Ventura Waveski Nationals 2012

Ventura Paddle Surfing Championships

Day 1

For me, the 2012 Ventura Waveski Nationals started out with an awesome deal on a lodging. I found this place, the Viking Motel, that was about 10 minutes from the break. Full kitchen, big bed and cheap rate. Solid deal and a really nice guy who owned the place.

This was my first time competing on a Waveski. I have done plenty of competitions in a surf kayak, but never a ski. Honestly, I still wear a leash because I’m not super comfortable rolling the ski. I knew I was going to have plenty of competition going into the contest but with my competitive nature, I just wanted to place as high as I could. I’ve really enjoyed the wave at C-Street before and I was really looking forward to getting on a real consistent cobblestone break.

My first heat was with Mathieu Babarit. What is funny, is that I had totally joked about that happening. That I would either have Tyler or Mathieu in my first heat. I did my best to hold my own and got some decent rides and took a second place. Something that I noticed was that the belt anchors dug in a bit more. I have never noticed them in a 4mm suit. Oh southern California, how warm your water is! Absolutely love the  2mm shortsleeved full suit that I wore for the comp. Perfect for the ski in warm water and perfect as a base in cold water in the boat.

That first heat was really relaxed. We were out there shooting the shit and trading off waves fairly casually. I was not prepared for my second  heat with Blair. Totally different vibe, that guy is real intense. I ended up being just not in a good head space and barely caught my couple of waves. I scored a 3rd place and was out of the Waveski Open. Oh well, the surf was warm and that was a nice treat.

Something I really enjoyed about this contest was how close everything was. It was a short paddle to get out to the break. It was a very short drive to the contest site and it was an even shorter walk to go an get some good food. I had been craving sushi and we found this awesome place just down the street from the hotel. It took all of five minutes to walk there. Good quality fish and nice service.

Day 2

Ventura was an interesting day two. I had my age division waveski heat and then immediately after that was my kayak heat. I have had heats stacked together before, but that is something that you never really look forward to.  My waveski heat had just Jason and I in it. There was supposed to be some other guy, COUGHTYLERCOUGH, but he decided that he was going to save his energy for the finals. We were joking out on the water that the heat was like any other day out at Moss because the waves were breaking so similar. I had ended up with two real big top turns that I was a bit surprised I landed the drop back onto the wave and decided to head in early, I think it was very shortly after the five minute horn had sounded.

Photo by: Mickey StowellEven with bailing early I still was about 3 minutes late to the kayak heat. I could really feel the transition. I can tell I feel more at home in a surf kayak than a waveski and charged out as quick as I could. I wasn’t really too sure where to set up for this heat. Even though I had just surfed a heat minutes before, it felt like conditions had changed. I could either try to get the wave breaking right that came off the northern flag, which was not very consistent, or get the more consistent smaller right closer to the southern flag. I didn’t like going for the southern flag because it led more into a rock pile and got me much closer to the SUP site than I would like. So, I moved around a lot and got a few decent waves. I was hunting for sections to do anything off the lip and just could not find any. I had to settle for smaller peelers that I could tear into.

Photo by: Mickey Stowell

When the spray was settled, I ended up winning my age division in Waveski. I was surprised that I beat Jason. He has, after all, been paddling a ski much longer than me. I took second to Jim in Kayak. He was able to find that section to hit that I had been searching for. I wasn’t entirely sure how well I was going to be scored and was a bit disappointed in my results. One of these days I’ll get you Jim! Photo by: Mickey Stowell After the contest was over I went back out surfing with a newbie surf buddy I dragged along for the contest and stayed in the water for a a couple of hours. Everything was packed up and everybody was gone by the time we got out. A real nice friendly vibe/break with warm surf. I absolutely enjoy the venue that this competition is held at and I applaud Brian for putting it on. Although, to be frank, the entry fee for kayaks is a bit steep. We only got to surf ONE heat. With that being said, I will likely be at this competition again because I enjoy the venue so much. The next competition is the Davenport Classic. That is almost a home break for me and a wave I know quite well. I am hoping that we get some swell in the next few weeks that I can practice and train on. If not, I’ll have to work with flat-water paddling to make sure I am in shape. Here’s to Fall for being swell abundant!