Strong Finishes for Casper Steinfath and Team Naish at Pacific Paddle Games 2015

Strong Finishes for Casper Steinfath and Team Naish at Pacific Paddle Games 2015

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October 10 – 11, 2015, Dana Point, CaliforniaIt was a wild Pacific Paddle Games event this weekend, full of carnage and heated competition, as 250 elite paddlers took to the water for a series of technical sprints and long distance racing at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California. The most exciting result of the day was by Naish team rider Casper Steinfath, who seized a well-earned second place overall with his Naish Javelin Maliko 12’6” X24 LE racing board. Next came fellow team rider Kody Kerbox, on a Javelin Maliko 14’0” X24 LE board, who placed third in the final sprints, filling the 6th spot overall. Representing the junior members of the Naish Team, Annie Reickert earned a second place win for the women while Riggs Napoleon took the championship title for the Junior Pro Men’s division.

The Pacific Paddle Games, once named the Battle of the Paddle, has historically drawn the best paddlers from around the world to battle it out at this highly sought-after title event. Prepping all year long, competitors meet with great anticipation, excitement and determination to put their top of the line equipment and a year of rigorous training to the test.

The long distance race proved to be a bit tricky, as the lead pack shifted every few minutes. As Casper explains, “The air was hot—thanks to the Santa Ana desert winds—and the ocean conditions were flat, so it really came down to who could save energy for the last section of the race where the waves would come into play.” Upon rounding the last buoy, it was a race to the finish with top competitors looking to catch a good wave in and hold their position at the head of the pack. Paddling among the top three, Casper secured his spot, sprinting up the beach to finish in third.

The high intensity technical race was a two-mile course full of buoy turns and waves. Reflecting on the excitement, Casper recaps: “The stand out moment for me, in the finals, was during the first lap when a set of waves compressed 23 of the 30 racers onto the same wave! It was like pure survival trying to navigate this roller coaster of chaos. Never have I felt so much adrenalin course through my body when passing in and out through the surf!” In the end, Casper earned second place in the technical race, outsprinting fellow Naish teammate Kody Kerbox, who also delivered a standout performance, taking the third place spot in sprints and marking a significant accomplishment for the local Maui paddler.

After scoring second in the final technical sprints and third in the final long distance race, Casper jumped to second place overall—one of the biggest achievements of his career. Casper chose to ride a new Javelin Maliko 12’6” X24 LE board instead of a 14’0”—the length used most by other competitors—in order to have better maneuverability while surfing and paddling around buoy turns. This was a strategic choice on Casper’s part. Though longer boards typically perform faster, Casper was looking for increased maneuverability to gain him the edge. He explains, “If there is one thing I can take with me from this weekend it would be the lesson of how important it is to take a step back and ask yourself which board is best suited for the conditions of the day and your own personal skill level. I definitely know what I will be riding in my next technical wave race.”

The junior teammates also proved to be strong competitors. Riggs Napoleon proved resilient in the men’s division, earning first place and the title of Junior Pro Men’s Champion. Annie Reickert, who raced in the junior women’s division, joined the competition at the last minute using a borrowed Naish Javelin Maliko LE board from Casper. Annie secured the second place win overall in her division and is looking forward to racing again next year. With excitement, she describes: “It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a race board. The competition was tough some of the best junior paddlers from around the world.”

Get more details on the Javelin Maliko LE HERE»

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Casper Steinfath
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Kody Kerbox
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