's important to do all sorts of training that can prepare you for any kind of conditions--although I believe there can always be something you didn't expect. What I find really exciting is paddling in San Francisco and waves will definitely make a big challenge for everyone.
I am feeling pretty anxious but excited leading up to the Red Bull Heavy Water event. I am excited that women were invited this year and have the opportunity to compete amongst the amazing men that completed the race last year. It's hard to get out in big waves on a raceboard but I feel pretty comfortable that my ocean skills have prepared me for the event. I will be going into the race confident and will 100% be competing if I feel I can handle the conditions at the moment. I never want to put myself at risk if I don't feel like I should be out there, but I also really want to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
I'm kind of nervous about the competition because Red Bull Heavy Water is the first SUP race event of my life! I've never competed in a race before. All the girls are super good and have won a lot of events; it's going to be tough to beat them. Otherwise, I am super excited to compete because this event is unique, they wait for the biggest swell of the waiting period to put the competition ON! That's the reason why I want to compete--it's a race with big waves, it's crazy! I train to surf big waves but I don't train too much to compete in racing, so I hope the waves are big on the event so I can have a chance!
The Open division at the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life is the heart and soul of our sport. These are the paddlers that don’t compete for sponsors, money or fame, but rather because of their love and passion for the sport. Whether they finished in first place or last, each paddler crossed the finish line with a smile on their face and was greeted with high-fives and hugs from their supportive competitors. To get a glimpse of the grassroots racing action, check out this gallery dedicated exclusively to the Open division.
Best photos from #PPG2018 Day One.
Best photos from #PPG2018 Day Two.
There were a lot of questions going into the Women’s Pro Technical Final at the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life . Would Fiona Wylde make good on her Distance win and get her first ever championship? Would the Doheny-trained youngster Shae Foudy fulfill her promise as a top pro? Or would Candice Appleby return to form and claim her third #PPG tite? The answers are all out there now, but if you can’t get enough SUP racing, this is one race worth reliving.
#PPG2018 Finals Day Photos.
The 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life were another huge success as paddlers from around the globe gathered at Doheny State Beach for a weekend of paddling, racing and camaraderie. From the Pros to the Juniors, competition was at its highest level in event history and there were plenty of surprise story lines that caught our attention. From a dark horse stealing the show in the Pro Men’s category to a big announcement about the future of PPG, these were our top takeaways from the biggest weekend in SUP.
New Overall Winner in Pro Men’s Division
In the first three years of the PPGs, only one man had ever stepped atop the podium at the end of the weekend: Connor Baxter.
This year, that finally changed after a gritty performance from Australian Lincoln Dews. The Aussie started the weekend with a hard-fought victory in the Distance race and then secured the Overall title with a fourth place effort in the Technical Final following an memorable battle with Baxter, Guilherme dos Reis and Mo Freitas (Baxter scrapped his way to win the Technical Final in one of the best surf races we’ve ever seen).
Lincoln Dews put in a commanding performance to finish the Pro Men’s SUP Distance division with a healthy lead. (See also: overall title contender). Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
While stealing the PPGs crown from Baxter is impressive on its own, it also allowed him to leapfrog fellow Aussie Michael Booth and claim the inaugural Paddle League championship. Not a bad weekend — or payday — for Mr. Dews.
Brazilian Dark Horse Steals the Spotlight
Coming into PPG weekend, Guilherme dos Reis was far from a household name. While he has dominated the SUP racing circuit in Brazil with four national championships, he was relatively unknown outside of his own country. That changed this past weekend.
20-year-old Brazilian Guilherme Dos Reis pulled off the upset of the weekend by taking second overall in the Pro Men’s Division. Photo: JP Van Swae
Dos Reis started the weekend with a surprising third-place finish in the six-mile distance race and followed it up on Sunday with a thrilling second place effort in the Pro Men’s Technical Final. In fact, he was leading the race with only half a lap to go when a closeout knocked him off his board and Baxter pounced. Nevertheless, his second place overall was one of the weekend’s biggest surprises. It put the SUP world on notice that Dos Reis is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
The Candice Comeback
At last year’s big showdown at Doheny, Candice Appleby did not seem like herself. She struggled in the races and ended up with a mid-pack finish, well below what we had come to expect from the Queen of Doheny. Some folks even began to wonder if she was approaching the twilight of her career.
Not a chance.
Candice Appleby felt the thrill of victory after winning the Women’s Pro Technical Race. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
Appleby came into 2018 with a renewed focus and the results followed. But it was #PPG2018 where we truly saw that Appleby had returned to her dominant form. She took a second place in the Distance race and stormed back from a rough start in the Women’s Pro Technical Final to take a convincing victory. These results earned her a third PPG Overall title and a return to the throne.
APP sanctioning PPG in 2019
Once #PPG2018 wrapped up and the SUP community was still buzzing from the thrilling action on the water, some big news dropped about the future of the event.
The Association of Paddlesurf Professionals (APP) will be the sanctioning body for the Pacific Paddle Games for a three-year deal beginning in 2019. The biggest race in the sport will officially become part of the APP World Tour but also count towards the APP’s US Cup, which will feature the New York SUP Open and the Red Bull Heavy Water event in San Francisco.
Prior to the SUP Awards announcement, APP World Tour CEO Tristan Boxford addressed the crowd to talk about the exciting partnership between the APP and PPG in 2019 and beyond. Photo by Aaron Black-Schmidt
It’s an exciting move for both the sport and PPG as it represents a coming together of two prominent entities in the standup paddling world.
Huge International Audience on Facebook Live Stream
While we would suggest that the best way to watch PPG is from the beach, that’s simply not possible for everyone. But to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to see the action, we broadcasted the race live on our Facebook page for over 10 hours while thousands of SUP fans from around the globe tuned in.
Drone shots gave an international audience the bird’s eye view of the action. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
Their enthusiasm was strong and we received nearly 3,000 comments as folks chimed in to talk about the race, support their favorite athlete and let us know where they were watching from. They were as diverse as they were was passionate, and were treated to some of the best SUP racing in recent memory and excellent commentary from the broadcast team of Chris Parker, Dave Kalama and Beau Hodge.
Positivity and Sportsmanship in the Open Division
While lots of focus gets placed on the Pro ranks, it’s the Open division paddlers that are the heart and soul of this sport. At #PPG2018, these everyday paddlers proved once again that SUP is one of the most inclusive and positive sports communities you’ll ever find.
Kristin Thomas (left) and Mel Wygal (right) cross the finish line together in the Open Womens Technical Final. Photo: Jack Haworth
The paddlers cheered on one another at the finish line as high-fives, hugs and pats on the back were shared among strangers and racers spent hours swapping stories and making new friends on the beach. And then they all joined to help us celebrate at the official #PPG2018 After Party.
Every year, the Youth paddlers just get better and better. 2018 was no exception.
Arguably the most exciting finish of the weekend came in the Men’s Pro Junior Final when local paddler Tyler Bashor stroked into a set wave out the back and rode it all the way to the beach — passing the race's two leaders and earning him a thrilling victory in front of screaming fans.
Jade Howson is on her way to the top. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
As for the ladies, Jade Howson dominated the Women’s Pro Junior division and also qualified for the Women’s Pro Technical Final. These performances were proof that the next generation of SUP racers isn’t just on the way, they’re already here.
Photo Gallery: Moments of Stoke from #PPG2018
Relive the #PPG2018 Men’s Pro Technical Final
As a two-time Red Bull Ultimate Waterman champion and one of SUP’s biggest stars, Zane Schweitzer is no stranger to the mental and physical stress of being in the ocean. While he was in the Big Apple for the New York SUP Open, Schweitzer sat down with NBC News BETTER and gave them some tips on how he prepares himself for life both on and off the water. Some highlights include his daily journal practice, mindful tapping and — the most Zane moment of all — his war cry prior to big moments. Check it out in the video above.
Read more from the interview.
Can we just fast forward to #PPG2019?
Standup paddling’s biggest weekend lived up to the hype and delivered two memorable days of competition and plenty of stoke. While an incredibly talented Pro field delivered a series of all-time classic races, the Open competitors kept the stoke level high by congratulating each other at the finish line and swapping stories about their race.
Of course, #PPG2018 wasn’t just all about the racing. The weekend also featured free fitness classes throughout both days, a SUP demo zone, food trucks, a beer garden and more. To capture the spirit of the PPGs — we put together this photo gallery featuring the smiles, laughs, tears and special moments that make #PPG2018 the best event in the sport.
The World Surf League (WSL) announced Monday that Erik Logan, current president of the Oprah Winfrey Network — and avid standup paddler — will be taking over as President of Content, Media and WSL Studios in January 2019.
Logan’s new role will encompass all content production, including live broadcasts, video production, the creation of WSL Studios, a direct-to-consumer membership offering and much more.
“I’m incredibly excited to join the WSL at this amazing time in its history,” he said in a release. “The League has come so far and is brimming with untapped potential. I am fired up to help lead the acceleration of the company’s evolution in content, expanding the WSL’s offerings, and engaging surf and ocean enthusiasts everywhere. There are countless stories and characters in surfing that are compelling, both within and beyond the reaches of competition, that we will shine a light on.”
More important to standup paddlers: we have one of our own on the inside of the biggest media company in surfing. What could that mean? More of a spotlight on the sport, new competition possibilities and another powerful advocate in the upper echelon of the surf world. Whatever comes of it, it won’t be a bad thing for the sport of standup paddling.
Read an interview with the man himself.
Read the full release.
The 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life went out with a bang on Sunday afternoon with one of the most exciting and competitive races in SUP history. The Pro Men’s Technical Final featured all the ingredients of an instant classic — constant lead changes, a dark horse paddler battling for the win, epic party waves, yard sales at the Hammer Buoy and much more. If you like SUP racing, it doesn’t get much better than this.
As the sun rose on Monday morning, our ears were ringing, feet hurting and heads throbbing — all signs that pointed to a wild night of revelry and celebration at the #PPG2018 After-Party.
With Flock of 80’s belting out the hits and complimentary food and drinks being served all night, the SUP community came together under the stars at Doheny to celebrate a memorable weekend of camaraderie and competition at the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life. Not to mention, the night also featured the highly-anticipated 2018 SUP Awards winners announcement.
So whether you want to relive the fun or get a sneak peak inside one of SUP’s wildest parties, we’ve collected the frames that captured the best moments from a night when hearty laughs were shared, new friends made and the crowd danced deep into the night.
2018 SUP Awards Winners Are…
The people have spoken. The wait is over. With votes cast and results tallied, we’re proud to announce the eighth-annual winners of standup paddling’s most prestigious awards. The 2018 SUP Awards stirred enthusiasm and passion from all ends of the sport and every corner of the globe. While all the nominees deserve praise and accolades, after thousands of fans and readers made their voices heard, only those chosen by you get the honor of being called SUP Awards winners.
Drumroll please …
For Male Paddler of the Year, a trio of Maui paddlers swept the top three spots. Connor Baxter claimed the top spot for a historic sixth time. Meanwhile, elite waterman Kai Lenny took the runner-up spot after a year of SUP foiling firsts, with SUP surfing standout Zane Schweitzer in third.
