TEAM FANATIC SUP TAKES 1ST AND 2ND
After a busy couple of weeks I am relieved to not have a race until the WPA World Championships in November. California was a great time with the BOP and plenty of surfing. More on the BOP racing in my next post. We spent the week after the BOP surfing around Dana Point and then flew directly from there to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the River Rocks SUP Splash. My body was feeling pretty beat up from too much water time in California but I needed to prepare to race a tough field in the flat water of the Tennessee River.
Out of the gates at the start I tried to find some separation so the race would not become a draft-fest. Mike Tavares and Matt McDonald were hot on my heels as we came to the first buoy turn about 1-mile into the race. I knew this would be my first opportunity to get them off of my wake in order to prevent a grinding race. As I approached the turn I accelerated all the way to the pole and jumped back for a pivot turn as fast as I could. Coming out of the turn I put on the burners and worked hard to maintain a gap and pull away. My strategy paid off but I knew Matt and Mike would never just give up. The rest of the race I tried to employ the same tactics of accelerating in and out of the buoy turns. In the end I was able to maintain my lead with Matt finishing in 2nd place and Mike in 3rd.
In a completely flat water event it can be hard to get any type of separation from your competition. Flat water racing requires the competitor to make no mistakes and race a smart race. When there are wind and bumps paddlers are able to gain more of an advantage on upwind or downwind legs. Many more paddlers can grind it out in completely flat water than can read bumps or hammer into a strong headwind. Different types of racing strategy is the fun part about stand up paddle racing in multiple conditions.
Check out the video of our start below.