Dana Point, Ca – The 2009 Rainbow Sandals / Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle proved to be the years most spectacular event in the fast growing sport of Stand Up Paddle Racing. The challenging elite race with four of the buoy roundings placed inside the surf break combined with consistent shoulder to head high sets pumping through the course and 110 of the worlds fastest paddlers battling for $25,000 in prize money, all made for a nail biting event that had the crowd cheering and gasping. The most talked about competitor of the Elite Men’s Division was fourteen year old, Slater Trout who managed to stay in the top three slots the entire race. Beating all but one of the world’s fastest paddlers (Jamie Mitchel of Australia) Trout claimed a solid second place finish and proved to all in attendance that he has a very bright future in the sport.
Below is an interview with this inspiring athlete.
GG: I heard some people compare the 2009 Battle of the Paddle to a motocross race. What did you think of this year’s course and conditions?
ST: It was the best course I have ever done because it was in and out through the surf four times which made it fun, exciting, scary and nerve racking at times. The conditions were perfect for the race, could not have been better.
GG: What was the most exciting part of the race for you?
ST: The most exciting part was when I realized that I had second place in the bag. I caught a wave on the last buoy turn and that is when it hit me.
GG: Did you have a particular strategy for the race?
I wanted to have a great start and catch every wave that came my way.
GG: How long have you been surfing and doing Stand Up?
ST:I got on my first surfboard at age four when my Dad pushed me into a wave on a soft top longboard. I have been doing stand up for about two and a half years.
GG: What has your training regimen been like since last year?
ST: It’s been really intense a lot of weight lifting, paddling, running and swimming. I really want to thank my Uncle Wes who helped me so much with training. He worked out my whole weight program and really took time with me.
GG: What music did you listen to during the race?
ST: I put together a race playlist and I was listening to all sorts of songs. The last song that I was listening to was the Black Eyed Peas, then I got hit by a set on the third lap and it ripped my shuffle off so that was the end of my music for the day!
GG: What event are you looking forward to next?
ST: I am looking forward to some wave riding this winter and hopefully doing the Kui Ikaika Big Wave challenge at Makaha, we’ll see.
GG: What do you like best about SUP?
ST: I like that it is something new and exciting to surfing (although it has a rich history in Hawaiian culture) and that you can take it anywhere there is water.
GG: What would tell other people your age that are thinking about trying the sport?
ST: For anyone who wants to try it I would say keep at it, practice until you get it and feel comfortable on the board, don’t give up, and be respectful to the surfers and know the etiquette when you are ready for waves.
GG: Surfing, SUP surfing or racing…..which do you prefer?
ST: I love them all but if I had to choose it would be SUP surfing.
GG: What are a couple of your favorite things to do when you are not in the water?
ST: I really like to work out and do dry land training, dirt biking with friends, hanging out and cruising with buddies.
GG: Any big goals for the future?
ST: I am already looking forward to next year and have already started training for next years Battle!!!
A huge congratulations to Slater Trout on behalf of everyone at C4 Waterman, Pohaku Paddles and Boardworks Surf and a giant thankyou!!! to Sparky and Barrett of Rainbow Sandals and Gerry Lopez for putting on a spectacular and unforgettable event.
Written by Gretchen Gamble, Marketing Director, Boardworks Surf
Boardworks Surf is the US Distributor for Pohaku Paddles and manufacturer and worldwide distributor of over 100 models of surfboards SUPs and paddle boards designed by some of the worlds best shapers and brands including C4 Waterman, Bill Stewart, Ben Aipa, Mike Hynson and many others. For more information visit www.boardworkssurf.com or www.c4waterman.com
To see the full race results for the 2009 Battle of the Paddle go to www.rainbowsandals.com/battleofthepaddle/