For Female Paddler of the Year, readers went closer to the U.S. mainland, voting 19-year-old SUP racing standout Shae Foudy into the top spot for the first time in her young career. Candice Appleby capped an impressive comeback year by winning a SUP Award for the No. 2 Female Paddler of the Year and Fiona Wylde took the No. 3 spot.
A fresh crop of new paddlers dominated the past year, joining the professional SUP ranks and winning big races. However, perhaps none made a bigger impact than Japan’s Yuka Sato, whose infectious positivity and top finishes, including a win at 10 Towers, earned her a first-ever SUP Awards selection for Female Breakthrough Performer. On the men’s side, Marcus Hansen’s surprise emergence as a top SUP racing contender earned him the nod for Male Breakthrough Performer.
In Male Performance of the Year, Michael Booth took the honors for his first-ever win at the Carolina Cup earlier this year. Meanwhile, Annabel Anderson won the Female Performance of the Year category for her dominant performance at #PPG2017.
Casper Steinfath, the Danish Viking, took home Expedition of the Year for his Viking Crossing.
Will Schmidt won for Movie of the Year for his film, Through My Eyes, which chronicled his 2014 SUP expedition from Canada to Mexico. And last but not least, the Top Philanthropic SUP Award went to Paddle IMUA, a Maui race that raises funds for children with special needs.
Last year’s SUP Awards winners.
2018 Top Male Paddler #1: Connor Baxter
HOMETOWN: Pukalani, Maui
KNOWN FOR:Three-time PPG Champion, Fastest Downwind Paddler In the World, Winning Nearly Every Race At Least Once
SUP AWARDS HISTORY: 2017 Top Male Paddler No. 1, 2016 Top Male Paddler No. 1, 2015 Top Male Paddler No. 3, 2014 Top Male Paddler No. 1, 2014 Best Male Performance, 2013 Top Male Paddler No. 3, 2012 Top Male Paddler No. 1, 2011 Top Male Paddler No. 1
2018 Top Female Paddler #1: Shae Foudy
HOMETOWN: Dana Point, CA
KNOWN FOR: 2nd Place in #PPG2017, 2018 Gorge Paddle Challenge Course Race Winner, Top SUP Racing Competitor
2018 Male Breakthrough Performer: Marcus Hansen
HOMETOWN: Whangarei, New Zealand
KNOWN FOR: 2018 Air France Paddle Festival Champion, Breakout SUP Racing Contender
2018 Best Male Performance: Michael Booth, Carolina Cup 2018
ABOUT: Coming Soon!
2018 Top Female Paddler #2: Candice Appleby
HOMETOWN: San Clemente, CA
KNOWN FOR: The Original Female SUP Icon, Winning Countless Races and Surf Contests, 2015 and 2016 PPG Champion
2018 Top Male Paddler #2: Kai Lenny
HOMETOWN: Paia, Hawaii
Mastering Jaws, Multi-SUP Surfing and SUP Racing World Champion, The Biggest Star In/Beyond the Sport
SUP AWARDS HISTORY: 2017 Top Male Paddler No.3, 2016 Top Male Paddler No. 3, 2015 Top Male Paddler No. 2, 2014 Top Male Paddler No. 2, 2013 Top Male Paddler No. 1, 2012 Top Male Paddler No. 2
2018 Movie of the Year: “Through My Eyes,” Will Schmidt
ABOUT: In 2014, Marine veteran Will Schmidt took on a challenge that had never been completed on a SUP: to paddle solo from Canada to Mexico. "Through My Eyes" documents his journey down the Pacific Coast, through cold water, rough seas, a rougher coastline and even a Coast Guard rescue. The trip covered 1,386 miles and took 58 days and benefitted Wounded Warriors as well as raised awareness for veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression.
2018 Best Female Performance: Annabel Anderson: Pacific Paddle Games 2017
2018 Top Philanthropic Effort: Paddle IMUA
2018 Female Breakthrough Performer: Yuka Sato
Miura, Kanagawa, Japan
2018 Winner of the 12 Towers Race and GoPro Mountain Games SUP Sprint
Photo: Greg Panas
HOMETOWN: Hood River, OR
Talented Racer and SUP Surfer, Surfing Sunset With the Men, Racing Hard--Even with Diabetes
2018 Expedition of the Year: The Viking Crossing
PADDLER: Casper Steinfath
KNOWN FOR: He successfully across Skagerrak Straight, a 130-kilometer (80.8-mile) stretch of frigid, inhospitable ocean separating Denmark and Norway.
2018 Top Male Paddler #3: Zane Schweitzer
HOMETOWN: Kahana, Maui, Hawaii
KNOWN FOR:Top SUP Surfer, 2016 and 2017 Ultimate Waterman Champion, Relentless Stoke for All Things Ocean
In the words of #PPG2018 Pro Men’s Technical Race champion Connor Baxter, Finals Day at the 2018 Pacific Paddles Games presented by Salt Life, “exceeded all expectations.”
The sun shined, the waves pumped, the wind wafted, and among it all Doheny State Beach showcased one of the most competitive fields in SUP history. In the end, we witnessed championship performances from faces both familiar and fresh to the PPG podium, logging yet another year in the books for the greatest weekend in SUP. Here are some of the most memorable moments from the show. See you next year!
Day Two Recap
Day One Photo Gallery
Day One Recap
We can breathe now. Whew. That was a show for the ages.
