The first day of the 2017 Hobuck Hoedown Paddle Surf Festival began in true PACNW style, with rain, wind and chunky surf, but featured plenty of tight competition in all categories to keep chilled WKC members and guests attentive from within the shelter of their Cags and raingear. With our Canadian friends smiling as they trotted from heat to heat in their bare feet, the rest of the mere mortals on the beach huddled in the lee of the judges stand staying fully entertained and at least a little warmed by the impressive paddle surfing on the water.
Fortunately, the fall conditions abated in time for the Saturday night catered dinner and raffle. It was, as always, an opportunity to socialize, make new friends and relive highlights of the day. The raffle was also an opportunity for contestants and spectators to raise additional funding for Makah kids programs and the Makah Cultural and Research Center (MCRC) through a raffle of awesome paddling gear generously donated by sponsors. The raffle was preceded by an engaging talk by MCRC Director Janine Ledford on Makah culture, museum activities and potential uses for donated funds donated.
Sunday dawned with perfect conditions for finals - beefy 4’ surf with clean shoulders and enough power to make advanced maneuvers possible in both long and short kayaks as well as SUPs.
One of the highlights of the weekend occurred in the first heat of the day Sunday, which featured a new event designed to promote hilarity and chaos both on and off the water, as teams of five paddled and attempted to surf large SUPsquatch paddleboards in a truly fun heat that resulted in at least one wave being successfully surfed amidst multiple ejections, crashes and swims for all participants.
In other, more formal categories, the two day competition included inspired “long” boat surfing by first through third place Sea Kayak finishers Jaime Sharp, Jim Grossman and Costain Leonard. While surviving an incredible drop that earned him the newly acclaimed “Beat Down” trophy, Jamie worked the surf to wow the crowd in this highly competitive and skillful class.
In the always hyper-competitive Men’s High Performance (HP) class, masterful performances were seen by Jim Grossman, Chris Bensch, Hamp All and Steve Jones who’s maneuvers and skills helped set the tone for the weekend.
Women’s HP, in one of the most competitive events we have seen in the NW recently, was won impressively by Jameson Riser, but also showcased strong surfing by Barb Gronseth and newcomer Kelly Watson.
In arguably the most dynamic in any paddle surf contest, the Waveski event, a beautiful performance by local wave ski builder and artist Ken Debondt took the victory despite exceptional surfing by Jamie Sharp and 15 year old Buey Grossman.
In WW /plastic, Jim Grossman and Buey Grossman carried the day while favorite Costain Leonard finished a strong third, all tumbling, spinning and tricking their way in spectacular style down the waves.
In Master’s HP (minimum age 40), Jim Grossman, Chris Bensch and Alaskan Randy Keller battled it out to 1, 2, 3 respectively and demonstrated all the style and performance that comes from years of experience in the lineup.
International Class (3 meter design rule) featured the smooth, carving and controlled down the line surfing these boats are known for with similarly competitive and strong performances resulting in a finish order of Chris Bensch, Hamp All and David Briggs.
In SUP, dynamic, stylish and strong performances by every competitor resulted in a finish order of John Sindelar, Kevin Long and Ayu Othman.
Impressively, in Skookum class (designed as a non-competitive, lower cost “fun” class for newer surf paddlers) showcased the largest field to date, featuring incredibly strong paddle surfing by multiple entrants and finished closely with Canadians Logan Peloso and 18 year old Finn Steiner narrowly edging out Jon Almquist and Jason Learned.
Finally, in a highly competitive final, Jim Grossman continued to showcase his exceptional surfing skills in “Battle of the Wave” event (designed to showcase the strongest paddler at the festival and open to any any paddler in or on any craft), with a strong session that resulted in his winning the class in another close final with Hamp All and Ken Debondt.
The 2017 Hobuck Hoedown Paddle Surf Festival has packed up the judging stand and tents for the season, but has left many happy memories both on and off the water and resulted in many new or renewed friendships and a greater sense of community among Pacific NW Surf Paddlers. The Hoedown also made great progress toward the goal of giving back to the Makah community and Makah kids as part of an effort to show appreciation for the special place we are lucky enough to be able to surf.
Many thanks to our incredible sponsors (The American Canoe Association, Astral, Chapul, Immersion Research, Kayak Academy, Ken DeBondt Custom Surfcraft, Kokatat, MSR, Northwater, NRS, Olympic Outdoor Center, Paddler’s Supply, Seals, Snapdragon, Sweet Protection, Thule, Washington Kayak Club and Werner Paddles) for their generous support.
For additional results, more pictures and further information check out www.hobuckhoedown.com.
Until next year - see you in the lineup!