Report #5, 6 & almost 7 – World Surf Kayak Championships, Portugal

by Spencer on July 29, 2009

This update is covering the past three days.  Really it only covers the 27th, 28th and half of today, the 29th.  Things got really busy and I’ve been too tired.

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Santa Rita was breaking big on the 27th and has dropped in size over the past two days. Still we've had decent waves.

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Andy and Joey taking photos and video on the beach, below the feet of her highness.

The announcer at this World Championship event has been the highlight of each of our days on the beach.  He is a local surfer with a truly entertaining commentary on each and every moment.  He is informative and funny and I don’t know what more you can ask for.  We like him.  Without question, we will remember the following phrases for the rest of our kayak surfing careers.  Each phrase is followed by a translation for those watching at home.
1) Situation (status of competitors scores during a competition heat)
2) The heat is on. (the heat has begun)
3) The heat is off. (the heat has ended)
4) Dress and undress your t-shirts in front of the judges stand. (take your competition bib on and off in front of the judges)
5) Red, you are on 1st place. (other bib colors or places may be inserted here.  the phrase means “you are in 1st place”)
6) Lastly, the announcer has disclosed nearly all of Darren Basson’s life history.  (Darren is a highly decorated surf paddler from England and Australia, truly incredible to watch in the surf.)  If anyone needs his eye color, height, weight or credit card number just ask anyone who attended the championship.

This is me before I went out for HP Prelims.  Surf was large and heavy this day.  There were many swimmers due to blown sprayskirts.

This is me before I went out for HP Prelims. Surf was large and heavy this day. There were many swimmers due to blown sprayskirts. I did not swim but I did swallow a lot of water. Didn't surf badly necessarily but I also did not have the best competition strategy. More conservative next time perhaps.

Now, a personal update for all my friends and family back home.  Let me begin by saying I have been eliminated.  That’s about it.  Thanks for your support and sorry I don’t have better news.

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Tom May ripped the Grand Master's (50 and over) class in the prelims and we are anxious to see him in the next round.

My travel companion and teammate Joey Hall has however done very well for himself in the individual competition thus far.  He placed 1st in both his HP and IC heats and is awaiting the next round.  Further, we have several teammates who have advanced.  All but three of us are still in the game as of this minute.

Russ Buskirk making a remarkable comeback after an all out ass pounding (pardon the expression but there's no other way to describe it) in the shorebreak.  Russ surfed two waves and eliminated a very highly ranked paddler.

Russ Buskirk, a very tough 50 year old, made a remarkable comeback after an all out ass pounding (pardon the expression but there's no other way to describe it) in the shorebreak. Russ surfed two waves and eliminated a very highly ranked paddler.

A bit of good news is that our Team, US East, placed in the top 8 of the team event, making the Semi-Final round,  but I’m not sure if we have a chance to make finals unless the place 1st in every heat.  Based on the fact that I just left the beach about half way through semi-finals and we had posted three 4th places, one 3rd place and one 2nd place, it wasn’t looking too promising.  Maybe I’ll be presently surprised upon my return.

Our friends Naomi and Nathan.  That's Joey on the right but he's not our friend.

Our friends Naomi and Nathan. That's Joey on the right but he's not our friend.

If I haven’t already mentioned this, my teammates have been great fun and very supportive of one another, a great group of people to spend this time with.  As well, the other teams from abound have been cordial and excited to hang out and talk.  For the most part I see very friendly competitors out there.  I will beat myself up for my shortcomings during the competition despite the encouragement of my teammates.  This is just my competitive nature.  “Hey, you did great, don’t worry about it, you surfed well,” unfortunately does not console me when I lose so I just have to have time alone for it to soak in.  I am envious of my friends who easily brush off a loss and don’t seem to worry.  A song called COMPETITION by the Gorilla Biscuits summarizes my feelings fairly well.

Gorilla Biscuits "Start Today" released 1994

Gorilla Biscuits "Start Today" released 1994

Lyrics to “COMPETITION”

It seems that all successful things and all the envy that they bring
might not be worth it.
Being shot down every minute for the effort you put in and all the time that you’ve spent.
The key to success is the faith in knowing you’re right.
Memories of better days is what you’re holding onto,
when the critics loved you.
Competition has it’s way of bringing you down.
Always being number one, robs the music of it’s fun,
Ego trips get in the way of the goals we set.
Now the audience is split.
We’ve workd too hard to watch it ALL FADE AWAY.
Memories of better days is what you’re holding onto,
when the critics loved you.
Competition has it’s way of making you mad.
Why can’t you be glad…for me?
Well I know what competion means and all the feelings that it brings.
Friends that want to be on top, you’re on the list of the friends to drop.
Success is what I want to feel, it’s jealousy…and jealousy’s not true.
No it’s not true…at your expense.
In competition with you.

A couple more photos that I enjoyed taking.

Downtown Santa Cruz alive at midnight.

Downtown Santa Cruz alive at midnight.

Edu from Basque Country, Spain quietly awaits his next heat.

Edu from Basque Country, Spain quietly awaits his next heat.

After a couple hours I talked Andy down.  We were all glad he didn't jump.

After a couple hours I talked Andy down. We were all glad he didn't jump.

Some video is coming when we get home.  Sorry we haven’t had much time to edit each day because we are tired to say the least.  As before, you may see more detailed results for our team at http://ESKAsurf.com

And I leave you with a beautiful piece of literature from the Japanese Team.

Words to surf by.

Words to surf by.

Good day,

Reporting once again from Santa Come.  Santa is still not here.

Reporting once again from Santa Come. Santa is still not here. I miss my family.

Spencer Cooke
US East Surf Kayak Team 2009

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Drew Hayes July 29, 2009 at 9:32 am

With the caption “he’s not our friend” I feel like I’m right there with you guys. Thanks for the updates, photos, and future video.
Drew

Adam Motes July 29, 2009 at 9:53 am

Spencer,
Robert Ingersoll once said “The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” I know you and with that being said did you really lose? Hang in there bro, you accomplished a lot……enough to make me jealous and wish I were there…..even if I were too lose out in the 1st heat. Stop being so hard on yourself, you could be stuck in Chattanooga like me. Safe Travels……

keith wikle July 29, 2009 at 10:48 am

a bad day in the surf, beats the best day in the office. Trite, cliched, but how true?

I dream of being able to go to portugal to surf on a weekday.

Lap it up, because even if it is second hand bath water, it is still better than going thirsty!

Worth July 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Ummm, you are in Portugal kayak surfing in the worlds. Last I checked there were no “worlds” for remodeling a bathroom in Asheville. Even if there were they would probably be held in Canton or something. You are doing something great and fun and I can’t think of a better representative. Im proud.

Colm Acuff July 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Great, timely quote Adam.
Spencer, I think the life you lead, what you stand for, and against, and being a devoted father, husband and friend defines who you are the most. Enjoy the moment.

Mary Ann Auer July 30, 2009 at 8:40 am

Hey Spencer!

Thanks for for great updates. I’m sorry you are disappointed but we are very proud of you! I won’t “downplay” your disappointment, though. I know you gave it your best!

Blessings,
Mary Ann

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