2017 Catalina Classic

Highlights and stories of the 2017 Catalina Classic. This video is made possible by Bark Paddleboards and Easy Reader News. Additional footage from Klein Creative Media, Chris Barrios and Slader Bark. Primary Shooting: Chris Aguilar. Editorial: Chris Aguilar / Fin Film Company Primary Shooting on Panasonic GH5

Chris Aguilar captured the action from this years grueling, current filled Catalina Classic. It was a tough year of racing with everyone who crossed the line leaving a winner. Max First took the win for his third time, Katie Hazelrigg took home the women's stock victory, and Lachie Landsdown also won his third stock victory. congratulations everyone who was out there!

Jacks Oregon Adventure

Jack was up in Oregon this last week for the Gorge Paddle Race, and ended up scoring some pretty fun conditions. This is what he had to say about his paddles up there.

"Pat Towersey and I got up to Oregon Wednesday afternoon, and immeditaly wanted to hop in the water. The wind was blowing 15-25, which looked epic, but the locals were saying it was nothing. We borrowed some stock boards from Big Wind Paddle Shop and got a ride to the start of the 8 mile downwind course. We had a fun paddle, feeling out the course and getting some sweet runs. Thursday we had to go work in Portland, but Friday was when I scored. Pat had to leave town, and so Kai and Ridge Lenny and myself got in the water at around 11:30 for a run. It was blowing about 30-40 this day and was absolutely going bonkers. There were breaking waves all over, and it was just stacking up. I've never seen waves like this before, and having them in a river running against the current made them really stand up and hold a lot longer. It was so fun that after this run I went straight back up and met Slater and Dave for another run. This one was a bit smaller, but equally as fun! 100 yard runs all the way down the course.

Saturday we were treated with glassy conditions, and a sky that looked like something out of Star Wars. It was bright orange from all the fires around the area, and it made it super hard to breathe.  I decided to enter the SUP race, and borrowed a Surftech D2 to race on. That race was so brutal, and i was happy just to finish and bring up the rear.Ate that, and with the expected forecast for Sundays downwind race, I wasn't too stoked to race more flat water. 

We woke up Sunday to glass again, and they kept pushing the start time back hoping for wind, but it was useless, it was going to be another flat day. Thats when I decide to call it and I paddled across the Gorge into the White Salmon River in Washington. It was so fun paddling up the river, and eventually turning around and riding the flow and a few rapids back down. Its all about the adventure! Cant wait to get back up there next year, or sooner!" #weliveforthis #keeppaddling

ISA World Paddle Championships in Mexico 2015

This last week, Team USA went down to compete in the SUP and Paddle board World Championships in Mexico. Included in the team was Candice Appleby, Carter Graves, Jack Bark, and Steve Shlens, along with many other amazing athletes! The team dominated, winning 6 individual gold medals, 2 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals. The team won overall, for the first time in 4 years, taking the title off of reigning champions from Australia. Here are some photos from Bark paddlers from the week long event! Congrats team USA!

All photos from ISA. You can check out video highlights and the full gallery here. 

 

Matt Becker at Mavericks

Mavericks went off last week, and Matt Becker was ready for it. He ended up getting a few big bombs. This is what he said about the historical day of surfing.

"December 20th was such a heavy day. It was a dark gloomy day, with a ton of action packed into it. There was so much going on with skis, drones, and tons of boats and spectators out there all to watch and support some of the most progressive big wave surfing I've seen. We pulled up in the early morning and the first wave we saw was some poor guy straightening out on 25 footer. There was good, clean, consistent big surf all day... and the performance level was through the roof. There were so many good surfers and good waves ridden , it's hard to say who stuck out . First to my mind would be Nic Vaughn, Jamie Mitchell, and Shawn Dollar. They snagged the biggest waves of the day in my opinion. Anthony Tashnick, Kyle Thiermann, and Pat Gadauskus all got same insane waves. There was a huge Hawaiian presence this swell also; I watched Francisco Porcello, Shaun, and DK Walsh get some unreal bombs... you wouldn't have ever guessed it was their first session out there."

