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!