Week one of Sunday intervals went great. We had a good spectrum of boats & paddlers participate with special guest Ludo Tatos make an appearance to keep the workout honest. For the first week’s workout we did 6 x 5 min on with recovery time starting at 5 min and decreasing each set. Looks like we will see a little volume added and continued varied recovery time to help building overall volume while keeping quality. Too far out to say if the next storm cycle will bring waves, but same place & time unless it’s gusting for a downwinder! See you Sunday at noon, Bloedel
Took advantage of the great weather today in the Pacific Northwest and paddled the club double around Lummi Island with Kristen. We left from Marine Park at 9:45 am and took the long way around Eliza Island. Once in the channel, the winds picked up and we fought a headwind for a while. East side of Lummi was calm with a nice current. Back in Bellingham Bay the winds picked up again and we had to add a little extra distance at the end fighting NW wind across the bay. Overall, conditions were generally favorable with only a slight headwind in the west side of the island that had us going around 5 mph for about an hour or so. On the east side the current pushed us right along at a nice clip, hitting 9.0 at one point but generally between 7.5 to 8.5 mph. Amazingly, we didn’t see any other kayakers out other then when we were putting in and taking out.
Yesterday was the second annual Bellingham Paddle Grand Prix race held on Bellingham bay. Open to all human power crafts this year, The race nearly tripled in number on racers to 86 races with a strong showing of both surf ski, outrigger, and stand-up paddlers. Most importantly, the race served as a fundraiser for local kayaker & outdoor enthusiast Marshall Seaman to help with treatment expenses associated with his diagnosis of Guillain Barre. The best news of the event is the Marshall continues to make a strong recovery and the event was a huge success!
The race turned out to have stronger morning winds than expected and in typical Bellingham ‘character building’ fashion the race course has us going upwind on the surfable sections and downwind in the flats. The good old drifting start allowed the for some starting line jockeying for position and the race format of four loops around a mile and a half race course allowed an interesting race format with the ability to see all the races during the entire event.
The two Fenn Swordfish on the water were the talk after the race. FAST in the upwind, stable in the chop, and easy to link runs in the downwind,, the Swordfish was the perfect boat for these conditions. Duncan was beaming about how it handled in the mixed conditions. I jumped in the trusted Fenn Elite and was able to depend on the top end speed to push me ahead of the wolf pack. Kudo’s to the doubles team Sullivan/Goolsby for taking top honors in doubles in their Fenn Elite Double and Clement/Ecker for taking top honors in the borrowed Elite double! It’s high time that this town get a few more Elite doubles for more fast tandem action.
Top 10 Results Long Course
1. Dawid Mocke South Africa Fenn Elite 1:54:35
2. Matt Bouman South Africa Epic V10 1:58:38
3. Sean Rice South Africa Think Uno Max 1:59:47
4. Barry Lewin South Africa Custom Kayak Bullet 2:02:34
5. Dan Sanchez Spain Fenn Elite 2:04:10
6. Robert Barry Australia Fenn Elite 2:05:46
7. Greg Barton Seattle, WA Epic V12 2:07:05
8. Tommy Karls Sweden Fenn 2:07:50
9. Dorian Wolter Delware, OH Fenn Elite 2:08:57
10. Phillipe Boccara Newport Beach, CA Fenn Elite 2:09:12
August 13-14, 2011: Wavechaser hosted the 9th annual US Surfski Championships in San Francisco Bay this past weekend, attracting both top national and international paddles due to the great venue and cash purse. Early week forecasts were looking for potentially small conditions, then race morning the forecast was rumored for the wind and waves to pick up. Winds were in the mid 20s around Angel Island once the race got underway but big water racing conditions never materialized. The long race course challenged racers with 17 miles of mixed conditions with the first half offering flat sprint racing to the buoy and the second half including classic San Francisco Bay slop and moderate surfing conditions to Berkeley marina. Short course racers left 45 minutes after the long course start, meaning racers would hit Angel Island and the finish at roughly the same time. Locals were rating the conditions as a 3-4 out of 10 on the wind-o-meter, though everyone was challenged by the current and rebound in the second half.
The long course race started at roughly 1:45 pm, with a thick marine layer and visibility to Angel Island. Racers got off to a fast start and sprinted towards the Golden Gate Bridge in a dense pack. At 2:30, with the marine layer breaking and visibility clearing, the short course race had their start. Roughly 15 minutes later, long course lead paddler Dawid Mocke came into sight from behind the bridge. Close on his tail were Matt Bouman and Sean Rice, making for a close race to the Fenn Hotspot. Mocke lengthened his lead from the two and reached the hotspot with time to spare. Minutes later the rest of the pack was close behind, with the top 20 paddlers rounding the corner and racing to the Fenn Hotspot to start their downwinder to Angel Island’s Point Blunt. Dawid pulled ahead in the downwind section and finished over 4 minutes ahead of the second place finisher Matt Bouman. After this point, racers from both course began crossing the finish line in rapid succession.
Long Course Highlights:
Dawid Mocke returned to reclaim his title from last year and dominated throughout the course in his Fenn Elite, claiming both the Fenn Hotspot as well as a first place finish. His skill in a surfski was apparent as always, as he seamlessly linked waves on the downwinder while other were struggling to catch them. Greg Barton rebounded from a second place finish at the Wildside relay last month in the Columbia Gorge and reclaimed is title as the fastest US surfski paddler with a 7th place finish. Gabe “The Hammer” Newton was as strong as ever and finished 13th despite just getting back stateside 3 days earlier from his 5th place finish in the Avon Descent in Australia. Patrick Hemmens, who had been giving a lesson in downwinders all week in the new Fenn Elite SL, finished strong with a 14th place. Don Kielsing, right on Pat’s tail, finished 15th in the AllWave CX, a surfski out of Italy, edging out local favorite Carter Johnson who finished 16th.
The 22 year old slalom powerhouse, Austin Kieffer ripped up the course in a 22 lb Fenn Mako XT, claiming 19th place despite just starting surfski paddling two weeks earlier. Austin glided past his former slalom coach (that’s me) at Angel Island with a quick “What Up”. After a mild bonk at Angel island, I attempted to chase down Austin but was unable to close the gap at the finish, coming in 2 places behind the young gun in 21st place. The new Fenn Swordfish provided a stable and fast platform and allowed me to hang with a top pack in the first half of the race and provided ample stability and speed in the second half.
Gareth Tudor-Jones was Canada’s top finish with a 22nd place finish and, as always, it was a pleasure to be on the water with such a powerhouse. South African powerhouse Michelle Eray slid into the top 30 and was top female with a strong 29th place finish. Bellingham’s own Lycra model Morris Arthur rebounded from a slower than normal first half with a strong finish, 31st place. Kenny Howell showed some local knowledge in the course, placing 33rd and commented over a beer at the finish how he wished the waves were more like in the Columbia Gorge. DeAnne Hemmens, 2010 US Champs Womens Winner, was nothing but smiles as she comfortably glided across the finish line in her new Fenn Swordfish, taking 2nd place for the women’s long course. Deep Cove Outdoor’s Bob Putnam has a great race with a 39th place finish
Also of note: Bellingham’s own legendary Mike Gregory had solid race and was able to recover from a remount practice opportunity off Angel Island (no, he did not win the raffle this time) First time US Champs racer and Bellingham local, Roger Lam had the biggest smile at the finish but we weren’t sure if it was from the race itself or the fact that he was back on land.
Short Course Highlights
The new US Champs Short Course offered the most enticing course of the weekend with an immediate left turn out of Fort Baker with downwind all the way to the Berkeley Marina. Racers found the mixed conditions challenging with a wide range of ability level on the water. Local downwind specialist Craig Tanner opted for the short course and finished a strong 2nd behind Tony Hansen. Kim Cantrell of Bellingham, fresh off a week long Gorge trip, finessed the waves and had fun out on the water claiming a 7th place finish. Larry Bussinger won the Golden Masters division and battled across the finish line in 13th. The story of the day was Bellingham’s own Gwyn Howatt, surfing her way to a commanding 1st place finish in the women’s division and 16th place overall, beating out her dad by two spots. Bellingham legend Duncan Howatt was green with a flu at the start but still managed to link waves on the race course and finish 18th, heading straight to the Team Howatt van afterwards to nurse his illness. Look for Duncan to be putting the new Fenn Swordfish through it’s paces, as he heads back to Bellingham with a brand new carbon Swordfish. Bellingham’s “Paddler of the Year” Debbie Arthur stepped up her game this year, taking on the new short course and its mixed conditions, feeling a little queasy at the finish but still smiling. Dan Wakeland, also fresh from the Gorge, ate up the San Francisco with a smile from start to finish.
