October 10-11, 2015
Doheny State Beach, CA
We were honored when The Enthusiast Network (TEN) approached us to head up the live broadcast for the inaugural Pacific Paddle Games at Doheny State Beach. This was a brand new event taking place at the West Coast epicenter of SUP with the fiercest paddlers in the world so we knew we had to go all out to make this a flawless show. It paid off.
After the long-running SUP contest known as Battle of the Paddle was cancelled, a void was left at Doheny State Beach and paddlers from around the world were left hungry for an arena to test their mettle. Luckily for paddlers and fans everywhere, The Enthusiast Network stepped up and created a Grade A event with a very tempting $55,000 prize purse. This wasn’t an ordinary contest – this was an event. There were board demos, booths, seminars and giveaways to keep people busy all day while they weren’t watching the action in the water. And there was plenty of that!
The location of the contest, the spot once known as Killer Dana for it’s epic waves, had long ago ceased providing a reliably surfable wave after the construction of the Dana Point Harbor in 1966. Well, Neptune must’ve wanted a chuckle because the weekend of the flat water paddling contest he brought in some beautiful peeling waves to spice up the race. This definitely caught a lot of the paddlers off guard. Many of them had never even paddled in open ocean swells let alone chest high and offshore beach break. The paddlers with ocean experience definitely had an advantage and used every ounce of power from those juicy sets to move them faster, farther and with less effort. All this on boards over 12 feet and skinny as a rail. Not the easiest thing to surf even for experienced watermen/women.
As is the nature of competition, some old, some new and some surprising winners rose to the top and came to collect the admiration…and cash… that comes with winning a contest of this caliber. Casper Steinfath and Connor Baxter spent what felt like a lifetime waiting for the very, very close scores to be checked and tabulated, thrice, to determine the winner. After biting off all his nails, Baxter heard his name, hugged Steinfath and jumped on stage to claim his top spot. With this, our crew, tired but elated after long, hot and emotionally straining days, began the process of wrapping the set and coiling the cables that allowed this exciting event to reach the eyes and hearts of fans around the globe.