The Pacific Paddle Games went down last weekend and was the most highly contested race of the year. Top paddlers from all over the world descended on Dana Point, CA to participate and race. This is our favorite race because it grew from the Battle of the Paddle which was the first modern SUP race, and the PPG still holds that tradition and prestige. It is also the 1 time each year that we get to see Riviera team Paddlers, Shop Owners, Distributors, and Friends from all over the world. This year was no different, Since Riviera Headquarters is minutes from the event site at Doheny Beach, we welcomed everyone to come surf and train with the team, and come view the 2017 line of boards displayed in our warehouse. We hosted paddlers from all over the US, Hawaii, Tahiti, Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea, Italy, Canada, and more. On the Sunday of the event we host the After Party, we have been doing this for the past 6 years and it is really fun to get all these paddlers together who have one thing in common, Stand Up Paddling.
Now for our Recap on the racing... We'll try to keep it short.
Like we said this is our favorite event of the year... It's in our backyard, this is where our Local team riders train, and where SUP for us at Riviera Started, Dana Point, and San Clemente. Last year Team Riviera was lucky enough to win the Manufacturers Cup by having the highest combined points from team riders in all divisions. It was the biggest achievement of our team so far, so we came into the 2016 event wanting to hold onto the cup for another year.
Prone Racing - This year Braden Porra and Rob Rojas raced our RP-12' prone paddle boards. Braden had great finishes taking 5th in the Pro Distance Race & 4th in the Pro Technical Race.
Elite Race Qualifying - The Men's Elite Technical races were stacked this year! It was an achievement to make it out of the round 1 heats. Ryan Helm had his leash come off at the start of the race leaving him dragging his leash off the start, and struggling to keep it out of the water for the rest of the race had him just missing the cut off for transferring to the next round. Riviera Shaper Taylor Rambo made it through round 1 and into the heat races on Saturday.
Youth Races - The groms at this years event were charging! We see some really young kids in San Clemente training every week with Coach Mike Eisert and The Paddle Academy, but it was great to see so many other groms from all over the world out their testing their ability's in the surf at Doheny.
Open Technical Race - Team Riviera had quite a few paddlers in the Open Race including Mace Camhe, Tiffany Tudyk, Sarah Messina, Sam Griffin, Maeva Hargrave, Teana Tea, Brandon Rambo. Brandon Rambo ended up 2nd Place behind Jay Wild in this race.
Pro Junior Technical Race - Nick Scheel 17 and Jade Howson 14 from Riviera raced in the Junior Division on their RP-12'6" Raceboards. Scheel finishing 6th and Jade Finishing 2nd.
Pro Womens Tech Qualifying - In the Womens Pro Elite races we had Shae Foudy, Jade Howson, and Kim Barnes racing RP-12'6" Raceboards. Doheny is where Shae and Jade train all year round. All 3 girls made it through to the Final on Sunday.
Pro Men's Distance Race - Ryan Helm and Cyril Burgierre were fired up for the distance race. The morning started with some pretty strong southwinds making for a rough start into the wind with a downwind leg on the way back. Ryan finished 32nd with Cyril finishing 43rd.
Pro Womens Distance Race - Distance races are never very exciting to watch, but this year the webcast was following the racing the entire time, so even from the beach we could stream the action from our phones while the race headed a few miles down the coast. Shae Foudy had an incredible race battling for second 2nd with Candace Appleby, and Fiona Wylde... Shae ended up in second place edging out Candace in the run up the beach.
Jade Howson raced the Junior Pro Distance and finished 2nd place just 2 seconds behind Erika Benitez.
