Race Recap: Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle 2013

Rainbow Sandals & Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle

Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle

This past week was a big week for me because I completed my first stand up paddle board race at the Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle. The event was held at Dana Point Harbor, CA and was a fun filled weekend for event participants and spectators alike. I have been surfing most of my life but I’ve never been involved in any surf or water sport competition other than triathlons and open water swim races. The amount of people at this event was mind blowing to me.

My friend Christine and I headed out to Dana Point around 7:30am. We live about an hour away so we strapped our boards on the car and headed to the OC for the Battle of the Paddle. We weren’t really sure what to expect as neither of us had ever done anything like this before. To top it off, neither of us felt very trained for the event. To say we had butterflies in our stomachs is an understatement.

We got to the race and there was a drop off spot for our boards while we drove another 1-2 miles to park our car. Thank goodness for the board drop off. We got our bib numbers, tags, and goodie bags and picked a spot on the beach to lay our boards and hang out before our race. We got a free pair of Rainbow Sandals in our bags which was pretty sweet. I already own 2 pairs of Rainbows (they are THE BEST) so I got my husband a pair in his size so he can be cool like me now. One of my pairs is almost 10 years old now – I got them when I interviewed Sparky for a story in Transworld Business in 2003. Talk about a flashback!

Back to the race. We saw on the beach and watched the elites charge the loops of the course and maneuver their paddles in and out of the surf at one of the critical buoy turns. It freaked us out. We were sitting on the beach with our mouths dropped open thinking we bit off more than we could chew. We were scared. Everyone racing had boards at least 2-3 feet longer than us. I was racing on my 9’6” Surf Diva SUP by Focus which was definitely one of the smallest boards in the race. Oh well. I wanted to race and that was all I had!

After the elite course, Christine and I weren’t sure what to do. We met these ladies on the beach who asked us why we weren’t getting ready. We said we were scared. She said “Oh please, my husband is 52 and out there. Just go out and do it.” We were motivated by her words and suited up. We decided to hang back and take it slow. 4 loops. 1 mile each. 4 miles total. That’s it. I can do this. Here’s a map of the course:

Battle of the Paddle Open SUP Race Course

The race course.

We paddled out and hung to the back of the pack. Paddling out in the surf was the easy part for me because the waves weren’t too big and I’m used to it from surfing. I paddled to the first buoy and made my turn. Okay, not so bad. My second turn was in the surf line and as I was turning a set came in. This wasn’t a big deal except the front runners of the unlimited board size class were coming in and I didn’t want to get in their way. I hustled to get through the buoy without disrupting anyone’s line. There was a fierce headwind and ocean chop during the first loop that was fierce at first but died down as the race went on and by the third lap the sun was out.

By the third loop I was ready to be done but my only goal was to finish and my only competition was myself and I kept going. It was much easier to focus without the frontrunners behind me making me super nervous. By the time I completed the 4th lap and came into the beach I was exhausted. But I did it! I was hungry, tired, and thirsty but I did it!

Battle of the Paddle 2013

We did it! Our first paddleboard race!

I can see why people get addicted to paddle boarding. Here are some overall observations from my first race:

  • Size Matters: When I first got my paddle board people told me I’d never be able to race on a 9’6”. I didn’t understand why. Now I do.
  • Hydrate: I saw a lot of people with hydration packs while they paddled. Smart. The ocean water and the exertion dehydrated you quickly.
  • Eat Properly: Make sure to eat before the race. I spent so much time waiting around before my time start that I didn’t eat right before and that hurt me early on.

Overall the Battle of the Paddle was a ton of fun. Thank you to Sparky from Rainbow Sandals for creating such an amazing event. I hope to compete in another Paddle Board race again soon!

Irish National SUP Racing Tour – Round 2 Recap

Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Bundoran Co. Donegal Ireland

Bundoran, Co. Donegal, in the North West of Ireland played host to leg 2 of the Irish National SUP Racing Tour on the 21st and 22nd of September 2013.

