Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz
17 March 2012
Becker Dominates Shootout while Vela and Appleby claim Surf & Sand Duel-athlon SUP Race Titles
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 March, 2012 : - - The weather forecast leading up to the 4th Annual Surftech Shootout and 2nd Annual Surf & Sand Duel-athlon SUP Race presented by SUP Magazine looked eerily similar to the intense storm conditions that plagued the event in 2011. Unfortunately the impending storm kept many competitors from making the trip to Santa Cruz last weekend. Fortunately the storm didn't live up to the hype and those in attendance experienced nearly epic conditions for the SUP race and Shootout surf events.
"Everything came together for this year's Shootout," commented Joe Carberry, SUP Magazine Editor. "We had plenty of swell, the winds stayed light and we even got some sunshine despite the storm that was forecasted. You could get some glides during the race and we were able to witness some amazing high-performance surfing. It was an awesome weekend."
When making the short trip from Santa Barbara up to Santa Cruz last weekend, Matt Becker simply wanted to improve upon his 8th place finish in the 2011 Shootout and retain his Surf & Sand Duel-athlon SUP Race title. "I drove up to Santa Cruz for the event because its one of the few events that features a race and an SUP surf contest in California," said Becker. "I enjoy events like this because I figure if I don't do well in the surfing event I'll have another chance to do well in the racing event, and vice-verse".
With a solid NW swell on offer, Becker seemed to consistently find himself is the right position to catch the best waves in his heats. Steamer Lane's long right-hand walls were a perfect fit for Matt's forehand attack as he unleashed his repertoire of cut-backs, fins-out snaps and floaters to easily advance through each round.
"The waves this weekend were all time, it was classic Steamer Lane. I love surfing the Lane, the inside Indicators section totally reminds me of my homebreak, Rincon," admitted Becker. "Which is one of the reasons I was able to pull off a win, because I was able to sift through the sets and find the waves that were going to connect all the way to the inside and have more scoring potential."
In the final, Becker was matched up with Anthony Vela (Redondo Beach, CA), Avery Dinauer (Bodega Bay, CA) and John Griffith (Santa Cruz, CA). Dinauer had some of the highest heat scores of the entire contest early on but came up short in the final, finishing in fourth place. Anthony Vela took advantage of the lefts that were firing off of Middle Peak to get himself into the final but couldn't find his rhythm and had to settle for third place. Local boy, John Griffith knows the Lane well and laid down smooth carves and stylish turns to finish runner-up to Becker.
With the impending storm downgraded, event organizers were able to run the full Surf & Sand Duel-athlon race course. "We had three different course options planned depending upon the weather," said Duke Brouwer, race director. "Fortunately we were able to run the full picturesque course, including the beach run to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and back."
Vela led the race from the start but was followed closely by Ben Sarrazin (Sausalito, CA) and Brennan Rose (Lahaina, HI) throughout the race. Sarrazin stayed with Vela through most the two lap course with the two paddlers reaching the beach at the same time to start the final quarter-mile run to the finish. It was Vela who opened up a 100 meter lead on the run, finishing 22 seconds ahead of Sarrazin in a time of 1:00:00. Rose rounded out the top three finishing 42 seconds behind Vela and 42 seconds ahead of 2011 Surf & Sand Duel-athlon champ, Matt Becker.
The women's division featured three competitors: defending champion, Candice Appleby (San Clemente, CA), Alison Riddle (Hermosa Beach, CA) and Jen Fuller (Sausalito, CA). Alison got off to a great start narrowly navigating her way through the head-high shorebreak where as Appleby wisely chose to wait for the series of waves to pass before hitting the water. Fuller found herself on the receiving end of at least two of the larger waves that detonated onto the shore forcing her to retreat and collect her board before finally making it out through the shorebreak and onto the course. She had her work cut out for her as she had lost valuable time on the other two competitors.
Candice quickly found her rhythm and soon overtook Riddle for the lead which she never relinquished and finished with a time of 1:08:04 (despite coming down with the flu the day before). Alison stayed within striking distance of Appleby but was never able to overcome the champs nearly 200 meter lead, finishing 1:16 behind her. Fuller paddled a gritty race and battled back from her rough start to finish only 1:18 behind Riddle.
Author: Duke Brouwer
Tags: Shoot Out at the Lane, Surftech, SUP