So I’m the race director this year for the Bend SUP Challenge in conjunction with the Subaru Outside Games. The irony here, is that I’ve flatwater raced only once and remember vividly my exact thoughts after just 5 minutes of race start, which were “This sucks. I’m working really hard and it’s not even to get on a wave!” Stick with me though because I’m flattered and excited to be a part of this awesome race and the community it draws. Let me explain myself…
I’m not new to competition but thought I’d grown out of it. I was a competitive gymnast in my teens, and enjoy the occasional 5k…not for the competition (I suck at running) but more for the energy surrounding the event. I was thoroughly surprised when I got highly competitive in the one whitewater SUP race I’ve entered (was marginally happy to have placed third in that race hoping for first or second).
What I really love about the Bend SUP Challenge is the entire event, from beginning to end. The prep! It’s been fabulous working with a handful of very cool, very passionate race coordinators who have championed this largely unknown but growing sport of paddleboard racing. It’s a small but tight community that paddles together when they can, shares paddle related stories with each other in person and via social media, essentially “talking story” as Hawaiians say, where paddleboarding originated. Which brings me to another aspect of the race I’m psyched about. Chip Booth founded this race along with the support of Hawaii natives Meg and Dave Chun (of Kialoa) and Randall Barna (long time champion of paddleboarding and still a competitor). This race draws from strong Hawaiin influences sporting authentic Tahitian dancers and a Kona Mixed Plate lunch provided to every racer by Kialoa. As I referenced in prior posts, I lived in Maui for three years, having visited there for 15 years prior. Paddling in Hawaii…whether surfing, outrigger, whatever a person can do in the ocean, is a part of their existence. Like a religion. Competition is a part of that scene and it brings their community together, much like is celebrated in this race. What I’m saying is this—I’m proud to be part of an event that draws together a group of people that are passionate and inspired about the entire process. It’s a dedication that I can respect deeply.
Some details about this year’s race, if your interest has been piqued? Well it’s Saturday, June 24th and there are a few races with men’s and women’s categories. The long race will be 5-miles, making laps around buoys (those in “the know” understand that the buoy turns will make or break the race and that’s where the excitement really happens). There’s a kids race for the groms. A 1-mile course for those recreational racers, possibly looking to enter the SUP racing world (maybe give this a try?!). Finally a sprint race for the excitement of the racers and spectators. All of the races will be announced by Jaymo (Kris Jameson) who is an ex-pro snowboarder and extreme sports veteran…he’s a barrel of monkeys fun and will add a great atmosphere to the race overall. Finally, anyone interested in trying boards after the race can demo boards from the Outside Games extravaganza going on that afternoon. Any questions, please give me a shout at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe. Happy to give more details… Register now!
Thanks for listening and happy paddlin’…
This entry was posted on June 15, 2017.
Categorized under Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP).