US Surfski Champs – Race Report ** Full Results **

Sunday, 23 August 2009 11:43 | Written by 
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San Francisco, California 22 August 2009: "The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco" - attributed (incorrectly!) to Mark Twain.

US Surfski Champs 09

Pic: Roger Dunn

Fog, Wind, Waves andCurrent

The tops of the Golden Gate Bridge were lost in cloud and a cold, damp wind whistled over Fort Baker where the stalwart Wavechaser volunteers had set up for the 2009 US Surfski Championships. 

Classic San Francisco conditions: a brisk 20kt wind blowing in from the sea and a forecast 4kt current to challenge the paddlers on the outbound leg.  The paddlers' lines would be critical - both on the way out and when riding the wind swells down the long downwind leg to the finish at Berkeley Marina.

Short Course

The short course was sent off first on a 7.25mi/11.6km lap into San Francisco Bay.  Mark Heutter won, followed by Peter Marcus, Jeff Schwing, Dan Coupland, Ben Sarrezan and the first woman home, Eva Mauck.  

Main Event - the Start

At over 100 competitors, this was the biggest (and most competitive) field ever at the US Champs. Two escort boats formed the start line, engines motoring slowly as they maintained their positions in the current.

"We had a clean start," said race favourite Dawid Mocke.  Mocke headed out fast, accompanied by Aussies Jeremy Cotter and Caine Eckstein and fellow Capetonian (and youngest paddler on the course) Sean "The Prawn" Rice.

The stream of skis shot under the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, almost scraping the rocks as the paddlers tried to stay out of the flood current.

US Surfski Champs 09 Start

US Surfski Champs 09 Start (Pic: Eric Nguyen)

US Surfski Champs 09

The lead group edges past the north end of the Golden Gate bridge (Pic: Eric Nguyen)


And into the current (Pic: Lesley Brown)

USSSC09 Lesley Brown (52)

The raging current shows clearly in this view, taken from the bridge (Pic: Lesley Brown)

Wide Line

"Tony Schumaker is staying out in the current, this is bizarre!" said our lead spotter, Brent Reitz. 

Conventional wisdom has it that in order to avoid the current, you have to go at least some way into each of the bays on the way out to Pt Bonnita - but Schumaker was flouting this rule, and seemed to be getting away with it.  Some 300m out in the stream, he was keeping up with the lead group.

US Surfski Champs 09

The leaders pass Pt. Diablo (Pic: Eric Nguyen)

US Surfski Champs 09

Dawid Mocke, Caine Eckstein and Jeremy Cotter working upwind and upcurrent together (Pic: Eric Nguyen)

Homework pays off

After the race, Sean Rice revealed that he and Schumaker had not only tripped the route a number of times, but had also visited the San Francisco Bay Model a few days before the race.  They'd told the tour guide about the race, and she'd obligingly simulated the race day conditions -injecting dye into the model to show the exact currents.  Rice and Schumaker knew that it wasn't necessary to take the longer conventional route into the bays.  "But I had such a sweet slip on the lead group that I decided to stick with them anyway," laughed an elated Rice after the race.

A little further back, the venerable Dean Gardiner was battling. "My forearms blew up on the way out," he said.  "But that actually paid off after the turn because I was fresh and could push it a bit harder."

Pt. Bonnita

By the time they reached the turning buoy off Pt. Bonnita, Mocke and Cotter had dropped Caine Eckstein (who'd left his boat and bib numbers in his hotel room and the race spotters baffled) and Sean Rice.  Turning downwind, they started back towards the bridge.

"Jeremy put in an interval and got ahead of me," said Mocke.  "I knew that the final leg from Angel Island would be critical so I decided not to chase but to conserve energy.  Turns out I conserved a little too much!"

Dean Gardiner

Gardiner said his painful forearms turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  "On the way out I was watching the guys in front," he said, "so I could see - and avoid - their mistakes."

Dean Gardiner

Dean Gardiner - forearms seizing up as he battles upwind (Pic: Eric Nguyen)

With the wind behind him, his arms "freed up a bit" and he took off to make up the places that he'd lost. He took a line to the right of the leaders, further out into the stream.

"It seemed obvious to go out into the middle," he said.

"There were some weird little anomalies out there though,"he added, "water going in and out.

"Caine was alongside me," he added, "so I had someone to race.

"It was a great race. Really interesting, lots of stuff going on.  The closeness at the end shows how competitive it was.  Without swell underneath the wind waves, all the good paddlers were catching their runs so you really had to concentrate - you couldn't afford to miss one."

Having rounded the Bonnita Pt. Buoy in about 8th place,Gardiner ended up third overall.

Sean Rice

"Oh man, what a race! It's the first time in a long time that things have really worked out - I just had a smile on my face the whole way. I was having so much fun on the runs that I had to keep telling myself to focus on the race!"

Sean Rice

 An elated Sean Rice heads downwind towards the finish (Pic: Eric Nguyen)

The twenty year old from Cape Town, South Africa was on a high after his excellent sixth place.

"I got beaten by five other guys, but they were the better paddlers," he said.

"Tony [Schumaker] and I had done our homework and had a great line - but Deano had an even better line," he grinned.

Pt Bonnita Rocks

The homework included scouting the rocks at Pt.Bonnita.  "I went straight through," he said, "and gained about 150m on the leaders.

"I was careful," he added. "I watched the rocks for about 3min before committing and I wouldn't have done it if we hadn't practised it."

Greg Barton

Greg Barton heads downwind (Pic: Eric Nguyen)

Murray Stewart

Aussie (and ex-South African) Murray Stewart pipped Rice for 5th place.  He too was happy with his result.  "It's not exactly 200m sprints," he grinned.  (He's just come back from K1 sprint world championships in Nova Scotia.) 

"It was torturous going out, but great coming back," he added.  Stewart starts his surfski training now for the Hong Kong and Dubai races at the end of the year, before switching back to K1.  "Ski paddling is great cross-training," he said.  Stewart is on the Australian Olympic team preparing for the London Games.

And in the end...

Mocke had left himself too much work to do to catch Cotter on the final stretch of downwind from Angel Island to the finish. "Jeremy had a fantastic race," he said, "definitely deserves the win. I messed it up a little bit, but hey, that's racing!"

Cotter was well pleased with the result - especially after his disastrous tour to Spain where a 24 hour stomach bug knocked him out of contention.  

"Going out in the current was horrible," he said. "You had to watch the current constantly.  Coming back was great though!"

He confirmed that he'd put the hammer down after passing under the bridge on the way back.  "From Angel Island, it was great," he said. "It's nice finally to win one of these things!"

Jeremy Cotter

Dawid Mocke battles to catch Jeremy Cotter on the final stretch to the finish (Pic: Lesley Brown)

Jeremy Cotter

Jeremy Cotter - 2009 US Surfski Champion (Pic: Lesley Brown)

Dawid Mocke

Dawid Mocke paddles to second place (Pic: Eric Nguyen)

Pics by Barbara Kossy


Pics by Eric Nguyen


Pics by Lesley Brown


Results - US Surfski Championships 2009

Rank Bib# Name   Time Boat Make
1 2 Jeremy Cotter 01:53:23 Fenn Elite
2 1 Dawid Mocke 01:54:01 Fenn Elite
3 5 Dean Gardiner 01:54:42 Fenn Elite
4 4 Caine Eckstein 01:55:00 Fenn Elite
5 3 Murray Stewart 01:56:08 Fenn Elite
6 9 Sean Rice 01:56:19 Think Uno
7 6 Barry Lewin 01:57:13 Synergy
8 17 Tony Shumaker 01:57:55 Think Uno
9 27 Michael Locke 01:59:32 Fenn Elite
10 7 Reece Baker 02:01:04 Fenn Elite
11 38 Ian Timbrell 02:04:47 Fenn Elite
12 12 Adam McKane 02:05:21 Fenn Elite
13 21 Noah Hawke 02:05:44 Fenn Elite
14 8 Greg Barton 02:05:47 Epic V12
15 13 Patrick Hemmens 02:06:03 Fenn Elite
16 14 Carter Johnson 02:06:46 Huki Special
17 41 Darren Lee 02:07:26 Huki Special
18 99 Philippe Baccora 02:08:21 Huki Special
19 10 Rami Zur 02:08:44 Fenn Elite
20 16 Gareth Tudor-Jones 02:09:00 Epic V10
21 20 Mark Sandvold 02:09:07 Epic V12
22 42 Naomi Flood 02:09:36 Fenn Mako 6
23 18 Donald Kiesling 02:09:58 Epic
24 31 Stewart O'Regan 02:12:01 Think Uno
25 33 Robin Graham 02:12:17 Fenn Mako 6
26 85 Sean Morley 02:14:03 Huki S1X
27 30 Gary David 02:14:23 Fenn Mako 6
28 104 Justin Banfield 02:14:50  
29 11 Ian MacKenzie 02:15:01 Epic V12
30 15 Erik Borgnes 02:15:05 Think Uno
31 79 Dion Maxwell 02:15:36 Think Uon
32 28 Tony Calderon 02:15:50 Huki Special
33 103 Mike Litter 02:16:07 Fenn Elite
34 91 Jeff Smoke 02:16:13 Fenn
35 92 Richard Sprout 02:16:17 Synergy
36 83 Cliff Meidl 02:16:29 Fenn Elite
37 48 Barry Borm 02:16:37 Fenn Elite
38 72 Brian Kummer 02:16:51 Fenn
39 98 Tommy Yonley 02:16:59 Huki Special
40 32 Corry Fitzgibbons 02:17:06 Fenn Elite
41 39 Bernadette Wallace 02:17:38 Fenn Mako 6
42 45 Morris Arthur 02:18:22 Huki Special
43 29 Mike McNulty 02:18:32 Huki Special
44 24 Kenny Howell 02:18:33 Epic V12
45 19 Joe Glickman 02:19:27 Epic V10
46 67 David Jacobson 02:20:32 Fenn Elite
47 77 Jerry Merayo 02:20:48 Fenn Elite
48 88 Daryl Remmler 02:21:17 Think Evo
49 78 Paul Martin 02:21:34 Fenn Mako 6
50 102 Tyler Morgan 02:21:36 Synergy
51 87 Bob Putnam 02:21:56 Epic V10
52 23 Craig Tanner 02:22:20 Huki Special
53 40 Jo Bridgen Jones 02:23:53 Fenn Mako 6
54 51 Kirk Christensen 02:23:59 Huki
55 94 Dylan Thomas 02:25:12 Red 7
56 47 Shane Bell 02:25:37 Epic V10
57 73 Bob Lambrose 02:25:43 Huki Special
58 81 Craig McMannis 02:28:00 Huki Special
59 35 DeAnne Hemmens 02:28:11 Fenn XT
60 68 Dean Jordaan 02:28:38 Fenn Mako 6
61 56 John Dye 02:28:44 Fenn Mako 5
62 24 John Abrahams 02:31:31 Think Uno
63 36 Rusty Sage 02:32:28 Epic V10
64 49 Vineet Buch 02:32:48 Fenn Elite
65 43 Christina Couch 02:33:01 Fenn Mako 6
66 74 Cory Lancaster 02:34:05 Epic V10 L
67 60 Nick Hanoian 02:34:37 Epic V10
68 75 Tracy Landboe 02:35:17 Epic V10 L
69 50 Tim Burke 02:35:19 Epic V10
70 37 Warren Bruce 02:35:35 Epic V10 Sport
71 80 Alex McLain 02:35:43 Huki Special
72 54 Chris Dobrovolny 02:36:46 Think Evo
73 101 Olaf Beckmann 02:39:26 Epic
74 69 Steve Kaspar 02:39:29 Epic
75 46 Kirk Atwater 02:40:08  
76 90 Mike Singleton 02:42:27 Think Evo
77 52 Kevin Cullinan 02:42:46 Huki Special
78 57 Larry Goolsby 02:43:46 Huki S1R
79 61 Jeff Hegedus 02:45:18 Epic V10
80 105 Jay Wild 02:47:26  
81 64 Rod Hope 02:48:59 Think
82 76 Deon Lourens 02:50:22 Epic V10
83 55 Reivers Dustin 02:50:33 Huki Special
84 100 Corky Armstrong 02:50:43 Think
85 86 Kathleen Petereit 02:54:28 Huki S1R
86 95 Tony Van Buuren 02:54:59 Huki S1X
87 96 Ed Visser 02:56:50 Fenn XT
88 93 Robbie Stewart 02:57:35 Fenn XT
89 63 Jim Hoffman 02:57:45 Fenn XT
90 70 Tom Kerr 02:58:12 Fenn XT
91 26 Gordon Burns DNF  
92 44 Krisztina Fazekas DNF  
93 53 Steve DelGaudia DNF  
94 58 Mike Gregory DNF Huki
95 65 Andy Howell DNF  
96 66 Paul Jacob DNF Epic V10
97 82 Eric McNett DNF Huki

Summary - Women

  1. Naomi Flood 2:09:36
  2. Bernadette Wallace 2:17:38
  3. Jo Bridgen Jones 2:23:53
  4. DeAnne Hemmens 2:28:11


Results - US Surfski Championships 2009 Short Course

Rank Bib# Name   Location Time
1 186 Mark Huetter Del Mar, California 00:58:38
2 178 Peter Marcus Bellingham, Washington 00:59:01
3 173 Jeff Schwing Oakland, California 01:00:07
4 155 Dan Coupland San Carlos, California 01:00:17
5 182 Benjamin Serrazin Sausalito, California 01:00:37
6 158 Eva Mauck Newport Beach, California 01:00:52
7 162 Bruce Fincher Ventura, California 01:01:21
8 71 Thadius King Montecito, California 01:01:51
9 172 Pete Rudnick Pleasanton, California 01:02:18
10 169 Jim Nurse Pleasanton, California 01:02:20
11 187 Keith Keillor San Diego, California 01:02:40
12 151 Jude Turczynski West Sacramento, California 01:03:20
13 153 Kyle Tsuye Elk Grove, California 01:04:21
14 156 Roger Dun Mountain View, California 01:04:25
15 157 Scott Kelly Hayward, California 01:05:22
16 171 Misha Riszkiewicz Sebastopol, California 01:05:42
17 160 Craig Courtney Fairfield, California 01:05:46
18 161 Beth Dressel Costa Mesa, California 01:05:59
19 181 John Weed Placerville, California 01:06:17
20 166 Andrew Losli Hillsboro, Oregon 01:06:37
21 184 Duncan Burns Tarzana, California 01:06:49
22 174 Mike Staninec Sausalito, California 01:07:25
23 175 Matt Tager Redwood City, California 01:08:07
24 170 Patrick Pruitt Santa Rosa, California 01:08:11
25 164 Danny Hough Huntington Beach, California 01:08:56
26 179 Sergey Lipovetsky Pacific Grove, California 01:09:14
27 177 Edgar Butts Vallejo, California 01:09:31
28 183 Tom Kellerman Morro Bay, California 01:10:09
29 176 Debbie Arthur Bellingham, Washington 01:10:47
30 167 Ariel McNett Topsham, Maine 01:11:38
31 159 Patrick Campbell Glen Ellen, California 01:14:05
32 168 Eric Neumann Belmont, California 01:20:44
33 163 John Hofman Folsom, California 01:25:44
34 185 Tom Zappas Rocklin, California DNF

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