We just returned from the 3rd Annual Cold Stroke Classic in Wrightsville Beach. It was the usual great time had by all. Jeoffrey, Kathryn, and the fine folks at Coastal Urge once again did a great job of putting on a class event and well run race. The evening banquet was a lot of fun as well and included a fire dancer/breather.
After nearly 2 months of cold weather across the south, Mother Nature was kind to us with high 40s, sunny conditions, and very light wind by race time...as opposed to last year's race conditions with wind chill in the teens. We couldn't have asked for a better winter day for racing.
The best thing about the event was the number of folks who came out...Jeoffrey said 108 registered and he expected approximately 125 total. And an even better thing was that there were many new SUP'ers out there in their very first race. I couldn't have been prouder of my wife, Kris, and her friend Dawn...both in their very first SUP race. If you had told me just five months ago that my wife would be racing in the Cold Stroke Classic, I would have said you were absolutely out of your mind and dreaming.
If any of you out there are reading this and wondering how you can get your spouse out there, let me tell you...it is absolutely possible. Kris never considered herself a "water person" and still probably doesn't. But she recognized the health benefits, it didn't hurt that our kids love it, and also having her great friend Dawn getting into it with her.
Dawn and Kris closing in on the finish line
The Lake Norman crew represented again with several of us there, but some were unfortunately missing as well and we hope to have everyone there at future events.
Top row l to r: Mike Rodden, me, Rob Cornwell, Nick Cesmat, Matt Cesmat. Bottom row l to r: Kris, Tom May, Dawn Jeffer, and Jen Cesmat. Missing from this picture but also from Lake Norman were Gary McAuliffe and Dan Meyers.
With great humbleness and full on respect for all the other competitors, I'm also pretty excited about having won 1st place in the Men's Recreational 12'6" & Under Class. It was the shorter 3.5 mile course around Harbor Island and pretty much a full on sprint.
It was a fairly windless fall and a windless winter so far, so without much windsurfing I spent a lot of time paddling in very cold conditions and working on my stroke technique. I would encourage anyone to read what's readily available out there on the 'net about stroke technique...there have been some great write-ups by Dave Kalama on his blog (linked from this blog...see my blog roll list to the right), and others such as Rob Rojas on SUP Magazine online. Its all out there available to anyone to digest. Pro SUP'er Dan Gavere put on a race/paddling clinic on Friday before the race but I couldn't get there in time for it...otherwise I would have loved to learn from him as well.
All the pros/elite paddlers that I have met are very open and willing to share knowledge about their technique and how they train. The SUP community as a whole has been awesome in terms of sharing knowledge, camaraderie, fun, and just having that great aloha spirit. Its contagious and I just want to pass it on as well.
WaterTurtle on the podium with a spanking brand new Werner paddle
Here are the results.
Here is the local Lumina News coverage of the race. I was misquoted a bit...they have me in there saying I "kitesurf". Ahem...excuse me, but that is "windsurf"....go figure. And they got my other quote a little bit wrong as well...they paraphrased what I actually said even though the reporter recorded me. Oh well.
And here is a local news TV spot that aired. Funny how they still get it wrong saying we're "standing on surfboards".
The next morning on the way out of town, we detoured to Carolina Beach to surf in some small knee slappers. It was a fun mellow session with Rob, Matt, and his son Andrew. No matter the size of the waves, we were very grateful for more time on the water. Here are some pics Kris took of me...