September 15, 2013

2013 Great Lakes SUP Classic

The 2013 Great Lakes SUP Classic…what a great event!  Let me start by saying that this is a very well organized race from beginning to end.  The Outpost did a fantastic job of making sure everything went off without a hitch.

Jim Terrell...dishing the knowledge
The GLSC festivities started on Friday evening at The Outpost with packet pickup and “SUP Talk” with industry leaders Jim Terrell (Quickblade) and Joe Bark (BARK Paddleboards).  This was a unique opportunity for paddlers of all skill level to talk with Jim and Joe about paddles and boards.  A couple groups of 25 or so were able to get insider info on paddle types, construction, fit, and paddling technique from Jim as well as everything you wanted to know about boards (type, fit, construction, R&D, storage, etc.) from Joe.  A couple of my good friends even had their BARK race boards signed by Joe…pretty cool.  On top of the great discussion, Jim Terrell was custom fitting paddles for people and The Outpost had all Quickblade paddles on sale for 20% off…yes please!

Side not on paddle fit…Jim Terrell was fitting paddles by taking you height in inches and multiplying by 1.12.  This should be a starting point and can then be slightly adjusted from there based on your specific needs (race, surf, other).  6’ tall… 72 x 1.12 = 80.64 or an 81” paddle.

Saturday morning started off on the chilly side with temps in the high 30’s.  Although the wind and waves on Lake Michigan had calmed down from the previous day (15mph and 4-6’), the water temp had dipped from the mid 60’s to the low 50’s.  When I arrived at Holland State Park, I realized that I had left my race info (number, lunch voucher) on my kitchen table (doh!), but race volunteers were quick to take care of everything for me without an issue.  The volunteers do a great job with pulling off an event of this size.

3 Mile Race Start
The course was changed this year and I must say that it was AWESOME!  Instead of a down and back style or a triangle, there were several buoy turns and all of the action was much easier to watch both from the beach as well as the pier.  The two near shore buoys in particular were a great change.  Even though the waves were small at the beach (1-1.5’), they were breaking right at the buoys where people were trying to turn.  This location made for some great action…people falling (I fell three times…brrr), traffic jams, and great buoy turns.  The tough part was on the long stretch from the farthest north buoy to the pier.  I’m not sure how it was for the elite race (9:15 start), but for the rec race (my race, 11:15 start) the wind had picked up out of the south and the waves our past the pier were probably 3-5’.  Not that this was that bad, but it was definitely enough to make you glad when you made the turn at the pier.  Elite racers had 4 laps and rec racers did 2, which was plenty for me.

Buoy Turn Carnage
The elite race was won by Larry Cain from Canada, followed by Jim Terrell and Team Outpost rider Tony Paul (Tony also took the Midwest SUP Championship Series overall title).  Joe Baker continued his winning ways by taking the 12’6 class.  On the women’s side, Mary Radtke stood atop the podium, followed by Rachel ? and Renee Miller with a strong 3rd place finish.  An abbreviated list of winners is below, check out the GLSC Results page for a complete list.
  • 6 Mile Elite – 14’ M          Larry Cain
  • 6 Mile Elite – 12’6 M        Joel Baker
  • 6 Mile Elite – 12’6 W        Mary Radtke
  •  3 Mile Rec – 12’6 M        Jeffrey Hunter
  • 3 Mile Rec – 12’6 W        Melanie Lefeve
  • 3 Mile Rec – Surf M         Kevin Clark
  • 3 Mile Rec – Surf W         Antje Mueller
  • Kids Race                         Camden Misiewicz
Following the main races, there were the kid’s race and a relay race.  It’s great to see all of the kids out there participating…building the stoke for the future of our sport.  Although I didn’t to the relay race, from what I could see, it looked like everyone that raced had a huge smile on their face.

Before I forget, I wanted to give a shout out to Matt Balmer (6 Mile elite racer) for providing lunch for everyone from his restaurant, Everyday People Café.  It was by far the best event lunch I have ever had (great soup/chowder, bread bowls, fruit, cookies, etc.).  If you happen to be in the Douglas area, check it out.

Rich, thanking Jim and his family
The GLSC concluded with a heartfelt “thank you” from Rich Mosher (owner of The Outpost) and the awards ceremony and giveaways.  In addition to the overall winners, small prizes were also given to all age group winners and all Kids Race participants.  One thing that Rich mentioned was that 100% of all entrance fees (around $6000) went to two charities that help bring clean water to those around the world that don’t have access…what a great cause.  The event sponsors really stepped up to provide all of the prizes and race bags for everyone.  Thanks to The Outpost, Jim Terrell, Joe Bark, Everyday People Café, Rich Mosher, Jim Misiewicz, and all of the other volunteers for putting on a first class event.

In addition to everything described above, one of the highlights of the event for me was to just hang out with a bunch of friends that all have the passion for our great sport.  The Great Lakes SUP Classic was an event that you don’t want to miss next year so make sure to get it on your calendar for 2014…you won’t regret it!