Oct 9, 2014

BATTLE OF THE PADDLE 2014: the BIGGEST race weekend in the WORLD: Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point CA

Where to begin?!?! A fairtytale finish to my first year racing as a PRO SUP athlete. I really never even imagined this would be ME! A year ago, I was struggling with an internal feeling that I could do more in SUP... but with a great job (tough to find), not being "young", having no clear idea how to make it happen,  it was a tough call to leave my job and take the plunge.

Life lesson: Live with no regrets.

My goal this year was to travel, race at lots of international races, do well, and get myself in the game.

I never thought I would find success so quickly in my first year....

This weekend it all came together for me. I conquered many fears, doubts, and challenges. I pushed myself to a different place I have never been. I didn't think I was as hungry for it as I was but when the gun went off I turned into beast mode and conquered. :)

At Huntington two weeks ago, I learned a lot but in these last two weeks I learned more than I ever thought possible in such a short time.
Going into BOP I was already content with how amazing my trip to California had been with the new people and community I was meeting. The coaching from Ian and the Paddle Academy and the lovely people helping me out in every which way possible.

Ian Cairns took me under his wing and taught me about the ocean, different surfing skills, and a lot about attitude. I can remember our "first lesson" we sat in a truck talked, watched, learned for hours. It was amazing. He took me from knowing very little about the surf, being pretty frightened to hang in the surf zone/break zone, and not really have much skill at all; to understanding how to read the ocean, learn to understand where to be in the surfzone not to get pounded but be in the spot to catch waves, and much about the skill set needed to actually surf the wave... Now, I am far from being a good surfer,.. that will take time and practice but I am better than I was, and am having fun out there catching waves and going for it:)

The Paddle Academy has helped me with training...  Their guidance on and off the water has been huge for my training and confidence AND they are an amazing group of people:)

Going into BOP weekend, I spent the week at the SIC house with Georges, Sonni, Kenny, Chinois, Tamarua, Pilou, Majory, and Heilani. It was been great team bonding as we shared ideas, strategies, laughs, and stories.

I was feeling excited, nervous, tired, scared, driven, and a little just unsure of what to expect throughout the week. You could feel the vibe heat up as the weekend came closer and closer. Sure I wanted to win but at the same time my confidence in the BIG waves just wasn't up to par and I just couldn't wrap my head around how it would all come together. I did know I was physically ready and with a season full of racing becoming accustomed to the mental side of racing. I actually had a strange calm before the storm about me.

Saturday Course race day:
The ladies didn't race until 3pm but I wanted to be there at 10am for the first heat of the men to support and WATCH and learn.... It was HOT and long though so it was important to find shade, keep hydrated, and stay relaxed... There was carnage, and it looked tough and the waves were pretty big... Once the men heats finished it pretty much was pre race time for us. 3 hours before race time. I was trying to stay calm but nerves were starting to flutter in... I got myself prepared with fuel, had my SIC X12'6PRO get a cleaning from Onit Pro and eventually got myself on the start line. It was time to attack. Our start was tough with the whistle blowing as a huge set rolled in. I am not sure what I did exactly but it was a combination of being in the right spot, right strategic moves, and good push over the whitewater that allowed me to be out front with Fiona Wylde to the first buoy turn, Fiona went slightly off course and it was my chance to get out in front. I managed to surf a wave in and by lap two was mixed in with Candice, Annabel, Fiona, and Jenny... I am not exactly sure what went on each lap but I know I caught a few bombs and surfed them in (which I still need a picture of) had some luck going out and paddled hard hard hard. I tried to stay focused and hoped for some goodluck. Candice had a solid lead and i was just a second off of Annabel coming across the line in 3rd. Due to a technical penalty given to Annabel I got bumped up to 2nd for the official results of day 1. I could not believe it. I was riding a huge high. I was hoping I could come down for the distance race but.. there were a lot of emotions on Day 1 through to the morning of Day 2.

Sunday Distance Race:
It was an early start  and the waves were still pumping. I was paddling the production SIC X14PROlite and got off to one of the worst starts I could have had... literally in the back of the pack but then something possessed me and I just paddled like a maniac and didnt' get tired. I managed to go from almost last to paddling up to Annabel(who was in 1st) before the last turn. I would see a pack of people and decide I would catch them and then when I did, I would find my next group to try and catch. As we turned the last buoy on our way to the finish another huge set rolled in.  I didn't catch the first two waves but caught a smaller one and rode it in while Annabel caught one of the bigger ones but then fell. Without knowing she make a mistake I surfed in to a beach crowd yelling RUN RUN RUN and ran my way into first place! I could not believe it....

With a 2nd and a 1st I ended up winning the overall champion for the event which is called the most combative award. Dreams do come true:)

Congrats to EVERYONE who participated at this year's BOP Salt Creek. It was a lot of gnar out there... You are all champions:)

Could not have done all of this without my husband, Andrew, family and friends and the help of my sponsors.  SIC Maui, Werner Paddles, Nikki Rekman Sales, Season Five, Kavu, Ryders Eyewear, Larry Allison Fins, ClifBar, Feed the Machine, Crossfit Vancouver, OnIt Pro, Vitargo

Live, Love, Laugh,....DREAM!


Jaime Donnelly said...

ROCKSTAR!! Truly an inspiration to all your cross paths with. Blessings to you LINA!!!

Mieschni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlleyKat said...

Congrats!! Wishing you all the best in your sup career! You are truly a great role model and ambassador to the Sup community. Thank you