Going big at Santa Cruz PaddleFest

3 unique takes on surf kayaking from this year's grand gathering

Santa Cruz PaddleFest 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz PaddleFest International Class podium featured, from left, Jim Grossman, Edu Etxeberria, Matthew Hoff, and Buck Johnson.

The 28th annual Santa Cruz PaddleFest will go down in the history books as yet another year of Steamers Lane providing: classic, big waves, that is, with some quality beatings and a little stormy weather to keep things interesting. This year the Basque team showed up for the first time and put on an exhibition of what’s possible in a surf kayak. Many of the local regulars at the event had great results, mixed with spectacular crashes (as demonstrated by Matthew Hoff). The women also stepped up and showed off impressive skills to conquer the intimidating conditions at the Lane. Perseverance was the name of the game as Kate Duncan proved, battling through a practice injury and still stepping up to claim the Women’s HP win—as well as fourth place in the waveski division with the boys.

Next year’s 2015 edition of this classic event will be sure to have a different vibe, as event founder and long-time organizer Dennis Judson of Adventure Sports Unlimited passes the torch to Hoff and Dave Grigsby from the Kayak Connection, but one thing will surely remain the same: It will be kept about the surf and about the people who make up the passionate paddle-surf tribe. As Edu from the Basque team put it, “If you haven’t been here, you haven’t been a kayak-surfer.” — Bryon Dorr

2014 Pacific Paddle Surf Series FINAL Results. [Click HERE to read more about the PPSS and past results.]
Surf Kayak: 1. Matt Hoff, 2. Dave Johnston, 3. Jim Grossman
Waveski: 1. Tyler Lausten, 2. Fletcher Burton, 3. Blair Moore
SUP: 1. Dave Boehne, 2. John Griffin, 3. Brent Pascoe [Click HERE to see more from the SUP competition]

CLICK HERE  to view a photo essay from last year’s event.

Santa Cruz PaddleFest 2014 The Basque Invasion

Basque Team paddler Edu Etexeberria discusses the international appeal of the Santa Cruz contest.

Santa Cruz PaddleFest 2014 The Local Torch Bearer

2014 Pacific Paddle Surf Series surf kayak champ Matthew Hoff talks about elite-level competition from a local perspective.

Santa Cruz PaddleFest 2014 The Local Female Phenom

Women’s HP champ Kate Duncan compares her local break to other competition locales around the world.

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