Surftech in Tahiti!

Morgan Hoestery, Allison Riddle, George Plesk, and Jack Bark went to Tahiti for a week, and this is what they came back with.

Sunday Sessions with Morgan Hoestery

Morgan Hoesterey is starting The Sunday Sessions, a new video of people having fun in the ocean every week! Here's clip number one! "Hanging with Jack Bark is never not fun. Especially when there is a downwinder involved. The Davenport Downwinder in Santa Cruz is one of the most fun things I have ever been lucky enough to do, and paddling next to a super stoked Jack Bark just makes it all that much better. A few days before this year's Jay Race in Santa Cruz, Jack and I (along with Joe Bark and Chris Aguilar from Fin Film Company) managed to sneak out for a bit to catch some open ocean waves..."

 


Catalina Classic 2014

This years Catalina classic was a brutal race. An early wind, and a south swell made the race anything but easy. Max First put the pressure on from the start, and took the win in the Unlimited Class with a very stacked field of paddlers. Lockwood Holmes came out of nowhere to break the stock record, with a new time of 5:45:59. Also in the stock class, Cater Graves finished first in the women's, also breaking a record, with a time of 6:08:05. Congrats to everyone who crossed the finish line. Amazing accomplishment. Video by Chris Aguilar and Fin Film Company.

Molokai2Oahu 2014

The Molokai2Oahu paddleboard race this year was amazing! There were great race conditions, and each division was stacked full of fast athletes. Matt Poole took home the men's UL division on his Bark unlimited. Jack Bark and Carter Graves also won the Stock paddleboard class on the Bark Surftech Commander. Check the full results here. Congrats to all who finshed the race, amazing accomplishment!

Thanks to the amazing sponsors and to all the men and women who volunteered to make this one of the best races out there!

A Date With The Strait

This past March, Zeb Walsh, Brad Gaul, and Jack Bark took on the challenge of a lifetime. To paddle from Mainland Australia to Tasmania, a 300 kilometer journey through some of the wildest seas in the world. After settling in after completing their world record paddle these are their thoughts on the trip.

Zeb's take:
This paddle was a dream I have had for like 10 years. After Molokai, I hit Jack up to do it and he was super keen which was classic cause he knew nothing about the Bass Strait before hand! Haha. Once I had locked Jack in, I rang Brad. I knew if Jack and I were in, there was no way Brad was going to let us go without him.
So we had our team and in my eyes there was no way we could have gotten a better team to paddle this Strait. Brad pretty much hasn't lost a race in the last 2 years. Jack, well, he is the skinniest kid I know but probably the only person I know that, if he wanted, he could equal Jamie 10 straight Molokai wins but on a stock board.
We made it hard for Brad by making him paddle a stock board and we were lucky enough to have the great Joe Bark give us 3 New SurfTech Commanders to paddle. So it was all set to take part in what was probably the biggest adventure we had done to date.
So the biggest part of the trip was the paddling. We are all distance paddlers but what we were looking at was six Molokai2Oahu paddles in eight days. I thought we all could do it before hand but after the first day I will be honest I started to worry a little bit. haha. After two lay days of bad weather we did the last five days straight and it hurt. But if it was easy it wouldn't have been an adventure. We got to learn about one and other and ourselves and we can do what ever we want as long as your willing to hurt your self a little. It was the hardest but most satisfying paddle I have ever done and I can't wait for the next one!!
For me in the end I was so stoked to fulfill a dream that everyone told me wasn't possible, and to share this with Jack & Brad and our support team. I don't think I can write how it feels for me. But I will say this isn't the one and only crazy paddle adventure we will have together! The sky is the limit and with the friends we have everything is possible.
ZEB

