I’ve covered this race for a number of years now, including once in person (fantastic trip to a unique venue) and every year, on the day, the conditions are the same: it’s freezing cold at the start with fog obscuring the top of the famos Golden Gate bridge. But by start time, the wind comes up, blows away the fog and the sun comes out leaving fabulous downwind conditions for the second half of the race…
As for the headbash out to the turning buoy – although the paddlers had a brisk headwind, the waves were small and the current gentle.
The front bunch of six broke away instantly from the mob, with South Africans Dawid Mocke, Matt Bouman, Sean Rice and Barry Lewin taking turns to pull. Spanish paddler Dani Sanchez did exceptionally well to hang on the bunch. US/French Olympian Philippe Boccara keeping up but paddling on his own taking a deep line.
Sean Rice pulls the bunch into the wind and current just after the start. Mocke on the inside; Bouman on the black Epic; Barry Lewin on the yellow Bullet.
Some 50m back, Carter Johnson was mixing it with Olympians Greg Barton and Tommy Karls (Sweden)…
3km into the race, Mocke put the hammer down and lead a breakaway pack… now it was three: Mocke, Rice and Bouman and they traded the pull, with Sean Rice eventually rounding the turning buoy at the mouth of the bay in first place.
Then it was three - Mocke, Rice and Bouman on the way out to the turning bouy
Michele Eray on the way out
It was now that tactics and pre-race planning played a huge role. The current had turned and was predicted to be only 1kt in strength, flowing in the opposite direction to the paddlers. In the event, in places it was much stronger, reaching 3-3.5kt.
As the three men turned round the buoy, Rice caught a run and, staying a couple of hundred metres offshore, quickly opened up a substantial 100m lead on Mocke, who had however, immediately headed inshore.
Matt Bouman trails Mocke
A few minutes later it was clear that Mocke had taken the right line and by the time the leaders were back under the bridge, Mocke had more than made up the deficit and had taken the lead.
Rice swung inshore when he realized what had happened – but it was too late and Mocke was never threatened the rest of the race.
The leg from the turning buoy back to the Fenn hotspot at Fort Baker was relatively flat, with the paddlers working hard on the small runs.
Hotspot and more downwind
Mocke having secured the $1,000 hotspot, he set off for Angel Island – and by now Matt Bouman too had overtaken Rice, passing the hotspot buoy in second position. Barry Lewin was well clear of the following bunch in fourth.
The conditions from here on in, simply improved minute by minute. Mocke had the perfect line, sheltering from the current behind Angel Island. Close to Pt. Blunt they all eventually hit the current, providing a strange spectacle of skis screaming down steep runs and yet seeming to stand still in terms of speed over the ground…
(At this point the commentary team had lost all idea of what was going on further back in the fleet – our spotter having left his phone behind was using an unfamiliar device and was unable to answer my frantic calls!)
Bouman rounds the hotspot, by now in second place
Sean Rice heads towards Pt. Blunt in 3rd place. By now the surfing conditions were excellent.
From Angel Island across to the finish at Berkeley, the runs were coming at a diagonal from the paddlers’ right… But they were catching long, beautiful rides – 10 seconds with paddles down, a couple of quick strokes, and off again.
Just before Berkeley, the paddlers found themselves facing a couple of dozen 40ft racing yachts heading straight for them… For a moment, things looked tense, but Mocke made a left hand jink and cleared the fleet. That left the bunch having to work hard right to get back to the finish.
And Mocke took his fourth US Surfski Champs title in a time of 1:54:35, finishing just over four minutes ahead of Matt Bouman. Sean Rice was another minute off the pace, with Barry Lewn nearly three minutes further behind. Daniel Sanchez Villoria paddled a brilliant race, coming in fifth. The first Aussie, Robert Barry was next with Greg Barton in seventh.
...and it's all over. Rice and Bouman congratulate the 2011 US Surfski Champion
As expected, Michele Eray totally dominated the women’s race, beating US paddler DeAnne Hemmens by over 11 minutes.
Eray turns the mark...
...and heads downwind. In spite of an injury to one arm, Eray was never challenged.