Doubles Course Highlights
The field was smaller than normal this year for the Sunday doubles race but stacked deep with competition between some of the top international paddlers. Conditions were choppy and flat, with a strong current under the bridge and little to no surfing from the Golden Gate to Berkeley Marina. Despite the flat conditions, times were fast due to a strong flood tide. Dawid Mocke and Sean Rice claimed 1st place with a time of 1:07:01. Breathing down their necks where Barry Lewin and Dave Jensen coming in just 5 seconds behind at 1:07:06. Roughly one minute later, Don Kiesling and Robert Barry claimed 3rd place with a time of 1:08:12. There were 3 mixed teams this year, all married couples, including Patrick and Deanne Hemmes (1st- 1:11:18), Morris and Debbie Arthur (2nd- 1:15:09), and DJ and Kristen Jacobson (3rd 1:16:55). For having not done much of any doubles paddling together this summer, Kristen and I were happy to be out paddling and took in the fun.
Overall, a great two days of racing and big thanks to the race directors and all the volunteers who make this amazing even possible. Can’t wait to next year.
Yesterday was the Wavechaser’s warm-up race from Fort Baker to the Berkeley Marina prior to US Champs next weekend. International paddlers Dawid Mocke and Barry Lewin raced as ringers from SA as warm-up for US Champs. Local paddles Carter and Robin teamed up in a double to prepare for next weeks doubles race and DeAnne & Patrick Hemmens made the trip up to represent their new skis. Yesterday was the first ski race for Austin Kieffer after a week of double workout training sessions in Bellingham,WA.
There was a significant race delay due to low wind conditions, and though the the nervous prerace tension increased during the delay period, the wind remained weak at 11 mph. At 3pm the race started and the race was off with quality bumper boats as paddlers sprinted under the Golden Gate and up to the first turn point. With minutes of the start, the double team of Carter/ Robin and Mocke & Lewin in singles split from the rest of the wolf pack with Patrick Hemmens hot on their heals. The downwind portion of the race consisted of long 3 footers with a bit of San Francisco Bay slop, barge traffic, and threading the needle between sail boats which were clustered between Angel Island and Berkeley. All is all, the conditions for the bay was a two on the scale of ten, but hopefully mother nature was taking the day off and will wake-up less hungover next weekend and unleash her furry for US Champs.
Brief Race results…
1.Dawid Mocke - 1:16:20 – Fenn Elite – though it’s questionable how hard he was racing (he was seen taking pictures with his paddle on his lap on the long runners), Dawid set the standard that he’s the man to beat, but we all know that already.
2.Carter/Robin – 1:16:30 – Fenn Elite Double – the local doubles team to beat just on the heals of Mocke, a team to watch in the doubles race next Sunday.
3.Barry Lewin - 1:16:50 – Customkayak Bullet – Barry was within spitting distance of the lead two boats paddling the new Bullet, definitely a boat to check out.
4.Patrick Hemmens -1:22:35 – Fenn Elite SL – Pat was off with the lead group and held his ground all race, a spec in the distance to most of the following racers. He’s starting to dial in the new Elite SL and is spending the week in the Bay Area preparing for US Champs.
5.Dave Jenson -1:22:43- Special – Dave is well known for his uncanny ability to find the swift waves and current, esp here on his homecourse. Big thanks goes out to him for all his volunteer time/energy for putting on the Wavechaser races
6. DJ -1:24:17- Fenn Swordfish – Very impressed with this race being the second time in this new boat, both fast and stable, can’t wait to get the boat boat to Bellingham for others to try. I’m hoping for big & bad conditions next weekend since I didn’t come here for flatwater!
7.Brent Reitz – 1:24:37- Special – I paddled up to Brent and asked him if his cardiologist knew what he was doing. Brent was keeping the power on during the entire race and had the biggest ear to ear grin throughout.
8. Craig Tanner – 1:25:45- Fenn Elite – Local racer who loves downwinders. He’s been doing more tri training this year, but he’s always dialed into going fast in the bay.
9. Austin Kieffer -1:26:12- Fenn XT – this was his first ski race and second paddle in non Lake Whatcom conditions. With a background as a current top US slalom racer, Austin hit the water after the awards ceremony for another ten mile cruise while most other racers hit the beer and Motrin. Everyone was very impressed with his speed on the flats, now he just needs to figure out how to surf in the next week. Ah, to be 22 and unstoppable….
*18. DeAnn Hemmens -1:29:22 – Fenn Swordfish – top female finisher in her new Swordfish. She walked away from the pack of guys around her and is paddling very well right now, looking for a repeat win next weekend at US Champs. She’s loving the new boat!!
Of note, Bellingham’s own Mike G. won top prize at the raffle (again) this week, is this guy lucky or what???… Patrick has decided to stay in town all week and Austin and I are going to be chasing waves with him all week. We’re headed out to the open ocean today in search of a little excitement. Ocean Paddlesports boats are available for demo all week and will be representing in force at the Friday demo day and I will be bringing the new Fenn Swordfish and Elite SL home to Bellingham with me.
Just back to Bellingham, WA from five days of seriously fun surfing at the Columbia Gorge with conditions starting big & mixed giving way to moderate surf throughout the trip. Current was a BIG factor and downwinders (going up river) took much longer than usual. Here’s some reflections on the conditions:
The Big Days….
The first two days were big due to strong winds pushing waves upstream against the significant current. The classic Gorge style long glassy waves were few and far between. Waves were big, choppy, and very steep. Longer skis were having trouble keeping the nose above water and wider boats seemed to handle the mixed conditions best. Swims (yes, there were a few in our group) tended to take several remount attempts, and a quality leash system was a must for all. There was a lot of discussion on leash systems after the big days that saw a variety of snapped leashes and lost gear, more on that to come….
I paddled a Fenn Mako XT for the majority of the big days though I did two sessions in big wind conditions in the Elite. I’m a big fan of both boats, but in big, steep, mixed conditions paddling in a group, the XT was the ticket. When we had to ‘circle the wagons’ to regroup or help folks out, I felt the XT gave the ability to better assist the group and safely navigate the waves. To be honest, in the sloppy mixed conditions of the Columbia River, the XT truly excelled. We brought down two XTs and in almost all paddling sessions, both boats were in use. The Elite was fun and challenging in the bigger conditions, but it didn’t offer much support to the group as compared to the XT. At the end of a ripping downwinder at the takeout in Bingen, a kiteboarder was stranded forty feet off shore unable to get back in due to currents and a swift back eddy. After several failed attempts of the group towing him and yelling encouragement to swim harder, I finally had him climb aboard spread eagle fashion on the back of the XT and was able to ferry him to shore. (This was only after he conceded to letting go of his gear, which was one of the main reasons he couldn’t get in in the first place) Morris towed his kite and board to shore which was a challenge in itself. Though we didn’t score any beer from this save (or even much of a thanks), we hopefully earned some Karma points. Experiences like this made us realize that practicing rescues is an important part of training both for the rescuer and the rescuee.
The Medium Days….
The last two days settled down to around 15-20mph winds, and in classic Bellingham surfski paddler fashion, we did loops both days at Swell City. Usually going to the Gorge is all about setting shuttle for the downwinders, but we opted to spend some quality time doing some park & play. The conditions at Swell City couldn’t have been better for loops due to the swift currents and consistent 3-5ft waves, with a few rogue 6-7 ft mixed in. By skirting the eddy line on the on the way back upwind, it was easy to maintain 7-8mph with only moderate paddling effort. The downwind sections provided ample practice at connecting mixed rollers, though my GPS never went above 12mph at top steep thanks to the opposing river current. Morris continued his practice of gear water rescues and was
able to fish out a kite board that had separated from it’s owner upstream in Hood River. When the happy owner arrived to retrieve her gear we scored some beer money and much thanks. (Morris: “I’ll say no to beer money once, but it’s just rude to say no if they keep insisting”). Another lesson of the trip: Make sure to write your name and number on your gear in case you ever get separated from it, a six pack is a lot cheaper than a new paddler (or new boat).
Overall, our first Gorge trip of the summer was action packed and fun. Looking forward to getting back down there at the end of next week for some more surfing and warming up for the Wildside Relay and US Champs in San Francisco.
Last weekend was the annual Round Bowen Challenge north of Vancouver, BC. The race was bumped back one month by race organizers in the hopes of better weather and more wind. I missed the memo that summer arrived and should have been clued into the relative heat as I kept finding shade during the pre-race meeting. The direction of the race was switched to counterclockwise at the pre-race meeting to better accommodate the predicted southerly winds that race organizers were banking on which never arrived. I was visualizing surfing cool Strait of Georgia waves during the second part of the race the spray whipping over my shoulders.