Day Two of the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life lived up to its billing as the biggest event in SUP with a Finals Day filled with historic victories, thrilling surf-zone races and quintessential Southern California sunshine and south swell. After the drama of Saturday’s Distance Race and Pro Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Heats, paddlers and fans alike eagerly awaited a Finals reckoning split into a pair of Pro showdowns featuring the deepest field of paddlers ever assembled.
The action did not disappoint.
After carnage-packed semifinal heats winnowed the Pro Men’s field down to 20, the day of racing at Doheny closed with a new classic. On just the first lap of the Men’s Final, 11 paddlers rode a single wave inside, into the Croakies Hammer Buoy (and each other), with the lead swapping constantly from the beginning to end.
Dos Reis leads Dews around a buoy turn. Photo: JP Van Swae
Connor Baxter and Lincoln Dews resumed their epic battle from last year’s Technical Final, but not without heavy pressure from dark horse Guilherme dos Reis and Mo Freitas. Dos Reis, the 20-year-old Brazilian champ, left no doubt that his third-place finish in yesterday’s distance race was no fluke. He raced like a poised veteran looking to claim victory by scratching into a wave and extending his lead on the final lap. It wouldn’t last; the wave doubled-up and morphed into a heavy closeout that knocked Dos Reis from his board. Moments later, Freitas, Baxter and Dews pulled even to Dos Reis to create a frantic four-way duel for the win with half a lap to go.
In typical Baxter fashion, the Maui paddler executed a textbook pivot turn on the final Hammer buoy turn and turned on the gas to create a small gap. Dews and Dos Reis paddled furiously to catch Baxter but the three-time PPG champ found an outside wave all the way to a hard-fought victory. Dos Reis held on for second, while France’s Arthur Arutkin claimed third.
“That was by far the closest technical race I’ve ever been in!” Baxter exclaimed. “The field we had was incredible, it was so close and at any moment anybody could grab it. I was just trying to stay calm. I had a horrible start and had to fight as hard as I could to get back to the front.”
Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
Meanwhile, Dews’s fourth place finish in the Technical final would be enough to be crowned the Overall #PPG2018 Pro Men’s champion.
“Words can’t describe how good this win feels,” said Dews. “I’ve been coming to Doheny to compete for a long time and to get the overall win on a day like today -- and in a race as good as this -- is incredible.”
Incredible is a good way to describe the thriller in the Pro Women’s Technical Final as well. The ladies got off to a blazing start with Fiona Wylde picking up where she left off yesterday, hammering strokes to take the early lead. Terrene Black was in close pursuit, while Candice Appleby recovered from a multi-board pile-up at the Hammer Buoy to turn the race quickly into a three-woman race for the lead.
Halfway through the second lap, Appleby made her move and scratched into a small bump that Wylde just missed. Surfing to a clear advantage, Appleby went on a tear and extended her lead to well over 100 yards. Behind Appleby, her Infinity teammate and training partner Shae Foudy overcame a slow start to reach second place and set her sights on her mentor. Foudy managed to close the gap in the final lap to give herself a chance to catch Appleby with a lucky set wave into the beach.
Foudy’s wave, however, wasn’t quite enough to close the gap.
Appleby caught a smaller bump on the inside and looked to have the win locked up when the crowd gasped as she began to turn around the inside buoy. For a split second, it looked like déjà vu of Annabel Anderson’s famed extra-lap mistake in 2016. With fans screaming from shore, Appleby realized her error in the nick of time and turned back toward her home beach, managing to hold off Foudy and claim both the Technical crown (her fourth), and with it, the Overall title.
“My brain was starting to play tricks on me and I almost went for another lap!” said Appleby. “But it worked out and really this wasn’t only a victory on the water, it was a victory in my spirit.
“I had such doubt for the last year and a half and God has been doing a new thing in my life lately,” Appleby added. “I’m just so grateful for that. I have such an amazing support system--No. 1 Jesus, my family and my team…PINCH ME!”
The Men’s Pro Technical Semifinal races set the stage for afternoon epics. With only 10 of the 15 paddlers advancing into the final and competition at an all-time high, the world’s best paddlers duked it out under intense pressure.
The Pro Men’s Semifinal started with a bang - literally. As the pack charged out into the horizon and made their first buoy turn, the biggest set of the day arrived just in time to clean up the entire field into an epic yard sale. Denmark’s Casper Steinfath and France’s Martin Vitri emerged from the carnage battling throughout the heat to claim bragging points going into the final. However, both would fall short after an impressive comeback paddle from the breakout star of this weekend: Dos Reis, who took the win and put the Pro Men’s field on notice.
Photo: JP Van Swae
In the second semifinal, Danny Ching dominated up front but all eyes were on the race for the final transfer spot. As five paddlers stroked into the same wave to shore, only four would transfer to the final. After a mad footrace up the shore, the odd man out was Maui’s Zane Schweitzer. Or so we thought. Enzo Bennett had missed a buoy turn in the race and ended up being disqualified, giving InZane a free pass to the final.
The day began with the Open Technical and Youth races in the morning where everyday paddlers of all ages got the chance to compete on standup paddling’s biggest stage. Perhaps the biggest cheers of the weekend came out for San Clemente local and SUP ambassador Mel Wygal, who took a dominant victory in the Women’s Open Technical Final. (Click here for full results.)
Stay tuned for much more photos, video recaps, analysis and more the biggest weekend in SUP.
Photo gallery from Day One of #PPG2018.
October 7, 2018 - The Pacific Paddle Games are excited to announce the Association of Paddlesurf Professionals (APP) as their official sanctioning body for 2019 and beyond!
As part of the three-year deal, not only will the Pacific Paddle Games become an official part of the APP World Tour but also count towards the APP's US Cup, which will feature the New York SUP Open and the Red Bull Heavy Water event in San Francisco.
The announcement marks the coming together of two prominent entities in the standup paddling world: the Pacific Paddle Games is the cornerstone of the SUP season and the most competitive race of the year. The APP, formerly the Standup World Tour, has been running SUP surf and race events since 2010, crowning world champions for both disciplines each year and pushing the professional side of the sport. The APP is exclusively sanctioned by the International Surfing Association (ISA), the IOC recognized body for Surfing Sports, as the Official World Championship Tour for the sport.
"This partnership is a big leap in the evolution of the sport," said Will Taylor, content and sales director of SUP Magazine, the media entity behind PPG. "The APP has put in years of hard work to support SUP and we believe that this deal will help take the competitive realm of the sport to the next level."
The three-year deal ensures that the partners will work together to share media, bolster the US SUP racing scene and promote the sport as a whole, although TEN: The Enthusiast Network, who produces PPG, maintains ownership and operational duties for the event.
"We are excited to embark on this next chapter for the sport with the Pacific Paddle Games, now exclusively a World Championship Tour stop on the APP World Tour," said Tristan Boxford, CEO of the APP World Tour. "This addition to the Tour celebrates one of the world's most meaningful SUP markets and significant events. We admire all that TEN have done to advance the sport as a whole and develop the Pacific Paddle Games to this point, as we come together to continue to strive for stability and professionalism in the sport."
Although not sanctioned by any organization in 2018, PPG and the APP are working together to put together a half-hour show from #PPG2018 to air on CBS Sports, air date TBD. Follow SUPthemag.com and APPworldtour.com for all the details.
About TEN: Sports & Entertainment Group
TEN: Sports & Entertainment is the world's premier network of enthusiast brands in the action/outdoor market, featuring leading brands such as Adventure Sports Network, Dew Tour, Surfer, Powder, TransWorld Skateboarding, and TransWorld Snowboarding. With 13 brands reaching more than 38 million enthusiasts monthly, TEN inspires enthusiasts to pursue their passions. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com.
The APP World Tour is the Professional World Championship Tour for the Sport of Paddlesurfing (also known as SUP / Stand Up Paddling / Paddleboarding), officially sanctioned by the IOC recognized Federation for Surfing Sports, the ISA (International Surfing Association). Re-branded in 2017 as the APP World Tour (previously known as the Stand Up World Tour and Series) the APP has been crowning the sport's World Champions for both Men & Women across Racing and Surfing since 2010.
The APP World Tour produces a complete inventory of programming, including live and post produced broadcasts from its events, with distribution to over 100 countries worldwide via premier global networks such as CBS Sports and Fox Sports Asia & Australia. More Information is available at www.appworldtour.com and fans can follow events @appworldtour on Facebook & Instagram. For more information on the APP's City Paddle Festivals please visit www.citypaddlefestivals.com.
TEN: The Enthusiast Network
P: (760) 707-1937
Opening Day of the 2018 Pacific Paddles Games presented by Salt Life kicked off SUP’s greatest weekend in classic style. Paddlers of all sorts took to the water at Doheny State Beach, including pros, groms, prone paddlers and everything in between. The result was a compelling spectacle to say the least, so we’ll let it speak for itself.
Full Recap from Day One at #PPG2018
Day One of the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life kicked off with a bang at Doheny State Beach with challenging ocean conditions created from a combination of solid swell from Hurricane Sergio, a gusty south wind and the sharpest competition the venue has seen yet. It was a historic day of action — one that will only be topped by Final’s Day tomorrow.
The action began early with the Distance race for every class of paddler. For the gentlemen, it was Australian powerhouses Michael Booth and Lincoln Dews who put the hammer down early and took turns leading a draft train of the world's best male paddlers. With both Booth and Dews locked into a points battle for the Paddle League title at this event, it was evident early on that this would not be an easily forfeited battle.
And a new face on the PPG podium--Lincoln Dews--took the Pro Mens SUP Distance division with a commanding lead. (See also: overall title contender). Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
While Booth has held the competitive edge in distance racing this year, Dews grabbed another gear once the field began the second lap and began to pull away by a couple board lengths. It was a slim gap that he would not relinquish. Dews pulled off the big win while Titouan Puyo took second and, in perhaps one of the biggest upsets of the day, 20-year-old Brazilian Guilherme Dos Reis claimed third. Arthur Arutkin and Michael Booth would round out the top five, respectively.
"It was brutal out there, one of the hardest races I've ever done,” said Dews. “I'm so stoked to win it."
Candice Appleby will be looking for a huge victory tomorrow. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
The ladies would not settle their Distance race until the final right-hand buoy turn back to shore. While Seychelle streaked out to an early lead, Candice Appleby, Fiona Wylde and Shae Foudy dogged her the entire race as the group swapped spots throughout. As they made their final approach to the beach, Appleby and Seychelle lost control and fell around the final buoy turn back to the beach as a set rolled out the back. This opened the door for Wylde, who would proceed to catch a set wave to surf clear of her rivals and claim a victory that had eluded her for years.
“I didn’t think that I could do it,” Wylde said. “That’s the greatest part for me. This is my ninth year coming here to compete between Battle of the Paddle and PPG, and I’ve always had that dream of winning a race here. And today I proved it to myself which is really cool.”
The day’s action also included the quarterfinal heats of the Men’s Pro Technical races and the semifinals of the Women’s Pro Technical races. Highlights included a rematch of last year’s epic battle between Baxter and Dews. And while Baxter was able to fend off Dews once again, it seemed to foreshadow another battle between the two tomorrow. Danny Ching and Arthur Arutkin also pulled off statement wins in their respective heats. Meanwhile, Olivia Piana held off Terrene Black to win the Women’s first semifinal heat, while Shae Foudy stomped the field in the second semi to prove she’s here to win it all on her home turf.
The Pro Women came next and French speed demon Olivia Piana took to the water on a brand new board. She proceeded to win her heat. Photo: JP Van Swae
Near the end of the day, Pro Junior Tyler Bashor stroked into a Hail-Mary set wave and the crowd began to rumble.
The fans and paddlers at his home beach assembled on the shoreline and continued to holler as the swell propelled the young paddler to catch up to the race’s two leaders.
Three paddlers, one wave and a PPG race title all hinged on an impending foot race up the beach. Fueled by adrenaline and the roars of the crowd, the trio leapt from their boards simultaneously as they hit the sand. Seconds later, the beach was a frenzied scene of celebration as the crowd-favorite local paddler completed one of the most exciting come-from-behind victories in PPG history.
Moments earlier, Bashor appeared to be relegated to finishing third after a heavy wipeout allowed Tahiti's Keoni Sulpice (second) and Brazil's Guilherme Cunha (third) to pull away from him.
That was before one big set wave set up the magical finish.
"It's something like I've never experienced before," he said afterwards, tearing up, "So many people on the beach believing in me."
Last but not least, the Pro Junior Women’s Final rounded out the racing with a dominant performance from Jade Howson.
"Really I was just trying to stay up, the strategy was: do not fall,” said an exhausted Howson after a full day of racing in both the Pro and Pro Junior categories. “I'm just ready to go to sleep."
Howson is likely not alone with that sentiment. The world’s best paddlers will all be hoping to get a good night sleep before Finals Day tomorrow. Racing action begins at 8:30 AM PST with Open Technical racing, while our live broadcast will kick off at 11:30 AM PST to bring you all the Pro Technical action from Finals day.
See you on the beach!
To those who are unable to attend the Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life in person this weekend: have no FOMO. The #PPG2018 Live Webcast is here! Tune in to above for the final rounds of the Pro Technical divisions starting at 12pm PST!
Get social. We’re dishing out the goods on @SUPthemag‘s Instagram Story all weekend, so keep checking back for exclusive coverage and authentic moments. Hashtag #PPG2018 with all your media and check out the #PPG2018 Event Page for more info.
SUP mag media. SUP will be releasing full recaps, results, photo galleries and video highlights on pacificpaddlegames.com following each day of competition. Check in Saturday and Sunday evenings for an analytical breakdown of the day’s Technical Races, photos from all angles of the course and consolidated video highlights of the hottest action from #PPG2018.
Don’t miss a minute of SUP’s biggest weekend, no matter where you are! See you on the beach.
Who to Watch at #PPG2018
To those who are unable to attend the Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life in person this weekend: have no FOMO. The #PPG2018 Live Webcast is here! Experience the action live from wherever you are.
Come to Doheny State Beach. Nothing beats a front-row seat, especially when it’s parked in the sand at Doheny State Beach. An up-close-and-personal view, a full selection of the industry’s hottest new gear and boards to demo and a chance to take part in a historical moment for the sport are just a few of the perks for being at #PPG2018 in person. It’s the only way to fully appreciate the massive arena that is the Pacific Paddle Games, and besides, if you’re not there, how can you add it to your Instagram Story?
Watch the LIVE stream. With complete coverage of the competition airing LIVE on @SUPthemag’s Facebook page, and here (above), we’re doing our best to put you in the sand even if you can’t be at Doheny. Saturday’s three live-streams covered the morning Distance Race and the afternoon Pro Women’s and Men’s Technical Race Qualifying Rounds. Sunday’s stream features Pro Mens Semi-, and Final Technical Races as well as the Open Men’s and Women’s, plus the Pro Women’s Technical Final (see full schedule HERE). Some would argue that the view from the webcast is even better than the view from the beach. With commentating from some of SUP’s most experienced analysts, live interviews with the winners and beach profiles shot by our professional film team, we see why they’d say that, though we’d still argue against them.
Get social. We’ll be dishing out the goods on @SUPthemag‘s Instagram Story all weekend, so keep checking back for exclusive coverage and authentic moments. Hashtag #PPG2018 with all your media and check out the #PPG2018 Event Page for more info.
The 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life is less than 24 hours from kicking off and the energy down at Doheny State Beach is thundering--it could have something to do with the already pumping surf from Hurricane Sergio. The world’s best paddlers have gathered to test their abilities against each other and the rising south swell. But with so many different talented paddlers gathered in a single place, it can be difficult to figure out who are the favorites to claim their share of the gender-equal $60,000 prize purse. And while there are plenty of other top paddlers who could steal the glory this weekend, we have our eyes on these 10 paddlers.
You can’t think of PPG without thinking Connor Baxter. The man is undefeated in standup paddling’s biggest race of the year, going a perfect three-for-three thus far. He swept both the distance and technical races at #PPG2017, but it took a thrilling battle with Lincoln Dews in the Technical Final to do so.
Connor Baxter enjoys the sweet taste of victory (aka beer) after his third-straight PPG title. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez
This year, a few cracks have begun to develop in Baxter’s dominance of the sport. While he won this year at the Olukai Ho’o and recently took a sprint racing victory at the New York SUP Open, he has uncharacteristically struggled in several other races (he mentioned to us that it might have something to do with his gorgeous European wedding to his sweetheart--a most honorable distraction). Nevertheless, the PPGs are a surf race which is an entirely different beast than flatwater races. Could ConBax end the year in spectacular fashion? We certainly wouldn’t bet against it.
One year later and people are still talking about the incredible battle between Lincoln Dews and Connor Baxter in the Pro Technical Final at #PPG2017. Neither racer would give an inch and spent much of the race either in a dead heat or nose-to-tail. While Dews narrowly lost that battle, he carried the momentum into 2018 and posted some strong results in Europe including two second-place finishes and a big win in Germany.
#PPG2017 overall champ Connor Baxter going blow-for-blow with Lincoln Dews in the Technical Race. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez
These solid results have him hot on the heels of Michael Booth in the Paddle League standings and #PPG2018 represents his last chance to catch him. You think Mr. Dews might have redemption on his mind as he returns to Doheny State Beach? You can count on it.
Whereas Baxter and Dews are long and lanky, Michael Booth produces his speed with brute power and force. He looks akin to the Hulk and has hammered his way to several big wins this year, including his first-ever victory at the Carolina Cup.
Michael Booth called the Carolina Cup victory the “biggest win of his career.” Photo courtesy of Chris McQuiston / Paddle League.
While the Aussie is leading the Paddle League standings over Lincoln Dews, he is narrowly trailing Arthur Arutkin in the APP World Tour rankings with both Casper Steinfath and Baxter right behind him. Expect him to perform well in the Distance race, but the Technical race will determine whether his championship lead stays intact.
You can never count out standup paddling’s friendly Viking. The Danish powerhouse has a knack for big races, as is evident by his win at the 2017 Red Bull Heavy Water and earlier this year at the London SUP Open.
Casper Steinfath weathers subzero temperatures and harrowing seas during The Viking Crossing 2.0. Photo courtesy of Casper Steinfath
In addition to racing, he also completed an 80-mile SUP expedition from Denmark to Norway — The Viking Crossing. He’s always good on the Technical course so the Distance race on Saturday morning will be his real test for the weekend. Could this be the Year of the Viking?
The windsurfer-turned-paddler from France has quietly had his biggest year to date. He’s coming off a big win at the New York SUP Open over elite competition including Steinfath, Baxter and Booth.
Arthur Arutkin took home the win in the Pro Men’s Division over Travis Grant and Michael Booth. Photo courtesy of APP World Tour.
This result has put him in the driver’s seat of the APP World Tour title hunt as the world’s best paddlers prepare for their next stop of the tour at Doheny. While he finished 10th overall last year at the PPGs, his results have improved across the board this year and we expect that trend to continue this weekend.
The Queen of SUP is in the midst of a major rebound year and comes into her home race with plenty of momentum on her side. She just notched a major victory at the New York SUP Open and is hot on the heels of her Infinity teammate Shae Foudy in the APP World Tour rankings. Appleby is no stranger to success at the PPGs, having won the overall title in the event’s first two years.
Candice Appleby. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt
Though at last year’s race, Appleby never seemed to be able to find her groove and ended up finishing seventh overall. Nevertheless, her recent results suggest she has found her top gear once more. We spoke with here this morning and she’s relaxed and feeling strong. If she can carry that calm throughout the weekend, we may very well see the Queen reclaim her crown at the conclusion of the weekend.
While Appleby looks strong, Shae Foudy cannot be underestimated. She took home a pair of huge wins this year at both the London SUP Open and the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge course race. Foudy finished third overall at last year’s PPGs and second the year prior.
Shae Foudy with a second-place finish in the Pro Women Technical Final in 2017. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez/SUP magazine
Foudy is one of the best surf racers in the field and with the crowd support behind the Dana Point local, as well as growing up paddling through the reefs of Doheny, this could be the year she stands on the top step of the podium.
One of standup paddling’s most consistent paddlers is undoubtedly Fiona Wylde. If there’s a major race, you can bet Wylde will find her way to the podium by the end of it. She already has a slew of podiums this year, including another win in the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge downwind race. She finished fourth overall at last year’s PPGs, but will be looking to improve on that this year.
Fiona Wylde was working hard to hold off a hungry pack of paddlers giving chase. Photo: JP Van Swae
Like Steinfath, her test will come in the Distance. South wind bumps are possible in the morning tomorrow and that could either hurt or hinder. With #PPG2018 being a combination of both Distance and Technical race results, don’t be surprised if Fiona ends up with the most coveted podium spot this weekend.
Olivia Piana has steadily been rising through the SUP ranks for the last few years and it’s no stretch to say that 2018 has been her breakout year. In addition to two big victories in Europe at Bilbao and Germany, she claimed runner-up honors at the Carolina Cup, making her a threat in the Distance Race tomorrow morning.
Fiona Wylde and Olivia Piana were exhausted yet cheerful after a tough race.
Will she be able to handle the overhead head surf? Regardless, there’s no doubt Piana will be looking to make a good first impression here at Doheny.
Last but certainly not least is the German powerhouse Sonni Hönscheid. Once again, this elite paddler has had an outstanding year even by her standards and is leading the Paddle League standings by a healthy margin over Piana. She has four big wins this year, but perhaps none bigger than her win at the Carolina Cup.
Sonni Hönscheid was in a league of her own in Carolina. Photo courtesy of The Paddle League / Georgia Schofield
Nevertheless, the PPGs have always been her Achilles Heel. She finished eighth overall last year and has yet to finish on the podium at Doheny. We know she’ll be eager to reverse this trend when the buzzer sounds this weekend.
We would be remiss to not mention Annabel Anderson in this write up. The dominant #PPG2017 champ underwent surgery after the season last year and then, while out skiing, took a nasty fall from which she’s still recovering. We wish her the best on that journey.
More info on #PPG2018.
Kai Lenny is a man on a mission.
