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Three New FiBARK SUP (Stand Up Paddle boarding) Events creates the Triple CrownAs a new sport for FiBARK the SUP players organized three events: SUP-Cross, SUP-Freestyle, and SUP-Downriver. If you are new to SUP then you can relax. As the writer of this piece I’m inexperienced too and asked all the right questions for us rookie wannabe SUP inland surfers and river runners to learn.
Tone of Event
SUP-CrossFour person brackets began from an eddy exiting into downstream current. Racers had to cross an eddy fence and circle an upriver gate. The eddy returned to rapid downstream current. Just above the bridge the SUPr’s had to cross a challenging to balance large wave just prior to sprinting to the bridge.
Element of the Unknown- Keep it Chill
“Can you push or knock the other racer off their board?”While the rules allow for knocking, tripping, or pushing an opponent off of their board these guys were too polite for hooligan tactics and kept the event clean. In the final round Earl edged Mike
Liz Block Wins All in Women’s SUP-CrossLiz Block was the only woman to enter the SUP-Cross. The cool thing was she competed with the
Freestyle SUPWas held at the “Office Wave,” named so because the wave is just outside of Mike’s office window. Earl jokes, “Since the wave is named after Harvey’s office he had a clear advantage.” Knowing Mike has been a huge part in designing Colorado Whitewater parks and the local great play features I state that Mike must have the dream job. Earl answers, “His title is Recreation Engineering and Planning and he does a great job, but like most businesses I’m sure he deals with some 'unique people' and has his own set of work related challenges.” I nod, “Point well taken, I’m still a little envious of his office view.”
About Mike’s “Office Wave”We’ll call it Mike’s “Office Wave” since he also designed the wave and that should entitle some sort of ownership. But really on this day it was Zach Hughes who owned the wave. The Office
How’s Freestyle SUP Scored?The event chose to steer away from a definitive scoring system. Earl explains, “We simplified a complicated system to four areas of points: Technical ability; Fluidity and style; Length of ride offering a bonus for a full 45 second ride, and a Big Trick bonus. Surfers kept the top two rides and threw out the bottom two rides.
SUP-Downriver RaceLast year the 26-mile event was too much for the SUP racers. This year FiBARK opened a SUP category cutting the event to a ten-mile race, Salida to Rincon. This section is primarily class II with a III hole at Bear Creek. The hole was intimidating for the racers as it was talked up as big. SUP as a group left one minute behind the kayakers. The river flowed fast, was not too technical, offered a safe race venue, required some river skills, and even some split currents to navigate. For many racers it was their first event.
A Funny FinishCharlie McArthur known for winning the Gore and other reputable Colorado extreme races jumped out front and secured his gold medal early. Not knowing the course second place racer Earl Richmond asked kayakers how far ‘til the finish. No one seemed to know. The Bear Creek hole tossed Earl into the drink ripping his earphones from his head. He climbed on his board and calmly adjusted his headphones. He could hear the crowd yelling but never looked back as he assumed he must be about five miles from the finish. As Earl nonchalantly paddled Bill Mellentime strolled up on his C4 Watermark 12’6”, “How much further we got?” Earl answered, “I think we’ve got about five miles.” As the pair cornered the next bend they spotted 100 yards downstream the finish. After ten miles of navigating eddys, crossing currents, a swim at Bear Creek, and a relaxing paddle alone Earl and Bill found themselves in an all-out sprint to the 100-yard finish. Stroke for stroke they matched the other. The boards striding must’ve been magnetized by the current as they began gliding and bouncing in unison. Each man could only take a stroke on one side as the other side was blocked by an obtrusive board. With each stroke one would dart a foot in front of the other and vice versa as the pair were set for a Michael Phelps finish. Bounce. Stroke. Pull ahead. Fall behind. Then Bill’s paddle hit Earl’s board flipping Bill just 15’ from the finish. Earl cruised the final 12’ to a second place finish. He pondered if his non-competitive nature would’ve allowed him to win or place third. Again, at the finish line the SUP pioneers found themselves in friendly fashion exhilarated at each other’s accomplishments and a successful event. Again, they enjoyed brews from the event sponsor New Belgium and spending time with their families.
Nicole Duke LeadsOn the female side, Nichole Duke from Boulder lead the pack in the women's field in both Surf Nicole Duke's SUP Blog Any new event like SUP at FiBARK hopefully is fun, showcases the safety of the sport, and sets a foundation for 2012. The future looks very bright for SUP at FiBArk.
“Tell me something about the various boards and what is best for what.”Badfish- is a shorter paddle-board should use a smaller blade for quicker paddling cadence. Werner Carve- is a shorter aggressive paddle best for wave surfing. If you’re a Colorado SUP’r you’ll get the most out the waves with the Curve. C4 Waterman Leash- Wave Surfers need a leash. You might go one way and your board the other and you’ll want that leash keeping you close to your board. C4 Waterman SUP Surf Boards- the Subvector ISUPs 8’1”; 9’3”; and 10’0” for Surf and the ISUP 12'6” for downriver racing and the ISUP XXL for Boater X.