The second day of the 2016 Pacific Paddle Games kicked off Saturday at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California, and brought with it standup paddling drama and standout performances.
The morning started with a fan favorite: The youth technical race.
The crowds gathered on Doheny’s shores got a preview of the future of the sport as the youngsters hit the water early, paddling on a course that rewarded racers that could manage the mayhem and avoid getting caught up in traffic jams coming around the course’s crowded turns.
After getting to watch the kids preview the course, the men’s technical quarterfinals began.
In the first heat, last year’s overall champion, Connor Baxter, showed he hadn’t lost a step by finishing first in a literal photo finish:
Southern California’s Danny Ching won the second quarterfinal in style, showcasing his supreme paddling technique and making it look easy. Mo Freitas showed why SUP Magazine called him a “prodigy,” coasting to an easy victory in the third quarterfinal, while Lincoln Dews navigated a chaotic fourth quarterfinal to win.
While the men rested in preparation for the afternoon’s semifinal races, Santa Cruz’s 15-year-old wunderkind, Kali’a Alexiou, won the girls pro junior technical race while Danny Ching’s apprentice, Noa Hopper, won the boys pro junior technical race.
With the top eight racers going on to the finals out of the women’s and men’s pro technical semifinals, the intensity ratcheted up as the day went on.
In the first women’s semifinal, Candice Appleby, Shae Foudy, April Zilg, Jennfer Kalmbach, Olivia Piana, Terrene Black, Jade Howson and Morgan Hoesterey punched their tickets to the final.
Annabel Anderson, Fiona Wylde, Tarryn King, Lexi Alston, Kimberly Barnes, Sonja Honscheid, Hannah Hill and Seychelle Hattingh made it out of the second semifinal.
In a stacked first semifinal for the men, Connor Baxter rose above the competition, finishing ahead of Kai Lenny, Danny Ching, Travis Grant, James Casey, Arthur Arutkin, Noa Hopper and Georges Cronsteadt.
Mo Freitas dominated the second semifinal, and will be joined by Giorgio Gomez, Slater Trout, Michael Booth, Lincoln Dews, Kody Kerbox, Guilherme Batista de Souza and Jake Jensen in the final.
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