Report #3 – World Surf Kayak Championships, Portugal

by Spencer on July 25, 2009

Okay, settle down now, she isn’t real.  I should have known better.  I’d like to think that she was carved from a single pillar of stone a hundred years ago by the first surfers.  Perhaps they used their surfboards to paddle out and catch fish with hand-lines outside the surf break.  Later they would bring their bountiful sea harvest back to hundreds of hungry villagers by heroically surfing the pounding beach break with a net full of Tuna and Dorado in one hand and the other hand dragging the face of the wave, just for style of course.  That’s a good story, is it not?  Let’s just leave it at that instead of me telling you that she’s plastic and they put her up there two days ago with a huge crane.

Her lady enjoying the sunset and moonrise.

Her lady enjoying the sunset and moonrise. She looks glorious in the twilight.

Opening ceremonies commenced after dark and consisted of a social event with each of the represented countries displaying their national flag.

Anthony Bell and Andy Gates flying our colors at the opening ceremony.

Anthony Bell and Andy Gates flying our colors at the opening ceremony.

The Japanese seem like a very nice group and have arrived with their own, new brand of surf kayaks called Water Field.  They are looking really skilled out on the waves.

Team Japan at the opening ceremony.

Team Japan at the opening ceremony.

Santa Cruz and all the surrounding towns are absolutely littered with advertising of all kinds for this event.

Ocean Spirit Bilboard displaying Kayak Surfing, and other surf sports.

Ocean Spirit Bilboard displaying Kayak Surfing, and other surf sports.

The tradition for the US East is to have a team dinner the night before the competition begins.  Anthony Bell, our Team Captain, invited us all up to his room for a feast.

E....A.....S....T... East Coast!  Anthony bell says hi.

E....A.....S....T... East Coast! Anthony bell says hi.

Back to the beach this morning and the competition is finally begun.

Local vegetation enjoys sandy soil.

Local vegetation enjoying some sandy soil.

Five of our team members competed today in the individual events and they have all advanced to the next round.  Competition heats are seeded based on your national and world ranking.  You compete in a 15 minute heat against three other paddlers.  Basically, you are judged on Wave Selection, Style and Length of Ride.  Top two placers in each heat advance to the next round.  I myself and four other teammates will not compete until tomorrow.  Visit http://ESKAsurf.com for more detailed competition results of the full team.

Low tide exposes a few rocks and barnacles.

Low tide exposes a few rocks and barnacles.

Today’s contest was pretty grueling with gusty winds and a low tide that made for steep, dumping waves.  Our guys and one girl toughed it out with three 2nd places and two 1sts, advancing all of them to the next round.

Joey, filming for the next INTERFERENCE film?

Joey Hall, filming for the next INTERFERENCE film?

Joey and I captured a decent amount of video footage and plan to put a short film together when we return home.  Look for that on RapidTransitVideo.com and InterferenceSurf.com

Anthony and Matt meet Tom after a tough competition heat.

Anthony and Matt meet Tom after a tough competition heat.

Typically we meet one another at the surf’s edge before and after heats.  This keeps morale high, and it’s always nice to have someone carry your boat after you’ve just exerted yourself physically for 15 minutes.

They didn't even notice me taking their photo.

The people here are very small and fragile. Just look at the size of their arms compared to my gigantic thumb.

I haven’t eaten the snails yet but apparently they are delicious.  I’ll provide a meal report when it improves beyond the oatmeal and spaghetti we have been making in our room.

Thanks again and please come back tomorrow for another report,

Spencer Cooke, US East Surf Kayak Team 2009

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

derwood July 27, 2009 at 2:32 pm

rusty is acting up again, had to put him in time out…get home from portugal cause u need to take care of rusty better. please show us your new hats too.

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