Dawid Mocke won in the US Champs earlier this month and finished just seconds ahead of Sean Rice. Jasper Mocke finished third. Joep van Bakel was the best European paddler and he finished in 8th place. Jeanie Dougherty, living in Sweden, was the only Scandinavian who participated in the US Champs. She went to the US and particpated in the short course (14,5 km) that run concurrently with the long course (22,5 km). Read her story from the race.
My US Surfski Champs adventure began really many months ago but with encouragement from family and friends and all the minuet baby steps, when I finally arrived in Berkley and was at Demo day was when it really hit me. I was here and I was going to do this race no chickening out now!!!
I got my Epic V8 rental ski from Kenny Howel and he helped me get it all fit to me. The wind was picking up and there were whitcaps out on the water where we were to do practice downwind runs. I took my ski right out into the toughest water paddling the upwind feeling out the stability of the ski very nice steady as a rock she was. Even when I turned around and started the first downwind pass. It was easy to surf this ski ! Surfing non stop until I got near to the turn around point. Now getting hit sideon with the waves I was surprized I could sprint and still not even a bobble from this very stable craft! The smile was now permanant on my face I did these DW runs for about and 1,5 hours then decided to stop. Thinking you´ll have 8 mile of this stuff tomorrow, don´t tire yourself out.
Saturday morning came all too fast cold and foggy. I was very nervous and excited for this race so got on the earlier bus to get to the start nice and early! Yes we early birds got there by 11 am and the race didn´t start untill 3:00 Pm. It was 10C at the start line windy cold and foggy! At first I thought Oh this isn´t so bad sort of like home, ha, well soon I was putting on all the clothes I had with me . It was like they told us BUTT cold, freezing! The fog was rolling in. We moved around alot to try to keep warm just wanting the race to start. About 20 min before the race started I decided to wear my cold weather gear yes my trusty wetsuit ! A smart move on my part was never cold at all the whole race.
Finally we got to start! I blasted off the line and just tried to keep close to Kim. My plan was to keep her in sight the whole time as my GPS wasn´t working and I didn´t even have a phone with me. We rounded the jetty and got hit by the side wind and all the choppy water of the bay. This we had all the way to Angel island plus alot of current pushing us around.
After Angel island they told us that´s where the downwind was to begin! Well first you had to get across the shipping lanes! Kim was about 400 m ahead of me by now and she was paddling in front of the huge Tanker that was comming on our left. I thought about two sec what to do and decided to charge across in front of the Tanker too! I was the last one to cross in front all others crossed behind. After commiting myself to this I was paddling very hard and could only see the Tanker getting closer and closer. I just paddled harder more determined to get out of it´s way hopping I would make it. Somehow I made it and relaxed a bit but now there was a Ferrie at full speed comming from the right! I let this go past me but couldn´t really relax as another Tanker was comming from the right too. Finnally with all boat traffic out of the way I concentrated now on the Downwind that wasn´t. You´d catch one or two runs then nothing then one two and nothing. Not what we were hoping for. The wind was dying too but somehow I was stringing together something and was catching Kim.
Then I heard something comming behind me! It was the first paddler in the long course the winner, Dawid Mocke. Suddenly I had the best seat in the house to see the race. He flew past me like I was sitting still in the water. The others came by in a blir chasing Dawid it was exciting to see! Then the chase boat flew by and the bigger boat that had the 15 lucky observers on cheering them all on. Well this messed up the few runs we had and made us suffer for awhile . But soon I was on track again and I actually caught up to Kim. I cheered her on as I knew now that we´d both made it just one mile left.
I didn´t catch any more runs for awhile and sort of let it all go just happy knowing I´d made it and was so very happy when I crossed the finnish line in 5 th place but not last!