Jack’s take:
Over all, it was the wildest, hardest, yet most fun trip I’ve ever been on. To start it off, we couldn’t have had a better crew out there. Captain “Nudge” brought the most laughs to the downtime on the boat, as well as checking the weather 24/7 to get us in the best conditions possible. Having Dean Gardner out there with us was also amazing. One because he’s a legend, and two because he knows so much about the ocean and was key in keeping us motivated. The film crew we had was epic. Mic, Cormac, and Blake are all very talented at what they do and super awesome dudes. And then getting invited to go with Zeb and Brad, hands down the best stock and unlimited paddlers on the planet right now, it was a dream.
The paddling was the most brutal part of the trip putting a lot of physical and mental strain on all of us. The stretch of water between AUS and Tasi is really extreme, at its deepest its 100 meters. We would paddle days where were were only over 25 meters of water for 30k. This, factor in a 3 knot current and a 10 knot wind going against it, created some good sized waves, usually never going in our favor. I got sick for a few days and could barely eat any food. So for the 2nd and 3rd days I either was asleep or paddling. Paddling between 6 and 9 hours a day, there was no way any of us could have done it alone. The encouragement we got from each other kept us going each day. After each day's paddle we would try to explore these beautiful islands, mostly walking around like zombies, or in my case, falling asleep pretty much anywhere. We scored an epic pub for Nudges birthday on Flinders island, but we realized it was Sunday, and of course, that means the whole town is at the lawn bowling club. We ended up watching for a while, then got bored and went back to the boat to BBQ steaks and a fresh lobster some kind fishermen gave us. The islands we got to explore were the most amazing places I’ve ever been to. They were full of 1000 ft. cliffs dropping to deep blue water, crazy currents and whirlpools, and crystal clear water. We got to eat fresh abalone and fish, and grilled chicken and steaks at night. And the fact that there were penguins and wallabies everywhere was pretty sweet for me to check out. I loved bonding with the natives! : )
Over all, I’m so stoked for Zeb to have completed this dream he’s had since he was 15! Such feeling for his family to see him accomplish the paddle, something people thought couldn’t be done. Now I have an incredible friendship with Brad and Zeb and some amazing stories to go with it. 

300k Paddle Breakdown:
250k hard side/up wind
30k glassy
20k downwind

Brad's Take:
We jumped in the icy Tasman and left and it looked spectacular with the beautiful deep blue ocean underneath. A seal even followed us for an hour from Wilsons Promontory. Land began to fade behind and the further we got towards the horizon, the side chop grew. It was our first taste at how much the wind would control the paddling conditions... and the morale for that matter. Despite a relative flat swell, the winds would get so strong at times there would be three to six foot chop. Six hours of the nose going up and down through the chop, and the board getting caught in the wind while one arms trying to paddle, and the other is stabilizing the board is torturous, and heartbreaking at times. The way the currents pull in the Strait is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It can pull up to three and a half knots, almost 10km/h. For much of the first day the current was working against us, and a five-hour paddle turned into a seven-hour battle. When you get caught up in a current you just feel like you’re in the hands of Mother Nature. She’s calling the shots; you’ve just got to deal with them.
As our paddles went on, our bodies went into complete survival mode. Muscle fatigue was the first thing to rattle my body. Rashing too. Then my knees went and my neck locked up. That’s where you learn alot about yourself. The emotions came on without even knowing. One moment I’m spiraling into a really down moment and would be crying, then 5k later I’d be back on a high thinking, “How good is this?”. We all went into this felling pretty tough. Doing Molokai you have to have some mental toughness. But we came out of it enlightened.
The last day we had to gun it across the channel otherwise the weather would lock us in at the island for 3 days. This was the 66k day. It took us 9 hours. I spotted in the distance these little white things in the water. As we got closer, we saw they were 3-foot stationary waves, forming due to the tide change, in the middle of the ocean. In the end, the boat had to stay way outside of us or it would have flipped due to the currents and howling side wind.
Making it to the beach in Tasi was incredible. The feeling of winning is one thing. But this was a feeling of relief and achievement. There’s a bond between us now that’s pretty unexplainable. Everyone has a pain threshold, but it's not untill you go beyond it that you realize what’s really possible, and it proves the power your mind has over your body.