Battle of the Paddle Welcomes Prone Paddlers

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Surftech 12' Bark Commander in the Record Books

Surftech Bark team rider Carter Graves on her record setting 2014 prone paddleboarding season.

With all eyes fixed on the action at the 2014 Battle of the Paddle on Salt Creek in Dana Point, California this weekend spectators will notice a new paddlecraft at the start line on Saturday. With a solid south swell in the forecast for the 7th Annual Battle of the Paddle, prone paddlers for the first time will charge the pounding shorebreak at Salt Creek along with their stand up counterparts. If it wasn't evident that prone paddleboarding's popularity is on the rise, it is now!

"We added prone paddling because it's a natural to the Battle of the Paddle," commented Barrett Tester, Battle of the Paddle race director. "We have seen the growth of the sport the past several years and know that many athletes enjoy both sports."

Indeed it looks like many of stand up paddling's most notable athletes will be leaving their paddles on the beach and racing alongside some of the world's top prone athletes this weekend. Jay Wild, Morgan Hoesterey, Alison Riddle and a number of other big name SUP athletes (some of which will surprise you!) will be racing their Surftech 12' Bark Commander paddleboards . "The Prone Paddleboard Race is destined to become a world class event as the course is the same as the Elite Race (SUP) and racers will be required to do the run transitions in between laps," said Tester.

Prone or traditional paddling has been around since the early 1930's when Southern California lifeguards were racing and training on primitive wooden paddleboards. Fast forward 80 years and traditional paddling will now be in the spotlight and raced by the world's top athletes this weekend at the 7th Annual Battle of the Paddle, the Superbowl of SUP.

When Carter Graves captured her second straight Catalina Classic stock class victory and Lockwood Holmes achieved his first Catalina Classic stock victory in August, the two wins cemented the Surftech 12' Bark Commander's place in paddleboard history. Both athletes beat the previous Stock Class record by 10 minutes and Carter's Catalina Classic win earned her the prestigious "Single-Double", winning both the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships and the Catalina Classic in the same season. No woman had ever won both races in the same year.    

"Crossing the Kai'wi Channel was an experience that I will never forget as I was forced to adapt to a completely new environment, having done nearly all my training in the flat waters of Southern California," commented Graves.

"Winning Molokai was even more mind-blowing to me as I had to rely on my miles and miles or training and a calmness in these crazy and unknown waters. Although some people think paddling 32 miles in flat water is harder, I was right in my element in the Catalina Classic and knew what I was in for. I would say Molokai took more mental and psychological strength where the Classic took all the physical strength I had left. Being able to achieve the 'single-double' is truly a dream come true and I have so many people to thank as it was a team effort in so many regards."

The Commander's record breaking run began at the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships back in July where Jack Bark broke the previous stock class record by more than 14 minutes!    

Surftech 12' Bark Commander Record Holders
Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships - Jack Bark 5:12:35
Catalina Classic - Lockwood Holmes 5:45:59
Catalina Classic - Carter Graves 6:08:05

"The Commander led me to my two big titles and the amazing thing is these races had completely different conditions," admitted Graves. "It worked incredibly well in the bumps and downwind conditions in Molokai and proved to be no different in the flat and glassy waters of Catalina! Surftech is recreating the way we look at prone paddling and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the sport. The opportunity to work with legendary shaper and paddler Joe Bark has been golden with the creation of the Commander and I am so honored to be able to race this board!"

The collaboration between Bark and Surftech began over 15 years ago bringing together innovative designs and state of the art construction technology to create superior Paddleboards and Stand Up Paddleboards. The 2015 Bark Surftech line includes high performance race, downwind, touring, paddleboards and many other new boards. Check them out your local Surftech dealer in early Spring!!

Founded in 1989, Surftech is the industry leader in manufacturing surfboards, stand up paddleboards and paddleboards. Surftech introduced the first composite technology surfboard to the surf industry 25 years ago. Surftech partnered with the best shapers in the world to bring this innovative new composite construction to market. Nearly 20 years later, at a time when very few people outside of Hawaii had ever seen or heard of stand up paddling, Surftech again broke new ground by introducing the very first production stand up paddleboard to the market, a move that some say launched the SUP industry.

Today, in partnership with many of the world's leading board designers, Surftech offers a wide variety of high performance surf, stand up and prone paddleboards to customers worldwide.

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Duke Brouwer
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