STAND UP PADDLING with Mark Jackson
Houghton’s tackle the “Battle of the Paddle” in California
The high achieving Stand Up Paddling Houghton family of Takapuna ventured to California in late September to compete in the sixth annual ‘Battle of the Paddle’ event at Dana Point, Southern California. The husband and wife team of Gav and Rosie were accompanied by their son Ollie.
These series of races are the premier events on the global SUP calendar and are attended by the best paddlers from all over the globe including the best watermen in the world. The likes of Buzzy Kerber, Gerry Lopez (who hosted the event) and Larry Hamilton – all big wave riders – took part.
Paddlers competing ranged from eight years old to athletes in their 70s. There were approximately 1000 competitors for the 2013 event. 11 of them were Kiwis, with six ending up on the podium.
On the first day the youngest Houghton, 13 year old Ollie who attends Rosmini College, took out third place in under 18 years open section of the 4.5 mile race. He was placed third again in the intensive sprint race on day two competing against top rising SUP paddlers from the US, Hawaii and South America aged 13 and 14 years.
Gav, a long time SUP and surf rider was entered into the elite race on the first day. Trouble with his leg rope meant he didn’t make it to the finals of that event. The second day was the 10 mile distance race out to sea and true to form Gav came first in his division out of hundreds of top competitors from all around the world.
“The American’s, as they always do held a brilliant event,” said Rosie Houghton when they returned early October. “Gav, Ollie and I are now looking forward to this summer’s State Beach Series at Takapuna Beach.”
The State Beach Series is held on Tuesday evenings at Takapuna Beach from October 29th 2013 through until March 18th 2014 with a break for the Christmas Holidays. Visit: www.beachseries.co.nz.