NINE RACES IN THREE MONTHS

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I am just getting back home to St. Pete Beach after three months of traveling. I competed in 9 events throughout Europe, Maui and California. Check out my interview below published on DistressedMullet.com

 

mauismaller

 

You just got home after 3 months of being on the road. Where have you been and how did you do?

I started with 5 races in 5 weeks while in Europe. I raced in France, Germany, France again, Spain and Belgium. I was pretty happy with all of my results as many of the top paddlers in the world made the trip to these European events. I finished 3rd, 5th, 4th, 1st and 2nd through all of the racing.
From Belgium I traveled to Greece for some paddling and sight seeing. After a week in Greece I flew from Athens to Maui. I spent most of July in Maui training and racing in the Maui to Molokai and Maliko Paddle Championships. I finished 4th in both downwind races. I was extremely humbled by the downwind paddling I did while in Maui.
Paddle as hard as you want, unless you have practiced in those windy conditions you are not going to be very fast. It is fun to find a new paddle discipline to work on and challenge myself to get better at. In the 3 weeks I was in Maui I found I made some huge improvements in my downwind paddling.
After Maui I flew to Thailand for a week of testing our new Fanatic flat water boards. It was cool to explore a new country and eat tons of Thai food! I would tell you all about the factory there but that is top secret! It was very informative to see how all of the boards are made from start to finish. Let’s just say it is a huge operation over there with many of the top boards being made side-by-side.
From Thailand I flew to San Francisco and then drove to Lake Tahoe for the Tahoe Nalu event on August 10th. I had an alright weekend of racing with a 2nd and 4th place finish. That is definitely the last time I will cross the international date line one day before an event. The almost 6,000 feet of altitude in Lake Tahoe certainly did not help either. I was jet-lagged and gasping for breathe for most of the weekend. But the scenery was beautiful!
Finally I travelled to San Francisco to race in the Battle of the Bay. I ended up winning the overall championship after the two day event. It was a great way to end 3 months on the road and 9 races.

Which one was your favorite from a race course and format perspective and why?

My favorite race was the Deep SUP race in Noja, Spain. The courses were well laid out and had beautiful scenery as we paddled along the rocky coast.

Which one was your favorite from a location and amenities perspective?

My favorite race from a location perspective would have to be the Maui to Molokai Championship. Paddling between two islands is an amazing experience. Not to mention that the downwind conditions along the way are some of the best in the world!

What did you see a race do that was new, but you really liked?

In Oleron, France the pre-party was is a 17-century castle on the water. It felt like we were in a movie as we took the boat out to the castle completely surrounded by water. When we were ready to leave the tide had gone out revealing a half-mile long path over the water. I felt like batman leaving his secret hide-out! It was a really great experience unique to that location.

If you would recommend any for someone looking to travel to a race next summer, which one sticks out the most in your mind?

The Maui Paddle Championships is a great race to go to. This event follows the world famous Maliko downwind run. The conditions are really good but still beginner friendly. Maui is a beautiful place to paddle and downwind paddling will open up a whole new side of the sport to you.

What do you think is the next step for SUP? Where’s it growing and what has changed since you tore up the Cold Stroke Classic in a monkey hat and board shorts?

That race was freezing! I was trying not to get frostbite and not to lose to Brandi at the same time. I was unsponsored with a borrowed Bark 12’6 and a borrowed paddle. This year alone I have been to 4 continents and 12 races thanks to my main sponsors Fanatic and Quickblade Paddles. A lot has changed since I was just the Cold Stroke!
I think SUP is moving in a positive direction. The numbers have grown and the equipment is evolving but the stoke is still the same from when I first got into it.
I am very excited about some big plans myself and other top professional paddlers have coming soon. We will be making an official announcement around the time of the BOP so be sure to look out for some great news.

What are you riding?

I have been mostly riding our new Fanatic Falcon 14′ x 24.75′. The board works amazing in all conditions and I could not be happier. I am also excited for the development of our new flat water design coming out later this year. I spent some time in Thailand testing and can’t wait to paddle the finished product.

 

 

 

 

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