No matter how many boards (or foils) he has in his quiver, the Maui waterman is always on the hunt for a new way to fuel his stoke for the ocean. And we’re not alone in declaring that his mission has thus far been very successful. For his latest trick, Lenny catches a few waves in Hossegor, France with a method that could only be described as unconventional.
Lenny stroked into waves on an inflatable SUP before transferring onto an alaia with footstraps. Of course, Lenny is not the first paddler to attempt the SUP-to-alaia transfer on a wave. Fred Compagnon began trying this a few years ago and managed to pull into some pretty epic barrels. In the video, Lenny says it was those Youtube videos of Fred’s move that inspired him to give it a try. As per usual, Lenny was a natural and even found a way to compare it to foiling.
Check it out for yourself!
Watch: Fred Compagnon’s SUP-to-alaia transfer leads to an epic barrel ride.
SUP yoga is well-known as an excellent way to relieve stress and improve balance in a fun, yet challenging activity. For one unlucky Seattle man, it landed him in the slammer for nine months.
Good luck explaining that one to his fellow inmates.
According to the Seattle Times, 67-year-old Seattle man, Paul D. LaMarche, was featured on a television show doing SUP yoga, which, normally would not fall into the category of activities prohibited by law. But there’s a catch to this case.
Back in 1988, LaMarche claimed he was unable to work as a conductor and brakeman for the BNSF Railway due to a medical condition that left him unable to "lift, pull or carry heavy items" and caused "debilitating headaches daily." Over the next 23 years, LaMarche collected nearly $180,000 in disability benefits from Railroad Retirement Board and continued to claim that he was unable to work and had limited earnings.
Unfortunately for Mr. LaMarche, the U.S. Department of Justice caught wind of the fact that his “disability” had not prevented him from opening Emerald City Charters, which runs two large sailboats out of Emerald Bay with — you guessed it — LaMarche as the skipper.
Of course, this schemester was far from finished flaunting the law. To promote his charter-boat business, LaMarche was filmed in both the promotional videos of him sailing and the aforementioned television show featuring him practicing SUP yoga.
Once prosecutors got ahold of these clips, the SUP yogi knew his gig was up.
Mr. LaMarche plead guilty to wire fraud and theft of government property in March and was sentenced this week in US District Court. In addition to the nine months in prison, LaMarche agreed to pay back the $177,369 he received in disability payments, as well as another $177,369 in civil penalties for violating the False Claims Act.
A high price to pay for an activity that normally ends with a simple namaste.
Standup Paddler Breaks Skull of San Diego Man.
The Curious Case of the Vanishing Paddler
The biggest week in standup paddling is officially upon us. And with only a few days until SUP racing action returns to the famed shoreline of Doheny State Beach, competitors and fans alike are making their final preparations, hopping on planes and getting psyched for a weekend that promises to deliver intense action and fun activities for the whole family.
While the on-water action is sure to be heated, it’s what’s happening after the races conclude that has the whole SUP community buzzing. For the first time in event history, the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life will feature an official After-Party. In case you haven’t heard about it or aren’t sure what this party is all about, here are six reasons to attend this blowout SUP celebration.
If you are racing this weekend at #PPG2018, your ticket to the After-Party is already confirmed. That makes registration to this year’s big race the best value yet! But you better hurry, registration ends on Thursday, October 4.
Race at #PPG2018, get into the After-Party. Photo: Menendez
For those who won’t be racing at the PPGs, general admission tickets can be purchased for $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door. And considering that this party includes food, drinks, music and a chance to celebrate with the entire SUP community, we’d call that a screamin’ deal.
Of course, this couldn’t possibly be the wildest After-Party in the sport without a live band. To get this party rocking, we’ve enlisted one of Orange County’s most popular local bands, Flock of 80s.
#supawards, anyone? Photo: Black-Schmidt
Yes, that is an 80’s cover band and we personally selected them after watching the group perform live a few months back. These guys (and girls) keep the energy pumping as they belt out all of your favorite 80’s hits. So poof up your hair and dig deep into the closet to pull out your finest 80’s attire — shoulder pads and all. Trust us, it’s gonna get wild.
Need we say more? The #PPG2018 After-Party is an all-inclusive affair that will provide guests with an open bar and complimentary food.
SUP Awards, where drinks flow like the water we paddle upon. Photo by Aaron Black-Schmidt
Thanks to our generous sponsors at 10 Barrel Brewing and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the SUP community will get a chance to cut loose without spending an extra dime.
How many sports can you name in which you can rub shoulders and dance the night away with its top athletes? Probably not too many. But that’s exactly what you’ll be able to do at the #PPG2018 After-Party.
After watching the world’s best paddlers duke it out in the surf at Doheny State Beach, you’ll be able to join them and celebrate a triumphant weekend of paddling. Not to mention, you won’t have to go anywhere as this party is going to be held under the stars at Doheny.
Everybody is going to have a good time. Photo by Lorenzo Menendez
Not only will this party be a fun way to celebrate our great sport with like-minded individuals, the results of the 2018 SUP Awards will be announced live! Our fans have cast thousands of votes and the results are officially in, but the big winners won’t be revealed until the #PPG2018 After-Party. Be there live and feel the excitement and anticipation as the sport’s top paddlers get the results of the most prestigious award in standup paddling.
Not only is the #PPG2018 After-Party going to be a blast, but it’s also going to be historic. While traditionally we held the SUP Awards/PPG Pre-Party in the days leading up to the big weekend, an After-Party is something we’ve never done. But after paddlers requested that the PPGs have its own official After-Party, we listened.
This Sunday evening, that wish will be granted with the biggest and wildest party in sport. You won’t want to miss this.
Register now for #PPG2018
Buy tickets to the After-Party.