Bundoran itself is famous for “The Peak”, a world class point break in the middle of the town.

The long range forecast promised big swell and light wind, and in the end delivered on its promises, with all the main surf breaks firing.

The weekend comprised of two disciplines, a Technical Race of 4.5k, to be held on the Saturday, and the Marathon Race of 22k, which was held on the Sunday.

The event was hosted by Emmet O’Doherty of www.SupDude.ie

SUP Dude Stand Up Paddle Surf school

Technical Race:

Starting early on Saturday morning, the competitors arrived at Bundoran Main Beach to be greated by 6-foot breakers that were pounding the shore.

The race briefing outlined the course: 3 laps of a 1.5k loop, with buoys placed in and out of the surf.

Those who could surf their 12’6 raceboards would be at a distinct advantage! (Mental note: do more 12’6 surfing practice)

7 racers set off through some serious surf with a powerful rip and side swell ricocheting off the head land to the right of the bay. It was anyone’s game…

Mark Gaul fighting the pain

Mark Gaul fighting the pain

By the 2nd lap the pain was showing and all competitors dug deep. Mark Gaul (Jimmy Lewis) unfortunately took a hard wipe-out and limped home with a cracked rib. (A recent x-ray has since given some justification to all his moaning) Unfortunately this put Mark out for the Marathon.

By the 3rd lap, the swell had built a couple of foot and some large double overhead bombs rolled through to the spectator’s amusement. Serious wipe-outs were had as the guys tried surfing their 12’6 race boards back into shore.

Experience allowed Bundoran local Emmet O’Doherty (Surftech, SupDude) to surf all the way in and take 2nd place, with Peter “Speedboat” Kosinski (Starboard, Surfdock) taking 1st.

For me, after a disappointing start I was placing 5th, however some lucky wave rides on the 2nd lap saw me jump 2 places, and maintain my 3rd position to the finish.

In 4th position was David Mangan (Starboard), 5th was Keith Gorman (Naish, Surfdock), 6th, Mark “It hurts to breathe” Gaul, 7th Patrick Crawford.


On Sunday it was the 22km Marathon starting from Streedagh Beach in County Sligo (a beach that almost made my top 5),  following the coast northwards around Mullaghmore, past County Leitrim, and round through into Bundoran Main Beach, in County Donegal.

Mullaghmore island sup

The course – Everyone was excited about rounding Mullaghmore Head

There were a lot of nerves & excitement amongst the competitors, partly due to the long distance but also due to the exposed nature of the course.

Everyone was stoked to be partaking in such an amazing paddle and to witness the breath-taking scenery of the north-west coast from such a different perspective.

Luckily, the weather was ideal with a good tail wind and great visibility, perfect conditions for a SUP marathon.

All competitors were given the safety briefing, and it was mandatory to have leashes, buoyancy aids, mobile phones, and hydration packs. For those with irish skin (i.e. me), I also lathered up with sun cream.


As we set off, the first few kilometres there was very little distance between any of the competitors.

Peter Kosinski chose a tight line close to shore, which gave him a bumpier ride and meant he had to avoid some of the massive reef breaks.

Keith Gorman powered into second, and I followed close behind. Keith and I are roughly the same speed and we kept close together up to the half way point at Mullaghmore.

David Mangan and Emmet were following closely but Keith and I started to edge away as we came to the headland.

The leg from Streedagh to Mullaghmore was pretty much straight downwind, and as we got further out to shore the wind swell picked up and you could ride some bumps.

The scenery was spectacular, especially rounding Mullaghmore with the  castle in the background, and massive waves crashing onto the rocky outcrops, which made for constant noisy rumble for the entire paddle.

Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo

Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo

Heading around the point of Mullaghmore there was a large spread between first and last. I was in 3rd position behind Keith Gorman and Peter Kosinski steaming ahead.