- Dawid Mocke 1:54:35
- Matt Bouman 1:58:38
- Sean Rice 1:59:47
- Barry Lewin 2:02:34
- Daniel Sanchez Villoria 2:04:10
- Michele Eray 2:20:05
- DeAnne Hemmens 2:31:58
- Kristen Podolack 2:35:09
More on www.ussurfski.com
|Rank||Name||Location||Time||Division||Division Place||Boat Make/Model as registered|
|1||Dawid Mocke||Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa||01:54:35||OP||1st||Fenn Elite|
|2||Matt Bouman||Umhlanga Rocks||01:58:38||OP||2nd||Epic V10|
|3||Sean Rice||Cape Town, South Africa||01:59:47||OP||3rd||Think UNO Max|
|4||Barry Lewin||Durban Kawazulu Nata, South Africa||02:02:34||OP||4th||Custom Kayaks Bullet|
|5||Daniel Sanchez||San Jose, Ibiza, Spain||02:04:10||OP||5th||Fenn Elite|
|6||Robert Barry||Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia||02:05:46||SM||1st||Fenn Elite|
|7||Greg Barton||Seattle, Washington, USA||02:07:05||SM||2nd||Epic V12|
|8||Tommy Karls||Trosa, Sweden||02:07:50||MS||1st||Fenn|
|9||Dorion Wolter||Delaware, Ohio, USA||02:08:57||OP||Fenn Mako Elite|
|10||Philippe Boccara||Newport Beach, California, USA||02:09:12||SM||3rd||Fenn Elite|
|11||Oskar Stielau||North Shore City, New Zealand||02:09:38||MS||2nd||Fenn Elite|
|12||Robbie Ford||Northshore, Auckland, New Zealand||02:10:02||OP||Fenn|
|13||Gabe Newton||Seattle, Washington, USA||02:10:46||OP|
|14||Patrick Hemmens||Costa Mesa, California, USA||02:11:26||MS||3rd||Fenn Elite SL|
|15||Donald Kiesling||Seattle, Washington, USA||02:11:35||OP||Epic V10L|
|16||Carter Johnson||Sausalito, California, USA||02:12:09||OP||Huki S1X Special|
|17||Ian Mercer||Auckland, New Zealand||02:14:27||MS||4th||Huki|
|18||Reid Hyle||DeLand, Florida, USA||02:14:47||OP||Fenn Elite|
|19||Austin Kieffer||Asheville, North Carolina, USA||02:15:35||OP||Fenn XT|
|20||Robin Graham||Atherton, California, USA||02:15:39||OP||Fenn Elite|
|21||David Jacobson||Bellingham, Washington, USA||02:15:44||OP||Fenn Swordfish|
|22||Gareth Tudor-Jones||Cobble Hill, British Columbia, Canada||02:16:42||OP||Think UNO Max|
|23||Pablo Fernandez||Santander, Cantabria, Spain||02:17:03||MS||5th||Fenn Elite|
|24||Shane Martin||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||02:17:15||OP||Epic V10|
|25||Paul Rosenquist||Stockholm, Sweden||02:17:28||OP||Point65 Bourbon Orca|
|26||Rich Long||San Clemente, California, USA||02:17:36||MS||Fenn Elite|
|27||Dan Yoder||Dana Point, California, USA||02:18:16||OP||Fenn Elite|
|28||Tommy Yonley||Houston, Texas, USA||02:19:37||OP||Huki S1X Special|
|29||Michele Eray||Piettenberg Bay, Western Cape, South Africa||02:20:05||W||1st||Nelo Medium|
|30||Brent Reitz||Moss Landing, California, USA||02:21:04||SM||4th||Huki S1X Special|
|31||Morris Arthur||Bellingham, Washington, USA||02:21:34||MS||Huki S1X Special|
|32||Borys Markin||Hackensack, New Jersey, USA||02:22:45||OP||Nelo Large|
|33||Kenny Howell||Montara, California, USA||02:23:05||MS||Epic V12|
|34||Brian Kummer||San Clemente, California, USA||02:23:43||SM||5th||Fenn Mako 6|
|35||Rob Hansen||Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada||02:23:50||MS||Fenn Elite|
|36||Ken Stanick||North Vancover, British Columbia, Canada||02:24:12||MS||Epic V12|
|37||Carl Greenhalgh||Mainbeach, Queensland, Australia||02:24:20||MS||Vajda Orca Racing|
|38||Adam Fahey||Secret Harbour, Western Australia||02:24:29||OP||Think UNO Max|
|39||Bob Putnam||Deep Cover, North Vancouver, Canada||02:24:46||SM||Epic V10|
|40||Sean Morley||Fairfax, California||02:25:13||MS||Huki|
|41||Jack Kraus||San Clemente, California, USA||02:25:32||SM||Fenn Mako 6|
|42||Sean Lupton-Smith||Atlanta, Georgia, USA||02:25:50||MS||Fenn Elite|
|43||Steve Kaspar||Martinez, California, USA||02:26:28||SM||Fenn Elite|
|44||John Dye||San Rafael, California, USA||02:27:06||SM||Mako Millenium|
|45||Mike McNulty||Boulder Creek, California, USA||02:27:48||SM||Huki S1X Special|
|46||Chris Stout||Monterey, California, USA||02:28:30||MS||Fenn Elite|
|47||Corry Fitzgibbons||Costa Mesa, California, USA||02:29:01||MS||Fenn Elite|
|48||Jeff Schwing||Oakland, California, USA||02:30:09||MS||Huki S1X Special|
|49||Daryl Remmler||North Vancover, British Columbia, Canada||02:31:12||MS||Think Evo|
|50||DeAnne Hemmens||Costa Mesa, California, USA||02:31:58||W||2nd||Fenn Swordfish|
|51||Dean Jordaan||Atlanta, Georgia, USA||02:32:20||OP||Fenn Elite|
|52||Didier Vavasseur||Bassussarry, France||02:32:47||SM|
|53||Vineet Buch||Foster City, California, USA||02:32:57||OP||Fenn Mako Elite|
|54||Matt Kelly||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||02:34:41||MS||Think Evo|
|55||Kristen Podolak||Berkeley, California, USA||02:35:09||W||3rd|
|56||Warren Bruce||North Vancover, British Columbia, Canada||02:35:40||SM||Epic V10 Sport|
|57||Rod McLain||Stockton Springs, Maine, USA||02:37:32||OC1-SM||Kai Wa'a Scorpius|
|58||Tim Burke||Crownsville, Maryland, USA||02:39:37||MS||Epic V10 Sport|
|59||James Hoffman||Bedford, New York, USA||02:39:48||SM||Fenn XT|
|60||Alex McLain||Stockton Springs, Maine, USA||02:42:37||W||4th||Epic V12|
|61||Nick Hanoian||San Diego, California, USA||02:43:45||OP||Epic V12 Ultra|
|62||Jerry Merayo||Marina Del Rey, California, USA||02:43:50||MS||Fenn Elite|
|63||George Porter||Dana Point, California, USA||02:44:42||SM||Fenn Elite|
|64||Joel Leker||Marina, Calfiornia, USA||02:51:52||SM||Fenn Mako XT|
|65||Jonathan Sanborn||Maple Grove, Minnesota, USA||02:52:52||SM||Epic V12|
|66||Greg Greene||Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA||02:53:02||SM||Huki S1X Special|
|67||Edward Visser||Los Angeles, California, USA||02:53:12||SM||Fenn XT|
|68||Andy Howell||Englewood, Colorado, USA||02:53:13||MS||Fenn XT|
|69||Olaf Beckmann*||St. Helena, California, USA||02:54:46||MS||Fenn Elite|
|70||Tom Mohr||Dana Point, California, USA||02:55:03||SM||Fenn Mako 6|
|71||Sandy Yonley||Houston, Texas, USA||02:55:07||W||5th||Huki|
|72||Fernando Marcenaro||Houston, Texas, USA||03:00:01||SM||Huki S1R|
|73||Mike Gregory||Bellingham, Washington, USA||03:14:27||GM||Epic V10 Sport|
|74||Roger Lamb||Bellingham, Washington, USA||03:24:47||GM||Huki S1X|
OP=Open (18-39); MS = Masters (40-49); SM = Senior Masters (50-59); GM = Golden Master (60+)
Live Commentary Transcript
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