The Chainsaw Massacre is a local 6.5 mile prone/stand up race held annually here in Coronado. It's a fun, open water out-and-back type race that takes you to the buoy off Point Loma and features a bit of downwind action for the return to Coronado Shores. Importantly for me, the race marks my racing "birthday"; the Chainsaw was the first race I competed in one year ago.
I was a bigger boy a year ago- a little more than thirty pounds heavier than I am today and a whole lot more inexperienced with racing than I am now. I was looking forward to the race- hoping to better last year's time of 1:33. Unfortunately, I was also dealing with a mysterious shoulder injury that limited the movement of my right arm. It wasn't until my friend Kiwi heard me complaining about my arm and commented about the strange smell of kitty litter that was following me around that I fully committed to the race. He had sufficiently shamed me- I was in.
|There she is... The Poison Arrow- pointing the way. Major thanks to my sponsors: Stamps surfboards- Tim makes unreal surfing standos and, of course, my Poison Arrow- which rocks! Emerald City Surf Shop in Coronado who keep me in wetsuits and gear and Future Fins who hook me up with great fins for both racing and surfing. Here's a no-brainer if you want to get faster, pick up Futures Weed Fin for racing- that thing works great!
I ended up really happy with my result. I was the fifth stand up paddler to the beach (behind the two Shoemakers on their unlimited boards, Kiwi, who took 1st place in stock SUP and Mike Richards who grabbed second in stock SUP) and third in the Stock SUP division. Best of all I beat last years time by 13 minutes with a time of 1:20. It was the first time I'd paddled my new Stamps 12'6 Stock Class stand up board (I call her the Poison Arrow) on the open ocean and just like I thought- this board is a performer- she blazes downwind! At the turnaround buoy I was even with a paddler on an unlimited prone board- once we pointed downwind, I never saw the guy again. I was able to catch and pick off two other stock paddlers who had passed me going upwind- that's a great feeling, reeling them in and passing them. Revenge!
|Game day with the Poison Arrow- not your average race board.
Just a comment about the design of my board. The Poison Arrow does not resemble any other board on the water. There's no dug-in cockpit, no canoe type bow, her bottom is radically contoured- I haven't seen a bottom like it anywhere, and she's wider by an inch than most raceboards out there (30") wide. Most telling- her tail is very wide, voluminous and boxy. I'm telling you this board is unconventional. Which is exactly what I wanted. When Stamps went about designing the hull I stressed that I needed a board that was scale to my 210 lb frame- I was tired of dealing with balance issues that were robbing me of power. I was finding that if I couldn't be comfortable on the board in moderate sea states- I could not lay down the power that I knew I was capable of. This was very frustrating for me because I knew I could produce better results but was wasting energy just staying upright. At this level of experience I needed a board that was stable- and here she is, I really like this board and hope that the importance of communicating your particular needs to your shaper comes through here. Be honest with yourself and get a board that you're comfortable on.
A year ago I set a goal for myself to lose weight, complete ten races and improve my performance. So far, I've got all three checked off. Now it's time to reevaluate and set new goals for the coming winter race season. I've got the board, the time and the water... now all I've got to find is the will. That's the tough part. I'll keep you posted.