Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle

Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA

SUP with Diabetes is an inspirational blog where I share my stories and adventures with Type1 diabetes and Stand up Paddle boarding (SUP). I am trying to beat the odds and turn my diagnosis and passion for SUP racing and surfing into a platform.  As a Type1 diabetic, an Elite and top age group SUP racer I am hoping to inspire and motivate others facing obstacles in their own lives, and too help the world understand diabetes.
This past weekend I competed as an Elite paddler and an age-grouper in what the SUP community considers the premier SUP racing event of the year, the 2011 Rainbow Sandals Jerry Lopez California Battle of the Paddle.

The fourth annual Battle of the Paddle in Dana Point, CA, held on Sept. 24-25, brought out the best Stand Up Paddlers in the world. The extremely competitive races drew approximately 1,000 competitors, who chased the $25,000 prize purse, as well as thousands of local spectators. The weekend’s events were broken into multiple divisions and race types, including elite, long distance, age group races and SUP surf relays.
Thousands of spectators gathered along the shore to watch the Battle of the Paddle.

From North to South the beach was packed!

My first race was the Elite race - heat 1, with only the top half of the 80 or so racers advancing to the Elite finals.
I knew I could paddle the distance without any problem, it’s the speed and intensity of the race that I had to pay attention to. My blood glucose level was about 180, thirty minutes before the start so just about five minutes from the star I drank a bottle of Hint Water combined with a carbohydrate supplement, "good to go".
I got caught up in traffic and never recovered, stayed pretty much in the middle of the pack the whole time.

After a couple of super crazy buoy turns and some massive carnage in the waves and on the beach, I was paddling hard and determined to leave it all on the water.

My blood sugars  would not be an issue due to the short distance short distance . But they could become a factor due to the extra excitement, adrenaline, chaos and the flat out speed of Battle of the Paddle.

The crazy board to beach transition, boards flying, thousands of people screaming, some of the most fun I've had in a while. At this very moment I'm living!
In the end I finished in the middle of the pack and would not advance to the Elite finals.
I grabbed my board and began to prepare for the Open Age group race. My blood glucose was at about 150, I needed to eat so I had a snack and took around 3 – units. With 2 hours until the start I knew I would peak just before. So just prior to the race I tested and was around 120. So I drank another bottle of Hint Water and carbohydrate supplement and ate a Cliff bar.
The start of the Open Age Group race.
I'm feeling great and had a great start.
The bouy turns in the Open race were wild, alot of different paddlers to deal with.
No waves on the way in.

Just about to the beach and the finish.

Jay "Sparky" Longley, Paul Zacharias and Jerry Lopez
2nd Place in the Open Age-Group Race SUP Stk. 40-49 Mens division.

Age Group SUP Individual Results - Stock M40-49

Erik Nordskog of OnIt Pro after my race. Thanks to Erik and OnIt Pro for hooking my board up with Xtreme Cream And Blue goo, its working great I feel like I am flying through the water.

The start of the Elite race.
Just over 80 paddlers who advanced from the earlier heats line up for the start of the
2011 Battle of the Paddle
The start of the race.
This is about thirty seconds after the start. These guys are flying.

This is a great shot from the water at the start.
The carnage and mahem that took place at a few of the bouy turns was off the charts!

Here a wave breaks just as the middle pack is coming around the bouy.
Boards crashing and people flying into the water, this is racing!
Chain reaction!
 Racers and boards handelers.
The run up the sand and through the flagged area.
At the finish Conner Baxter, Jamie Mitchell and Danny Ching.
The Elite awards cerimony.
Elite Race Results:

Jerry Bess, Fernando Stalla and Giordano Capparella.
Jerry Lopez
Paul Zacharias and Jamie Mitchell rockin' the Kaenon Sunglasses.
Jimmy Terrell and Paul Zacharias
The girls of "Lazy Dogs", from Key West.
Hanging with Sandy of the "Lazy Dogs'.
Start of the Distance race on Sunday.
Water start and their off!
10 Miles of fun!
Danny Ching 1st Unlimited
Dave Bohene, Chance Feilder and Slater Trout un-official 2nd place. These guys were playing around on a new board designed for three paddlers, they were named most inspirational.
Perfect way to end the day....
I met so many interesting people and had the time of my life. I learned a lot during my first attempt at the battle of the Paddle and will try to capitalize on the lessons so that next year I will do better.
Thanks to God, all my sponsors and friends and to Rainbow Sandals and Jerry Lopez for an amazing weekend of Stand Up Paddle racing.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 Hennessy's World SUP and Paddleboard Championships

Hermosa Beach, California - Saturday, September 17, 2011
Over 150 of the world’s best paddlers arrived in Hermosa Beach this past weekend to compete in the World SUP and Paddleboard Championships, the event attracted thousands of spectators who packed the Hermosa Beach pier. And amazingly enough I was one of those paddlers. I had qualified earlier in the year at one of the World Paddle Association sanctioned races; actually it was during the U.S. Championships this past summer.

It was overcast and a little windy with somewhat choppy seas by the time the race started and there was just enough surf to keep it interesting.

Lots of folks from the SUP industry were there.

Lots of spectators.

It was to be a 7 mile course with a beach start and a beach finish; it actually turned out to be just shy at 6.8 miles.

Races are won and lost at the start.

When you race as with most things in life, you try and get off to a good start. If you don’t, you will basically be playing catch-up the entire time. In paddling a bad start can cost you seconds which can easily turn into minutes.

As the start of the race approaches you need to keep all of your focus on what your about to do and stick with your plan. Your goal is to get up on your board and moving at full speed as soon as possible. If you hesitate or fail to do this the other competitors that paddle at the same speed as you will create a gap that you more than likely will not be able to make up.

This was the case with my start at the race on Saturday. I floundered at the start and it cost me a couple of spots at the finish. Oh well, there’s always next time.

Other than a poor start and maybe my less than stellar finish in the surf, I had a really good race and felt strong throughout. My blood sugars were perfect and so I really can’t complain.

I feel absolutely blessed to have competed in a race with a group of the world’s top ranked Stand Up Paddlers.

I thought that I might be able to be some what competetive in this sport when I started back in January of this year, but I had no idea that I would be competing in the world championships. Like I’ve said before, “I guess God has a plan”.

Here is the link to the results.

I finished 27thoverall in the SUP Stk. Class and 7th in my age group.

Preparation is key is the key to success; I have put in a lot of time on the water in the last 9 months or so but feel that I failed to maximize my potential as an athlete. There are a number of things that I need to do in the upcoming months leading into next year’s racing season.
One key component to my continued success would be to design an individualized program, with specific attention in regards to my diet and of course to set goals related to performance and habits.
Goal setting would be critical to my future success, as would be continuing to work towards them. Setting goals can provide motivation, direction and assist in progressing forward.

Having someone to assist me and to help me with devising the best plan for training would be key to improving. With someone else helping with my training it’s more likely that I will work on specific weaknesses and my overall performance. The structure of an individualized training program will also decrease my risk for injury.
Getting out on the water immediately after a race and working on the areas in which I failed or struggled with during the competition.
Learning from my mistakes and practicing to let them go and to move on, focusing on the things that I did successfully in order to maintain an elite level of performance.
Continued pursuit of mental focus, increasing the time I spend on training my mind, visualizing my success prior to my competitions.
These are some of the things that will help me to become a better Stand Up Paddle racer and would help anyone pursuing any number of things in their lives in which they to desire to do.

Sunset in Hermosa Beach, Aloha!

Thanks again to all my sponsors!