The Technical Finals proved to be some of the most exciting SUP Racing ever. Especially the Womens Elite Race... Jade Howson got the holeshot with Shae behind going Riviera 1 and 2 around the first Buoy. Jade held them off for a few turns before getting caught up by a wave. Then the lead between Shae, Candace, and Annabel changed a few times. Towards the end, Anabelle was walking away with the lead, and Candace and Shae were battling. Just before the finish Anabelle decided to go for another lap missing the finish, and Candace swooped in for the Win! Shae hit the beach next to Terene, and Terene got her in the Run with Shae Finishing 3rd, and Jade Finishing 5th! Not Bad for the 2 youngest competitors in the Pro Elite class.
In the Mens Final, No Riviera Paddlers were in except for Guilherme De Souza from Brazil who needed a board to race so we offered him an RP-14x21" Prototype that we had. He ended up making the 16 man Final finishing 14th! 14th in the world that day was an incredible accomplishment!
With the Teams effort all weekend Team Riviera ended up in 3rd Place in the Board Manufacturers Cup! We are really stoked on our finish, and the way the team raced, and can't wait till next year to race for the cup!
This weekend there were races everywhere! We did our best to support them, and the Riviera Team divided and conquered events all over the place.
Round The Rock - Seattle ,WA.
Round the Rock is the biggest Race of the year in the Northwest, and has been for years. We have been a long time supporter of this race and this year it had a great turn out despite the weather taking a turn for the worse. The day started out nice then the winds picked up to 25mph making the race impossible for some to finish. Dan Eberhart and Jeff Underwood do a great job organizing this race.
Margaritaville Cup - Florida
Ryan Helm, Will Connaughton, and Kim Barnes raced the Margarittaville Cup this weekend, with Ryan, and Kim both winning the race on their RP-12'6" and RP-14' Raceboards. Ryan and Kim teamed up with Kieran Grant to win the team Relay as well. All in a days work.
Water Warrior - Oceanside, CA
The Water Warrior Amphibious Assault race is about as unique as it's name. Part obstacle course through sand pits and floating bounce houses, part SUP Racing in and out through the surf. This year saw some good competition with Chucky Glynn taking 1st, Riviera Team Rider Nick Scheel taking 2nd, and Trevor Bashor taking 3rd in the mens race. While Riviera's Shae Foudy & Jade Howson took 1st and 2nd in the women's race.
Nick Scheel on the podium.Jade Howson
Beyond the Shore Paddlefest
Beyond the shore paddle fest is a SUP Race and SUP Yoga event that raises awareness to ocean cinservation. 100% of the proceeds go to the foundations listed on their website HERE... http://www.beyondtheshore.org/
Shae foudy took 1st place in the Womens race on her RP-12'6 Raceboard, and Daniel russell took 5th on his Riviera 14' behind, Danny Ching, Slater Trout, Martin Vitry, and Greg Closier.
SUP Jr Games - Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has a large group of SUP Paddlers and Racers, especially a growing crew of junior paddlers. The youth SUP race The Puerto Rico SUP Jr. Games was this past weekend and the up and coming paddlers were there in full force. Riviera Team Rider Dessiree Hernandez came home with the win on her RP-12'6".
The 2nd Annual Blueline Ocean Warrior Challenge went down this past weekend in Florida. Riviera's Brandon Rambo, Ryan Helm, Kim Barnes, Will Connaughton and more came to race and enjoy the event. Blueline Has a great crew of paddlers and employees, and we have been working with them for a long time now.
Ryan Helm and Kim Barnes have been training hard this year, and both of them came away with wins in the Men's 14' and Womens 12'6"Races. Brandon Rambo Riviera Sales Manager came away with a 2nd Place in the Men's 12'6" Elite race.
The Japan Cup is one of the most prestigious races of the year help at Chigasaki Beach in Japan. Brandon Rambo, Taylor Rambo, and Ryan Helm made the trip out last year where Ryan had a heartbreak of a race snapping his leash with 2 turns to go... Going from 1st place to last place in a split second...
This year Riviera Team Riders from Japan represented with incredible finishes from Takayo Yokohama & Kaito Miyakoshi.
Takayo placed 4th, and 3rd in the Survivor and distance races.
Kaito Placed 8th & 10th against a stacked men's field of racers.
The Gorge Paddle Challenge was this past weekend, and the Riviera team was there in full force with Their RP-Series Racebards [see them here]. It is a big production getting our team riders to and from races with all their equipment, but Riviera Sales Rep Monty Roach made the drive from Southern Ca, with a trailer full of boards up to The Gorge.
The crew of Riviera Team paddlers this trip included Shae Foudy, Ryan Helm, Jade Howson, Talia Decoite, Nick Scheel, Cyril Burierre, Kim Barnes, and Daniel Russel.
The team riders chose between our RP-Series Raceboards, or the RP-Downwind Raceboards for the flat water and downwind races.
Day 1 of the racing Shae Foudy took 4th place with some of the SUP Racing greats. One of the most impressive results was of Jade Howson... 14 years old and Finished 7th Place in the Course Race, then took 11th place overall in the double downwind races the following day.
The Men's team had great finishes on day 1 as well with Ryan Helm 21st, Nick Scheel 29, Cyril Burgierre 31, and Daniel Russel 33rd. Although finishing out of the top 20 doesn't seem that great on paper. Check out the list of names in the top 40.
Last weekend The Jamie Mitchel Survivor race hosted by Quiksilver Waterman went down in Huntington Beach. There were top paddlers from all over the world. We had the whole team there including Ryan Helm, Shae Foudy, Jade Howson, Cyril Bugierre, Daniel Russel, Talia Decoite, Taylor Rambo, Brandon Rambo, & Mace Camhe.
The conditions were bumpy with an onshore wind and small waves. It was all about getting a good start and making it through the surf cleanly. Shae Foudy had an incredible race taking 1st or second in 4 of the 5 heats beating Candace, Anabel, and the rest of the field. Shae has won the Santa Monica Race twice, and now the Survivor race in a stacked womens field to now be considered one of the top women paddlers in the world.
The racing went well for the rest of the team as well. Jade Howson battled back from getting taken out in the surf. Talia finished 8th after snapping her Paddle against Terene's board.
Dear Valued Customer,
This is a big moment for Riviera as we have been working hard on our 2017 product line. A few new additions in 2017 are the 11’6” Voyager touring board for light weight paddlers, our environmentally friendly and durable Eco Molded Blanks come standard on 90% of our board line, and the release of our 26mm Flex Shaft BUMP Paddle available in 7” and 7.5” blade widths. Look forward to more lightweight “Stressed” paint options throughout the new line, as well as our comfortable and grippy Plush Diamond Grip traction on all 2017 board models. A key update to our paddle line is an anti-twist oval shaft with updated clamp and graphics to our best selling Vantage Adjustable Paddle.
Riviera is proud to be one of a few SUP companies to sell its products exclusively through specialty retail rather than big box establishments or online only. We owe much of our success to the specialty retailer who has been a crucial part of Riviera’s growth as a brand. Thanks to our in-house team, sales reps, and hard-working 20+ distribution operations across multiple countries, we will keep pumping out great product for years to come.
Thank you for all your support and we look forward to a great 2017!
- Riviera Paddlesurf
Location: Benton Harbor, Michigan
Main Contact: Ryan Gerard (Owner)
What got you into the SUP Business?
Surfing got us into SUP, It was a natural fit for us in 2007 and we've been going strong since.
What is your most memorable moment in SUP?
Cruising the local river with my wife, and paddling Lake Michigan with my son.
How does SUP complement your business?
SUP is a natural fit for our two surf shops and paddling store. We surf, but we paddle when it's flat.
Where do you like to paddle?
We have Lake Michigan, multiple rivers, and hundreds of lakes nearby. The possibilities are endless.
Favorite local restaurant for an after paddle meal.
The Livery Microbrewery
What is your favorite local SUP event?
Demos with customers and community paddle nights every Thursday