Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pacific Paddle Games 2015

We once again welcome, guest blogger, team paddler and Werner Paddles
Ambassador, Genna Flinkman. Genna was in California for the Pacific Paddle Games at beautiful, Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California earlier this month. 

Well PPG is over and I have to say, for me it lived up to the hype. The whole event was larger than life. From the moment you walked through the Pacific Paddle Games Entrance you were greeted with an amazing spectacle involving the biggest brands and names in the paddle board world. One thing I noticed right away was the effort put in by the volunteers and organizers to make everything run smoothly, and I think they succeeded. 

The race formats consisted of the traditional technical and distance races. In addition, there was also a team battle where each assigned athlete could garnish points for their board sponsor. Because of this, I was lucky enough to have an awesome tent to sit under with the always fun and amped up #infinityspeedfreaks
Genna is just beyond the wave

 The first race of the day, and my first race, was the open technical. The men took off first and for the most part, got out clean. The organizers did a great job of planning the start so that we did not have to go out in the big sets. The technical races was fun with lots of buoy turns and the challenge of going out through the break and coming in with the waves. I had a solid race, I got around the buoys well and managed to get a good wave on the way in to pass a few ladies. With the good fortune of a wave, I was able to move up two positions to snag 1st in my age class and 6th overall women’s open. Everyone did amazing and the level of skill in the open race was fantastic. 

Genna on the right

Of course the highlight of the day was watching the elite groms, and elite women/men. With big sets rolling in, the races had everything a spectator could hope for! There were amazing feats of getting over waves, tight buoy turns, party waves, last minute passes and unexpected winners. However, no matter the intensity of the race, once done everyone had a smile on their face and high fives. 

The second day was comprised of the distance races and finals for the elite technical. Generally distance is not my favourite race but this one was pretty fun. However, it was definitely a challenge as all mens and women’s open took off at the same time. This meant that for roughly a mile and a half, saying that the water was choppy was an understatement. Above that, there was the challenge of big rolling waves, boat wakes, and warm weather conditions to contend with. My favourite part was catching a wave to surf in to the finish line. Again, I was lucky enough to snag 1st in my age class and 9th overall women’s open.

The elite technical finals were extremely exciting. With two of the buoys close to the beach, spectators were in a prime spot to see the athletes catch waves, make amazing buoy turns, party waves, and crashes. It was easily one of the most exciting races to watch all year. It was not uncommon to see the lead change multiple times, especially for the women, so it was a nail biter to the end.

All in all, the weekend was amazing. I could not have asked for better weather, people, vendors, race organization, and support. It was a weekend I’ll never forget! A enormous thank you to my sponsors Werner Paddles, Nikki Rekman Sales, Infinity SUP, Virus Canada, CJC SUP Fins, and Spy Optics. Without the support of these companies, my friends, family and husband I would not have had the chance to attend all of the races that I went to this year. Each company gave me the best equipment possible to put me in a position to do well and I am extremely grateful for that. Also, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, contestants and Infinity Family for making PPG so memorable. I could not have asked for a better event to end the race season on. 

Until next year, cheers and enjoy the snow!

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Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin