Santa Cruz Paddlefest

The Santa Cruz Paddlefest weekend came and went in a flash.  I've attended this event as a spectator for the last 6 or 7 years, since before I even lived in California.  This was the first year I've ever competed in the event and the first time I've ever surfed in a competition.  It was super fun!

I entered the Cowell's Classic friendly surf contest on a standup paddleboard and we surfed the 'B' site at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz.  Normally the contest takes place at Cowell's proper, but with the conditions handed to us, everything moved west and we ended up surfing Indicator's, just inside the lane.  

The highlight for me was definitely my final heat on Sunday when myself and two others had the entire break to ourselves for 20 minutes, a huge benefit to entering the contest.  The real kicker was that the other two surfers I faced off against in my heat were about 1/3 my age.  It was inspiring to surf with them, watching them take off on good sized waves without fear or hesitation.  They were both surfing really well and more importantly, they were having fun.  It really didn't feel like a contest, just another fun session in the waves.  In the end, I won my Sunday heat by one point and finished 9th of 32 overall.  I'm pretty psyched with that finish and look forward to getting back on the waves in Santa Cruz soon..

It was a great treat to watch the pros compete in the finals - both the SUPs and the surf kayakers.  They were going big and the waves were impressive.  I'll probably never ride at a level near theirs, but watching them makes me want to get better and makes me feel good about improving my skills every time I hit the water.

BPC represented over the weekend too.  MM raced and won on Saturday and we all finished the weekend with a surf session, tequila & tacos.   I got to connect with some friends I don't see too often and meet some new folks.   It's pretty cool to see the small worlds of standup paddlers & kayakers mixing for the weekend.  Nice event and a great weekend.

working on indoor surfing skills