Monthly Archives: July 2012

Mocke Wins Wavechasers Downwinder in a FENN SWORDFISH

Fenn Swordfish

Dawid Mocke started out his stay in San Fransisco on a good note by taking top honors at the Wavechasers Downwinder #4 in a Fenn Swordfish.  A proven downwind machine, the Swordfish is demonstrating that is has the top end speed to stay ahead of the wolfpack in ocean racing conditions.

The Top Ten

1 65 Dawid Mocke OP SK 1:27:11 1st Open Surfski
2 135 Daniel Sanchez Viloria OP SK 1:29:09 2nd Open Surfski
3 142 Robbie Ford OP SK 1:30:50 3rd Open Surfsk
4 148 Robin Graham MS SK 1:31:01 1st Master Surfski
5 99 Franck Fifils OP SK 1:31:46
6 196 Patrick Switzer OP SK 1:31:48
7 257 Patrick Hemmens MS SK 1:33:17 2nd Master Surfski
8 132 Dave Jensen MS SK 1:33:57 3rd Master Surfski
9 134 Ian Mercer MS SK 1:34:03
10 138 John Sokolich MS SK 1:34:50
Please feel free to contact OPS to arrange a demo of the full Fenn line-up and check out their their demo booth this Friday prior to US Champs at the Shorebird Park, Berkeley Marina.  Full line of

OPS products is available for demo anytime in Bellingham, please feel free to contact DJ to arrange a demo session at 360.305.9517

Good luck to all racers at US Champs!

Who Needs an Altitude Chamber!

Gabe putting the finishing touches on his US Champs training preparation.

Wildside 2012 – Good to the Last Drop

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The Finish Mix

1.  Washington – Don/Gabe

2. California – Dave/Carter

3. Washington/ North Carolina – DJ/Austin

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The mandatory Drano Lake bellyflop

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Ocean Paddlesports paddlers Austin & Gabe prepare to race as DJ rides a Fenn SL into the first transition

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Gabe, Austin & Carter head east at the start of the second leg

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Austin heads for the waves in the Fenn Elite at the last transition

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Big wave guru Duncan Howett warms-up the Swordfish prior to leg #1

The Young Dark Knight

I wondered why I couldn’t hold onto my paddle at the end of the downwinder on our 8th day of paddling at the Gorge, then a little finger math answered the fatigue question.  Fourteen hard paddling sessions at ‘Austin speed’ in the first week had left me wrecked.  At the beginning of the week I could count on putting the hurt on him in the bigger downwind surf legs, but once he discovered to surf instead of going up & over everything, he started becoming a dot in the distance.  The only solace I discovered after Austin learned to surf was as good of a paddler he is does not in anyway correlate to his running ability (ie lack of).  Sweet, polite, well spoken Austin becomes a sweaty, cursing, raving maniac during any uphill portions on morning jogs.  Needless to say, our runs somehow added more uphill segments as a little out of the boat sweet revenge.

There may be a lot of fish in the sea, but DJ has got the “Fish” for you! – Guest post by Austin Kieffer

A new shipment of boats has arrived in Bellingham, strait from Ocean Paddlesports. We have replenished our entire line of Fenn products and there just might be a beautiful, brand-new boat waiting for you to unwrap and unleash on the waves.

First, we have a Fenn XT (glass). This boat is perfect for beginners or those who want the upmost stability in rough conditions. The XT has a stable platform and more width than most boats, allowing athletes to focus the their technique without worrying about needing to focus on their swimming skills as well. This boat may not be quite as fast as the upper end Fenn products, but it certainly can move in any condition. In fact, the Fenn XT was the boat that I placed 19th in, during last year’s US Surfski Champs. It was the perfect boat to afford my beginner balance a little more stability and allow me to make the most of every stroke in the choppy water.

Next, an entire school of Fenn Swordfish (glass & carbon) have arrived, to satiate popular demand. Join the sensation sweeping the nation! The Swordfish is the fastest selling boat in the Northwest surfski market. DJ’s last shipment sold like hotcakes and this batch promises to do much the same. It’s almost impossible to paddle anywhere in Bellingham without seeing a Fish tearing up the bay or zipping along the lake. Glass or Carbon, the Swordfish is just plain fun. A step up from XT, the Swordfish is the ideal intermediate boat. The sleek design is only fractionally slower on the lake than the top Fenn products, and in the chop, the boat is a monster. The increased volume behind the seat and slightly increased width, when compared with the Elite or the SL, allow the boat to behave much more amicably in the chop. The boat is stable and a surfing monster. No matter what the conditions, plan to enjoy yourself in the Swordfish.

Finally, the epitome of sex appeal, the Fenn Elite SL (glass & carbon) is back. Fast on the flat, responsive on the waves, and a rocket in any race, the SL is the boat of a champion. The SL is simply one of the best top end racing machines on the market.

And it wouldn’t be a proper shipment without a cherry on top, so thank you Ocean Paddlesports for providing just such a proverbial cherry. Last, but not least, we have a brand new glass Carbonology Atom for sale. The boat looks like a K-1 and lets just say it’s rather quick on the lake. My recommendation? Someone needs to get their hands on the boat before DJ starts racing it on Wednesday nights and even further extends his legacy of domination!

Learning to Look Up: Race report from the De Fuca Downwinder by Austin Kieffer

Though most of the country was under a heat advisory warning last weekend, with over twenty states breaching the 100-degree mark, this was not the case at the Olympic peninsula. The beautiful area surrounding Port Angeles was cold, windy, and overcast. The De Fuca Downwinder, “brainchild” of US sensation Gabe Newton, seems to be a race as rare as cold weather this summer. In a sport where surfski paddlers drive miles and miles, wait days for prime conditions, and spend hours setting shuttle, this weekend’s race is one of the sport’s very few “true dowinders”. Despite the race setup giving the people exactly what they want and need, many local racers failed to show up. Indicating that some racers in the area would rather chase upwinders than race a true downwinder.
The race conditions were not as big as some competitors were hoping for, but it was certainly no flatwater race. De Fuca drew some of the top regional competitors, including Gabe Newton, Greg Barton, DJ Jacobson, Don Keisling, and Eric Borgnes. Though the starting race line-up was a bit confusing, as soon as the race horn sounded athletes charged off into the waters of the strait. DJ “hot off the gun” Jacobson took an early lead pushing the pack to the first buoy at Angeles point. Gabe and Greg both charged hard chasing down the Jacobson rabbit and for a while it was a three horse race. Being the newbie racer that I am, I made some key tactical errors right off the bat. Enticed by the waves and energized by the quality of the competition, I took off from the start, heading downwind with something to prove. Unfortunately for me, the only thing that I proved was that surfski racing is much more than just head-down flatwater. After 30 minutes of tearing downwind I looked up to find the entire pack over a mile out to my left. I had followed the direction of the waves in an attempt to cut the most direct line to the buoy and inadvertently left the faster line far to my left. The plan seemed reasonable until I hit the mouth of the Elwah River and the currents cut my speeds of 9s and 10s to 6s and 5s. After that it was a brutal slog out to the finish as I watched the wiser athletes pull steadily away in the wind and waves. Meanwhile up at the front, Gabe and Greg both had something to prove, pulling slowly ahead of Jacobson. The two athletes pushed hard to the finish, closing in on the final buoy with less than a boat length between them. In the last 50 yards, however, Gabe caught a small wave and surged ahead pushing his Fenn SL ahead, gapping Greg’s Epic V12 by a few boat lengths as he crossed the line. Jacobson held strong in third, finishing under two minutes behind the leader. In the 15-knott conditions, Brandon and Heather Nelson dropped their Stellar double for a bit of a dryer design and decided that what may be quick on flat-water might not be the best option in the chop. The couple learned their way around the new boat, finishing behind DJ in fourth place overall. Don finished behind the duo coming in fifth, fourth amongst the single skis, a few minutes behind DJ. Eric Borgnes closed out the top five single skies finishing a few minutes behind Don.
After slogging my way through the slower line, I finally saw a ski in the distance and was determined to catch what turned out to be Eric Grosseman. Luckily, Grossman was not paddling a Fenn SL and as a result I was able to inch him out by catching a wave in the last stretch to the finish.
All in all it was a fun race, but the race conditions will only get better as everyone eagerly anticipates the approach of the Wildside and all the excellent surfing the Columbia Gorge has to offer.