The first annual Hobuck Hoedown – the North Coast Surf Kayaking Festival was a resounding success. The Memorial Day Festival was located on the Olympic Peninsula at Hobuck Beach near Cape Flattery ( a Makah Indian Nation town), the extreme Northwestern point of the continental USA.
The festival, the first of its kind in the Northwest, attracted local surf kayakers like free swag at a paddle store. While some attendees had never competed before, others, like US Team member Jameson Riser, were veteran competitors and seasoned athletes. Twenty participants competed in heats from from High Performance and IC to sea kayak and advanced production plastic.
Gary Korb won the HP Men’s heat with his homemade custom surf boat using the multiple spins, barrel rolls, slashing cutbacks, backsurfing, and aerial moves he’s known for in the region. Jameson Riser won the HP Women’s and IC Open heats. Dave Mottershead who competed in the most heats won the sea kayak and sit on top heats, and placed second in HP Intermediate Men. Port Angeles based kayak retailer Mitch McDougall won Expert Plastic Open and Jim Benson won Novice / Intermediate Plastic Open. Mike VanOrden won Intermediate HP Men.
After a successful first year, the Hobuck Hoedown is already looking forward to another great festival weekend for Memorial Weekend, 2008. See the festival site for this year's competition results and other info. http://www.hobuckhoedown.com
Surf conditions, a frustrating factor for organizers who must predict them a year out as they prepare for the festival, turned out to be remarkably good. Despite the inconsistent Northwest coast spring weather, the festival had unusually warm seasonal temps and crystal clear water. On the day of the festival, light fog prevailed in the morning but burned off in the afternoon, making for a spectatcular summer-like afternoon.
The Northwest is a region with a rapidly increasing surf kayak population. Hoedown attendees showed their passion for the sport, bringing to the beach several custom homemade high performance surf boats, as well as known brands from Mega, Wold, Riot, and Valley. The judges and scribes scored participants from the bed of a large pickup truck on the beach, while enthusiastic spectators cheered on the athletes as they emerged from the waves.
At the awards ceremony, the Port Angeles based group, Olympic Peninsula Paddlers, played on their well-practiced kazoos, many favorite kazoo tunes, including what seemed to be their favorite, 'You Are My Sunshine'.
Former US Team member and Tsunami Ranger Deb Volturno, handed out prizes to the winners that consisted of Reg Lake Brewmugs, one pound bags of coffee from Seattle based Seven Coffee Roasters, and swag donations from various local paddle retailers and sponsors.
The day concluded with more surfing well past sunset, live music from festival goers, and Makah story teller, Vi Hilbert (taq seblu), who held a captive campfire audience with her stories.