Hero of the Day

 In Events, Surf
The Golden Games is one of the many whitewater SUP events in the state of Colorado but it’s the very first one of the season. Colorado had a serious cold snap come through which caused our river levels to drop leaving the conditions for the Games less than ideal. But the beautiful thing about our community is they know how to make the best out of just about any situation. Claire Chappell reminds us that when features change sometimes our board choice has to change along with it. Congratulations to Claire and Miles Harvey for winning the surf comp and Bodhi Harrison for taking 1st in the SUP Cross. The season is off to a great start here in Colorado.
‘Hero of the Day’

To be honest, I’ve always been a bit of a hard-board snob. It’s what I learned on and it’s what I’m comfortable on. I’ll admit, I’ve said “no thanks” to friends many times when they’ve offered to let me surf their inflatables.
Enter the 2017 Golden Games surf comp. I arrived the night before to practice on the wave. The water wasn’t particularly high and a wave that I knew could at times be fast, floaty and easy to carve on, was actually really really tough; narrow, steep on one side, flushy on the other and with a huge shallow boulder just begging for some of your skin on the surfer’s right side. I was practicing with accomplished paddlers and we were all struggling just to make clean carves, let alone try for any tricks. I blamed the poor session partially on the 38 degree water and 39 degree air temps and left hoping I’d improve the next day.
The comp-day morning warmup brought an equally unfortunate and somewhat comforting reality; even Miles Harvey wasn’t dialing this wave. Other trick-wielding shredders like Bodhi Harrison and Ben Smith were also having trouble doing their usual graceful moves. Instead of jumping in the water to practice, I went hunting…for an inflatable. I found an Inflatable River Surfer to borrow and got back just in time to take a couple quick runs at the wave before the Women’s comp began. I was blown away and so glad I had switched. The IRS performed exactly like I needed it to.
It’s lightness and buoyancy helped me save energy. My back leg didn’t have to work hard to keep the nose up and turning. The mellow edges helped too, after a few tries, I was finally completing carves on both the steep side and the flushy side. The length was perfect, long enough to stay in the wave but short enough to feel sporty and not pearl. I was even able to go for Ollies and some long lay-back braces with the board almost at a 90 degree grind, despite the steep angled seam on the left of the wave.
The other women in the comp used inflatables too and had similarly good rides for such a tricky little feature. Sure enough, as the Men got started, I noticed more and more of them asking around for inflatables. The competition took on a different face once surfers were able to stay in the wave and start slowly enhancing their bag of tricks as they learned the balance between the board, the wave and their bodies. It was cool to see how far people could push this combination. I saw some enormous carves with most of the board out of the water. I saw shove-its and spins. This frustrating water level was turned into a really fun SUP Surf competition.

The IRS was the hero of the day, and claimed two first places and a second place to prove it. There are so many different wave shapes out there but now I know I want an IRS in my quiver and it’s a board I will be getting to know more in the future.

Highlight video from the weekends SUP Cross by Bodhi Harrison.
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