Within five minutes of the start I realized I was overdressed in long lycra tights and an insulated long sleeve shirt, at the two-mile mark I officially decided I was overheating. Instead to taking the minute or two to takes cloths off then, I decided to sit tight and paddle through it. The rest of the race kind of went like:
Mile 8: Bonked from the heat
Mile 12: asked the person I was barely drafting off of going 6 mph if we were almost #%* there.
Mile 14: Pulled into a beach, took cloths off & went swimming.
Mile 16: Repeated pulling into another beach, more cloths came off, another swim.
|JACOBSON, David||MHPK||146||(other #?)|
It’s officially summer, even in the PNW, and time to show some pasty skin and wear less clothing.
There were some great performances of note:
Don Kiesling and Gabe Newton pulled hard through the flats and set a new course record in their Fenn Elite Double and walking with some cash and a trophy. Be cool to see what kind of damage these guys can to at the US Champs….
Ian Mackenzie came close to the singles course record in his K-1. A couple prerace conversations I overheard consisted around ‘ballsy’ and ‘can he remount that boat’, but it was all a walk in the park for Ian. Wasn’t fast enough to hang with the top two doubles, but way ahead of all the other singles, kudos!
Morris and Debbie Arthur and have really taken off as the PNW’s top mixed double team. I’ve been told that Morris beat the heat and raced in his underwear, whatever their trick they smoked the competition. I heard Debbie warming up the going to US Champs after the race to give the new downwind course a try, maybe another repeat of the underwear performance is in store?
Ski to Sea is a couple days away and the excitement in town is growing. I went out yesterday and practiced the course and added a couple miles of distance at the end chasing some rolling waves. I met a first time racer who’s a new seakayaker in the parking lot and was immediately quizzed for beta. He was drooling over my Fenn Elite and asked if he should find a faster boat than his 25-inch wide seakayak. Learning this was going to be his third time in a boat and first time on saltwater, I basically tried to relay the wider the better (“phater the better” was the comment) and to stick with what he had. He put in next to me and was wearing next to nothing and was a little apprehensive about six inch choppy conditions. Not trying to be too mother goosey, I tried to relay that he needed to be within spitting distance of land and just to take it easy. When I returned he was psyched about his paddle, had decided to follow my advice and had not ventured past the marine headwall, and was already planning his next paddle. For me, this paddler encompassed why ski to sea is such a great event; it a venue for people from varied individual athletic backgrounds to compete as a team. Plus, paddlers get the glory leg of being the last event and get to sleep in, have time for plenty of smack talking as we wait for the teams to trickle in, and get to ring the finish bell at the race. Most surf ski races are comparatively lonely events and other racers are the only company (which is fine by me), so it’s impressive and somewhat comical to see all the hype that’s around this race.
An impressive field of fast surf ski paddlers are going to compete, and even though it’s a team event, everyone is going for individual leg placement. Wind and waves during different times of the race will most likely affect individual times, plus getting good placement in a chase pack will add some variables into the equation. The racecourse is approximately five miles long and on the mellow side of racing conditions. Most local racers compare individual results as yearly bragging rights and many stop competing all together after S2S. Most of the bigger races are closer to 15-20 miles in length and often have at least one leg of the race in downwind ripping surf conditions. It’s fun being on a competitive team and slapping high fives in our tight lycra, but super cool watching the majority of racers stream into the finish. I would love to get on the water with a fast racer to chase and gun it out with, but the last two years being on the MRSAnaries the race was spread out enough in the top pack that I had somewhat of a lonely paddle. Last year I had to remind myself I was racing at the halfway mark and tossed in a couple intervals which helped me have a good overall finish. The year before that I was about to miss a marker buoy that was hidden among sail boats till a sheriff escort boat chased to down directed me back on course via loudspeaker.
Ski to sea is more like a fast sprint for the more experiences racers, but more importantly, a great event for someone new to the sport to get a taste of going fast. I remember cheering on friends at the finish who were finishing 200th place and higher last year. It’s awesome watching waves of paddlers crank into the beach, some stumbling around in the mud from ‘dead-leg’ for sitting in their boat. It’s cool to talk with locals who do the race, get hooked, and immediately start thinking how they get faster for next year. Watching the ‘ringers’ rip up the racecourse is impressive, but watching the hundreds to follow is awesome and the true spirit of the race. Good luck at the races!!!