The Starboard team descended on Dana Point for the Third Annual Battle of The Paddle in San Clemente California. October 2nd and 3rd saw 863 paddlers and over 10,000 spectators which made for BOP the largest Stand Up Paddleboard event in the world. This year brought out top athletes from every corner of the world to compete. Starboard’s team definitely had the US presence; bringing in our top riders from around the world. The riders brought their best physically and mentally and Declan Sacre brought the best boards for them.
Some of the highlights to catch up on; Starboard SUP Team honors go to Bart De Zwart (52:52) in the open race, riding a 14-foot board out paddled and out maneuvered every size of paddleboard out there to get fastest time. “Because there were so many racers (350) they had staggered starts for the unlimited, 14 foot and 12’6. Connor and Zane went on the 12’6 and me on the 14ft.” Said Bart. “The start went well with just about 10 racers ahead of me I slowly started to work my way to the front. With so many racers getting around the buoys was a challenge again. Near the finish I only had 2 unlimited racers seconds in front of me but since they started one minute ahead of me I only had to stay close to get the overall. After the last wave ride I finished right behind the 2 unlimited.”
15 year old Connor Baxter did Starboard proud coming in 6th overall in the men’s elite is definitely amazing. The testing grounds for athletes to push themselves and their equipment to the limit is the Elite Class. This year it was broadcast live to 60 countries and showed the best paddlers worldwide giving their all to go down in history as the Battle of The Paddle Champion. 160 people in this class, 5 miles, 4 laps, and 100 yard beach sprints, make this battle what it is.
Zane and Connor were neck and neck pushing the limit in the 18 and under 14ft class taking 1st and 2nd respectively. Zane is quoted as saying “Battle of the Paddle was held on no better time possible, the weather was beautiful, clear and warm, the waves were big enough to make the races exciting, and today the day after the event, it was 55 degrees and raining all day.”
The Starboard team did great things at the Battle Of the Paddle. This event brought out the best in each person there and has grown the sport and competition tremendously. Pat Huber the director of Rainbows Sandals Marketing is quoted as saying “We do it solely because we believe SUP is good for the family as it is something most everyone can do. It has brought a lot of families closer together, including our own.”
Some post race comradery amongst the team courtesy of Zane: