Zane Schweitzer’s Recap of the 2013 BOP
The BOP is always a great race to watch with its many challenges, hi ranking competitors and it can be a devastating race for some and rewarding for many others. This year is no different and Zane Schweitzer found this race to be rewarding as he took 6th in the elite race and 3rd in the distance. Zane gave us a recap of the weekends fun filled event.
Congratulations Zane and the entire Starboard Team!
You can check out Zane’s post race interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_bMtjUZI-c#t=31
This weekend was incredible. The Battle of the Paddle is the race anyone and everyone in the SUP world looks forward to every year.
You can count on at least 500 competitors, a great demo area, the beach lined with thousands of spectators and the most talented professional field of any race out there. It is the race every athlete dreams of doing well in, trains for all year, and knows it will be not only fun but one of the hardest races they will compete in!
Me and the Battle have an up and down history though… Two years ago I was realizing my dream of finishing in the top 10, and in the finishing chicane was passed by one of the best racers RUNNING up the beach to the finish. Kelly Margets finished 10th and I got 11th!!! It was a real frustration, but I had to settle for a respectable 11th overall and hope 2012 would be different. I knew that the next year I could come back and kill it if I continued to train. But the Battle is always just that – a fight!!! In 2012, after training all year, I was ready to vindicate myself. I was feeling strong, had a great racing season behind me finishing 4th overall in the World Race Series, and a couple great wins in the year. But in the finals of the Elite Race I caught a bomb set, without a leash on and lost my board. I saw it ride the wave all the way to the beach, and I had to swim in all the way to the beach, killing any hope of finishing near the top of the field.. Although last year my elite course race didn’t finish how I planned, the Distance race was one of my best finishes yet, finishing in 1st place in the 12’6″ class overall!
I love the Battle! Lots of people on the waves with carnage all around, getting knocked around, people in the lead getting passed by someone way behind them because they got a set wave! Anything can happen and usually does. So this year – I was prepared for anything! In the semi heat I finished in a solid third place even with some minor equipment failure. It made my hunger even stronger! For the main event, I was pumped and ready. Within minutes of the start, I rolled my board just before getting to my feet, I fell off and had to jump back on and gain lost time. Not the way I wanted to start the race. But there are 3.5 laps in this race, and I was determined to pick off as many competitors as I could one at a time, going from some were in the top 25 all the way up to the top 6!
… Kai Lenny had a bit of a break in the pack, ahead of the the train, He was on fire and I could see he was having his moment. Behind him was my team mate and close friend Connor Baxter closing the gap stroke by stroke. As always Danny Ching was right there in the front, though only this time in 3rd position, with Casper Steinfath having a great race and in 4th position. 5th, 6th, and 7th was Mo Freitas, Me, and Kelly Margets all together. For us it would be down to the beach race, we hit the beach at the same time and raced through the Chicane almost together. Close behind us was Jake Jensen, Lincoln Dewes and Fernando Stalla. Talk about an international podium, we represent Hawaii, US, Denmark, Australia, and Mexico, and All of us were thrilled to have made the podium and earned the yellow jersey for next years race.
Finishing top 10 in a field of such great racers was awesome but none of us could relax since we still had one more day of racing ahead of us.
The distance race – 5 miles along the coastline to San Clemente Pier, then back for a total of just about 10 miles, with a beach start and a beach finish. As we set out it was a pack of the fastest paddlers as you can imagine, pretty much all in a train vying for position. In the long distance race, my goal was to Paddle hard with the top of the pack, and stay with the top 5 for as long as I could. The leader of the group was Travis Grant, even with an injured knee, he was still FAST. He had not raced the day before because of it so he was a little fresher than us, no sore muscles, but his knee was seriously injured we were all impressed he had it in him to race, never mind lead the pack. But you could tell he wanted it this race bad. Danny Ching was also right there in front, with Beau O’Brian my Starboard team mate from Australia in that first group too. Noticeably missing from this lineup was Connor Baxter who paddled so hard in the Elite Race the day before that he re-injured himself popping a rib out!!! So he had to pull out of this race. Just a board length away was about 7 more of us, including Jake Jensen, Casper Steinfath, Kai Lenny, Me and Kody Kerbox… Packed together trying to find the moment to pull ahead. I took my first opportunity at the half way buoy by the pier, made the turn fast, steer clear of the other competitors, and keep my speed enough to pass a few racers and keep out of the kelp with my FCS Kelp fin.. This put me to the front of the second group in 4th. With under a mile or two to go I had to make my move. My Starboard Sprint 14′ was the perfect board for these conditions and I really just paddled as hard as I could to get ahead. The board picks up on a plane fast, and with just a bit to the beach, I was able to pass Beau O’Brian for a 3rd place overall finish!
With a 6th place finish in the Elite Race and a 3rd Place finish in the Distance Race I secured my goal of top 3 overall at the 2013 Battle of the Paddle! Congratulations to Danny Ching the Overall Champion with a 3rd in the Elite Race and 2nd In the Distance. It was really fun paddling with all these guys and can’t wait for the next race.
Also; a big shout out to Annabel Anderson who with no surprise to anyone killed it in both of her races, winning both the Elite Race and the Distance Race and securing the Overall Champion title as well!
Big Mahalos to Matty Schweitzer for being an epic Team Captain and Manager for Starboard, as well as an awesome coach to the team and not to mention getting insane videos and photos in all the races!
Mahalos to all my supports and sponsors; Starboard, AlpineStars, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Vitargo (Fein), FCS, Waterman Sunscreen, Kulcha Shok Muzik, Dakine and Hi Tech!
See you on the water!!!
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer