What an incredible event! So many amazing paddlers of all ages from around the world descended upon Deheny Beach in Dana Point, CA, for the inaugural Pacific Paddle Games 2015, October 10-11.
I went to the games as a volunteer/spectator to help out and watch the games in-person – and it was such a memorable time! I have been in this sport as a recreation race paddler for five years and started following many of the elite paddlers within the past few years. What humble athletes they are, is all I can say. Most of them I follow on their instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts so I haven’t had the chance to meet most of them until I attended the games.
I went out there with my home team from Capital SUP in Annapolis, MD. During the games I ran into and got to collaborate with my buddy John Beausang who runs Distressed Mullet, brushed elbows with so many elite paddlers/surfers like Danny Ching, Mo Freitas, Jeramie Vaine, Travis Grant, Chuck Patterson, Candice Appleby, Fiona Wilde, and my personal fav Annabel Anderson from New Zealand. The list goes on and on – there were so many amazing athletes there! Getting the chance to meet these athletes was a humbling experience, they are all so down to earth and friendly!
What can I say about the venue as a volunteer is that I met some great people, the catered food was amazing and the demo/vendor area was beyond my expectations. I got to work in the Command Center and help out the crew there as well as work in the merchandise tent which was pretty cool and it gave me a chance to help out SUP the mag.
As a spectator, the races and sprints were so exciting to watch! The SUP groms poured their hearts out with grit and determination in big wave sets during their races – which was pretty amazing to see.
Watching the elite racers give it their all with fun party waves, grinding buoy turns and epic beach finishes was awe inspiring to see first hand. These amazing athletes are battling for points, placement, and money – all of which help them advance to standings in their careers as professional SUP athletes.
If you are like me, not at that elite race level, but want to be part of the inside action, I highly recommend volunteering to help at the next PPG. There are so many opportunities to be part of the games, join in on the excitement, and a chance to meet your favorite athletes at this venue.
The games were MC’d by Dreu Murin, who was quite funny and such a great MC! He knows the sport, the athletes, and the technical terms – clearly the greatest choice of MCs – hope the hear him on the big voice at more events!
I especially liked that they mentioned the military and that they give their full support of the military in the area, that was very nice to hear!
See you at the next PPG! Cheers, Sandra
P.S. Please feel free to download any imagery you are interested in from the gallery, photo credit is all I ask – Thanks! (Photo by Sandra Niedzwiecki)