Big 4 metre rollers were coming from left to right (which meant I fell in a few times) and there were lots of weird currents and rips affecting the paddle round the point, which made for a bumpy ride.

I was feeling strong rounding the head and after catching some wind chop I was gaining on Keith, my friend and Dublin paddle partner.

After clearing the point, I was level with Keith, and the water turned to perfect glass, and from then on it was a straight race to Bundoran.

Jimmy Lewis UK & Ireland

Jonathan chasing down Keith at Mullaghmore Head.

My beloved board (Jimmy Lewis Blade II) excels in flat water so I stepped forward, engaged the nose and upped the tempo. After a few kilometres I had put in a good effort and had increased my lead on Keith, with Peter Kosinski still 1 kilometre ahead.

With 10k to go, Bundoran still looked very far away but it was possible to see the sand dunes of Tullan Strand and the blue roof of the swimming pool to get your bearings.

I was still increasing the distance between myself and Keith, but over my right shoulder I saw another racer, David Mangan making a late charge with 5k to go. For the last few kilometres, David and Keith were neck and neck and were battling it out fiercely.

At this stage of any long distance race, mental as well as physical exhaustion sets in, and it becomes increasingly hard to concentrate on your stroke, foot position, and board trim. I spotted a dolphin about 100 metres away and funnily that gave me a boost for the last few kilometres.

With 2k to go, I could see David and Keith gaining on me, and I was seriously tiring. The last thing I wanted was to lose my 2nd place in the last kilometre. I knew that the last 500metres were through the break zone and as we had all learned from the Technical Race, anything could happen.

As I hit the break-zone, a massive set came through and cleaned me out. Knowing that if either Keith or Dave caught a wave properly I was toast, I jumped back on the board only to be hit by another massive wave. I finally got back onto the board and managed to catch one of the smaller waves most of the way into shore, and pretty much crawled to the finish line, placing 2nd, exhausted but elated.

David Mangan came shortly after in 3rd, Keith in 4th, and Emmet in 5th.

The overwhelming feeling from everyone was a sense of achievement, not only in racing a gruelling course, but also from finishing such a long distance safely.

A massive well done to all the competitors, and Emmet O’Doherty from SUP Dude for holding the event.

Next stop: The final leg of the Irish National Tour is in County Kerry, October 5th/6th.

Overall Results

Technical Race:

  • Peter Kosinski – 52 mins
  • Emmet O’Doherty +4.24
  • Jonathan Coyle +7.22
  • David Mangan +8.29
  • Keith Gorman +12.51
  • Mark Gaul +14.38
  • Patrick Crawford (2 laps crossover) +9.01


  • Peter Kosinski – 3hrs 12 minutes
  • Jonathan Coyle + 11.43
  • David Mangan +13.10
  • Keith Gorman +17.47
  • Emmet O’Doherty +47.46

September 28th: Glow Stand Up Paddle Board Paddle in Santa Monica

GLOW Paddle Board Session This Saturday Night at the SM Pier!

Editor’s Note: We received the below email today from Poseidon paddle and surf shop in Santa Monica. This sounds like an AWESOME event. Hope to see some of you out there!

Glow Stand Up paddleboard

Photo courtesy of gearjunkie.com

This Saturday Sept 28t from 7pm -3am is GLOW an all night artistic expression session featuring illumination inspired artists.

Check out the city of Santa Monica’s glow website here to get a better idea about the event.

Poseidon Paddle and Surf shop will be coordinating a Glow Stand Up Paddle Board night paddle during the event from 9pm-10pm.  Poseidon will provide glow in the dark sticks to attach to paddles and boards. Please arrive at Poseidon no later than 8pm to decorate your board and paddle with your glow sticks. We will have tape to attach them to your boards and paddles.

Meet at the shop at 7pm, leaving from the shop to head to the beach at 8pm. If you want to come by earlier in the day to decorate your board feel free.

My cell is 310.383.8317 in case you have any questions or feel free to call the shop.

We will have about 12 boards available for rentals. A one hr rental is $35, 2hrs is $50, wetsuit rental is $15. I recommend calling ahead and reserving a board if you need one.

Weather is forecasted to be 82 degrees and surf is supposed to be small. All the stars are lining up for an epic night!

Glow Stand Up Paddle Board? This sounds awesome. Count us in.

SUP Events

2013 SUP Events

We’ve put together this calendar of SUP events for the remainder of 2013. If you haven’t committed to a race yet, now is a great time to get on it. Enjoy!





Coming Soon

As you can see, this is only a partial list. If you have an event you would like to see listed here, please fill out the form below and it will be added to the site once we approve. Mahalo!


Outdoor Retailer Show 2013

Check out whatsSUP with our favorite brands at Outdoor Retailer 2013

This week the Outdoor Retailer Show is happening in Utah. We’re not at the event, but we’ve been following what our favorite SUP brands are up to. Check out some of the posts from SUP brands such as Focus SUP, BIC Sup, and Riviera Paddlesurf and what they’re up to at the Outdoor Retailer Conference and the SUP Demo Days!

BIC SUP is currently at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and has a lot of boards and gear to show off. They are posting the photos on their Facebook and Twitter all week long so visit their page and join in on the fun. Here are some pictures that Bic Surf posted from Outdoor Retailer:


1004904_553679651334774_1125162946_n BIC Sup Boards

Focus SUP teamed up with Body Glove to do some demo day action. Here’s a pic they posted of the event:

Focus SUP and Body Glove at Outdoor Retailer

The Focus SUP carbon paddle boards look so sweet. We need to get our hands on one of those. One of our editors has the Focus SUP Surf Diva board and she loves it!

Riviera Paddlesurf also made a splash at the demo days.  Check out their tented action:

Riviera Paddlesurf Outdoor Retailer


That looks like so much fun. We wish we could have been out there. Enjoy the glide. We like that phrase!

And Stand Up Paddle Magazine has a SUP tank at the Outdoor Retailer show. Check them out doing some SUP paddleboard yoga action in the sup tank:

Stand Up Paddle Magazine Sup Tank

Stand Up Paddle magazine has a full lineup of brands and fun stuff going on in their SUP tank all week. Dang, did we mention how we wished we were in Utah at Outdoor Retailer for this event? Because we do!

If any of you SUP stand up paddle board peeps and friends of SUP Surf blog are at Outdoor Retailer and want to send us pics and your thoughts on the event, please do. We would love that!



The SUP Cup: August 16-17th 2013 in Bastrop, Texas

Editor’s Note: We received the following information on The SUP cup today in our inbox and wanted to spread the word to all of you. It seems like a cool event, and we love hearing stories about people doing what they love and pursuing their passions.

The SUP Cup Texas

Former Banker on a Mission to Make Bastrop ‘the Fastest Growing SUP Destination in Texas’ Harle quits job, starts river company and organizes aggressive first-year event to put ‘historically hip’ town on the paddle board map BASTROP, Texas 

Lee Harle was tired of just talking about his hopes and dreams, so he decided to do something about it. He quit his full-time job in the banking industry and jumped into his new professional adventure with both feet…literally. In 2012, Harle traded in his suit and tie for some board shorts and flip flops, launching the Bastrop River Company in an up-and-coming community on the east side of Austin, Tx. It’s a story that is becoming more and more common: professional leaves the daily 9-to-5 grind and chases their life-long dream. But no matter how many times the story is told, it never loses its romanticism. It’s a story of hope and optimism, especially for those people who feel “stuck” in the “real world.” Harle’s story is no different, but it also has an element of inspiration, because he’s on a mission to make his new home in Bastrop “the fastest growing SUP destination in Texas.”

“Bastrop has an unappreciated gem in the Colorado River,” Harle said. “I want people to celebrate the river and all its potential adventures.” While Harle’s river company rents tubes and kayaks, he has become a huge advocate for stand up paddle boarding. “There is nothing like experiencing the Colorado River on the deck of a SUP board,” Harle explained. “Stand up paddle boarding is the fastest growing sport in the world, and we want to help introduce people to it and make Bastrop the best place to SUP in Texas.” To help Harle’s vision for paddle boarding in Bastrop, he is organizing The SUP Cup, a 2-day event that puts the sport in the spotlight. The event, which is scheduled for Aug. 16-17, has turned into more than a SUP event, though. “We have created a festival-like event – with vendors, kid-friendly activities and a concert,” Harle said. “We want to familiarize people with SUP, but our main goal remains celebrating the river.” The SUP Cup will be highlighted by three paddle boarding events – a sprint race, a 6-mile down river race and an obstacle challenge. There are divisions for hard-core paddlers and “weekend warriors,” alike. There is prize money for the overall champion of The SUP Cup. “You don’t have to be the fastest paddler in the world to compete,” Harle said. “We will have some world-class paddlers in the competitive division, but first-time paddlers can compete in the recreational division. It’s all about getting in the river and having fun.

2013 SUP Awards: Vote for Your Favorite Paddlers

2013 SUP Awards

2013 SUP Awards: Vote for Your Favorite Paddlers

The 2013 SUP Awards are happening this year on Thursday September 26th at Casino San Clemente in Southern California. SUP The Mag has just opened voting for the top stand up paddlers of 2013. Vote for your Top 3 Male Paddlers, Top 3 Female Paddlers, Movie of the Year, Top Philanthropic Effort and Top Expedition now on SUP The Mag’s website. The links can be found below.

Top 3 Female Paddlers - Yes, we put females first because that’s how we roll. Diva power! Here is a list of the top female stand up paddle boarder nominees:

  • Jenny Lee
  • Talia Gangini Decoite
  • Halle Harrison
  • Jenn J. Lee
  • Hayley Mills
  • Izzi Gomez
  • Candice Appleby
  • Angie Jackson
  • Bailey Rosen
  • Nicole Pacelli
  • Suzie Cooney
  • Nikki Gregg
  • Morgan Hoesterey
  • Maro Strickland
  • Karen Wrenn
  • Jenny Kaimbach
  • Gillian Gibree
  • Emmy Merrill
  • Annabel Anderson
  • Andrea Moller

Top 3 Male Paddlers - Here are the nominees:

  •  Dave Kalama
  • Casper Steinfath
  • Mo Freitas
  • Chuck Glynn
  • Noah Yap
  • Zane Schweitzer
  • Travis Grant
  • Shane Perrin
  • Sean Poynter
  • Rob Rojas
  • Michael Tavares
  • Matt Becker
  • Leco Salazar
  • Kody Kerbox
  • Keahi De Aboitiz
  • Kai Lenny
  • Justin Holland
  • Jamie Mitchell
  • Fernando Stalla
  • Dave Boehne
  • Danny Ching
  • Dan Gavere
  • Connor Baxter
  • Colin McPhillips
  • Chuck Patterson
  • Chase Kosterlitz
  • Brennan Rose

Top Expedition – We don’t know what any of these are so we’re not voting on this, but if you do – kudos to you!

  • XF500
  • Down The Missouri
  • Wild West Coast of South Africa
  • Everglades Challenge(S)
  • 11 Cities Tour Nonstop Record

Movie of the Year - This link is filled with video embeds. Pretty awesome!

  • Stand
  • iAfrica
  • 5UP P1RATE5
  • Driftwood

So go on and head over to the SUP The Mag website and get your vote on. The website doesn’t say when voting closes, but we recommend getting your votes in sooner rather than later.

Are you planning on going to the 2013 SUP Awards? If so, post in the comments and let us know!