Capital Adventures ~ 2016 Pacific Paddle Games
Capital Adventures ~ 2016 Pacific Paddle Games
Told By: Brian Meyer
Twenty paddlers from Capital SUP’s race training program traveled to Dana Point, CA for the second installment of the Pacific Paddle Games. Formerly known as the Battle Of The Paddle, and now currently known as the “Super Bowl” of SUP racing! Not only did our group represent Capital SUP, we also proudly represented “Team Maryland,” by showing the SUP world what an amazing community we have. For many of the paddlers, it was their first experience witnessing and competing in a world renown stand up paddleboard event! The spectatorship surrounding the highlighted technical races, that consists of paddling in and out of the surf, is eye catching, but also carnage inducing!
Although we are fortunate to have direct access to multiple waterways that include a protected creek, river, and the iconic Chesapeake Bay, none of them give us the opportunity to paddle in and out of the surf. Even for someone like myself, who has competed in several surf style races, I was even nervous because of the lack of proper training. To ease the minds of the team, we set up several very fun team activities to calm the nerves.
Our first team event was a group workout at Foundation Fitness, the official “Anti-Gym,” located in San Clemente, CA. Foundation’s value is in creating team motivated workouts that combine safe functional movement training, with an “Adult PE” spin! The team at Foundation uses their corky personalities to their advantage, as our team spent 75% time laughing while getting our butts kicked! This place is a must visit when visiting Southern California!
Our second team event, was a stand up paddle clinic led by professional SUP racer Josh Riccio. He’s recently been adopted into the Capital SUP family! Josh is one of the best technical racers in the world, making the final at the 2015 Pacific Paddle Games, as well as making the final at The Quicksilver Jamie Mitchell Survivor Race at Huntington Beach, CA in August. He’s also an amazing teacher, therefore our team was in good hands. Most of our team have only been paddling for less than a year, so it was very fun watching them progress quickly learning to surf with 12’6” & 14” raceboards! With a full day in the water at Doheny State Beach that included some entertaining wipeouts, the team was in need of a recovery session. Capital SUP’s other adopted paddlebro, Jeramie Vaine, professional SUP racer and world traveling Bro Yogi, came to rescue to lead a private yoga session at our oceanfront Paddle Palace.
Race weekend…the water fest spectacle we all had been prepping, training, and being nervous for! The event organizers, SUP The Mag, added an additional day to event to spread out the wealth and add more value, or so we thought…I understand why there’s enormously more focus for the pro events rather than the open races, however what went down at the Pacific Paddle Games this year was downright embarrassing in my eyes.
(1) Safety – One of the biggest issues regarding the SUP industry. After last year’s carnage due to the large surf, industry leaders made a point to make future races safer. Even though mother nature is out of our control, there are still ways to make a race safer. Putting over 200 paddlers, by the way mostly inexperienced in surf conditions, on a “technical course” that was a simple square that I could’ve set up in the creek we train in was ridiculous! The most insane part was watching over 150 men perform a beach start through the surf, with 50+ women starting a couple minutes after, and then watching EVERYONE come in through the surf together! Talk about a logistical and safety nightmare. I stood on the beach watching it all unfold and my face hurt afterward from cringing.
(2) Value – Over half the field of Open competitors finished the square course in less than 20 minutes, with the leaders coming in around 14 minutes. Each Open competitor contributed $135 to the cause, WOW…Hopefully one day race organizers will realize the longevity of the sport of SUP racing will only continue if they show more value in the Open / Amateur races. I could go on for a while on this topic, however I want to highlight the outstanding job our team did!
With several podium finishes, and numerous milestone moments on and off the water, the team finished the Pacific Paddle Games knowing they gave it their best, and were very proud of their accomplishments! Again, many of our team have been paddling less than a year, and they competed in the biggest race in world by surviving, not quitting, and conquering! For the official results, click here.
While racing was the objective of planning our latest Capital Adventures trip, the experiences surrounding the races is what makes these trips so memorable. From the team workouts, private yoga sessions, group hike along the California coast, dance parties at our oceanfront Paddle Palace, to eating some of the best food of our lives, this trip will be one our team will never forget! The highlight of my trip was the interaction between the group. What makes Capital SUP’s paddling community so amazing is the diversity of the people we’ve brought together. Bringing everyone out of their normal element, and putting them in ours together to interact with one another is so much fun to see and be a part of!
In conclusion, We Paddle, We Pump, We Party, and we’re living the Boardshort Businessmen lifestyle!
Click here to watch our Pacific Paddle Games recap video!
–PaddleBro1pacific paddle games, stand up paddleboarding, sup the mag