2012 Ski to Sea Kayak Top Ten Recap
2012 Ski to Sea Kayak Top Ten Recap
This year S2S brought a mix of new athletes and consistent favorites to the annual relay race. Prerace changes to a short course format due to wind and issues related to late buoy placement added an element of uncertainty as competitors peeled out of the harbor into the prevailing headwind. What was certain was that this race served as a great community event to highlight our sport and plenty of opportunities for pre & post event celebration. Big thanks to all the volunteers, competitors, and the community for making this event a huge success.
1. Gabe Newton – 26:15 – FENN Elite SL Seattle
Gabe has been pushing hard all year after spending the winter in Australia & South Africa training and racing with some of the best in the world. Just back from a top twenty finish at the Molokai World Championships, he is paddling well as he sets his sights on US Champs in early August. Gabe just made the switch to a Fenn Elite SL and demonstrated he can move the boat well upwind, can’t wait to see what in can do in downwind situations.
2. Zsolt Szadovszki – 26:45 Hawaii
This is the second year in the row that Zsolt has competed for the top overall team. This year the team depended on him to take the lead back in the final sprint to the last turn marker. Zsolt comes from a long flatwater racing career and now calls Hawaii home. He is a great ambassador of the sport and is working on creating a surfski school in Hawaii. We look forward to having Zsolt return to the mainland later this summer for more exciting racing.
3. David Jacobson – 27:11 – FENN Elite SL Bellingham
I knew once again the top ten would be packed with fast paddles and wasn’t sure how I would end up in the mix with my focus for the past two years on longer distance events. Took the gamble to tuck in close to the boardwalk/ bank to get out of the wind in the midsection of the course and think it might have paid off. Psyched once again to be racing for a local Whatcom County team and super excited to see the local surfski community continue to grow.
4. Eric Moll – 27:42 Olympia
Eric has consistently been a top PNW racer for many years and once again showed that he can grind it out with the best of them. He hails from a k-1 racing background and is always sparing with the top pack. This year Eric teamed up with Team Aeromech and he has been on several top teams in the past.
5. Kirk Christensen – 27:55 Bellingham
Kirk has been going strong this year and continues to be at the top of the local Bham surfski scene. I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with him chasing waves in Kauai this winter and he has been pushing hard through all the spring races. Kirk has been battling it out with sixth place finisher Shane Martin throughout the spring race season and it looks like the home advantage played in his favor.
6. Shane Martin – 28:04 Vancouver
Top Canadian result in S2S this year. Shane has consistently been making steady improvements over the last several years. He is a versatile paddler and is quick in the flats and waves. Probably one of the biggest and strongest paddlers in the race this weekend – got the love the team name ‘Still Looking for a Sponsor’.
7. Donald Kiesling – 28:05 Seattle
Don is an incredible ambassador to the sport & downwind surfing machine. Unfortunately, S2S turned out to be a 3 mile sprint/grind upwind & I’m sure Don was loving racing in the opposite direction of the waves. Know for chasing big waves and remote paddling destination as an active member of the Tsunami Rangers.
8. Brandon Nelson – 28:15 Bellingham
Brandon has set the pace in this race for many years and earned top honors as Top Gun in 2010. Well known in the paddling community for his top results in the ultra distance Yukon River Quest, he always gives the top pack a run for their money no matter what type of craft he’s paddling.
9. Ken Stanick – 28:28 Vancouver
Another Canadian ski racer out of Vancouver who jumped the boarder to compete in S2S. Ken has been working his way up in regional race results over the last several years and is a newcomer to the top ten. Definitely someone to keep on in the future as he continues to get faster.
10. Dylan Thomas – 28:41 – FENN Elite SL Hawaii
Hailing from the North Shore of Kauai, Dylan comes from a long background of surf lifesaving and sailing. Owner of Surfski Kauai, he offers surfski tours and lessons spanning from mild to wild in the beautiful setting of warm Kauai. Dylan is use to charging down some of the biggest & best waves the Pacific can offer, but he was able to change gears & sprint upwind in his first appearance in this race.
Top Female – Tracy Landboe Seattle
Tracy has been one of the fastest women paddlers in the PNW for several years and was able to showcase her speed at this event. She comes from a long and diverse racing background, most recently she has been very involved in developing youth k-1 racing in the Seattle area. She was the top female in S2S last year placing 24th overall, this year she jumped up two spots with an overall finish of 22nd!
Most Famous Kayaker to Compete?! – Margaret Langford
I ran into Margaret in the staging area the morning of the race. She described her boat as ‘some old heavy tub of a seakayak’, but she has the paddling history to make it move as a member of ‘The Real Housewives of Whatcom County’. I always have her remind me the number of times she represented Canada in whitewater slalom at the Olympics – I guessed four this weekend, but she corrected me that it was actually five!! She was known as a true powerhouse on the international circuit for over twenty years and set the standard during that time in North America. Great to see her line-up and give S2S a go, hope to see her return on a surfski in the future!