Does anything really need to be written here? Well, actually, yes.
In this young sport of Standup Paddling, never has there been someone so influential. Never has a man carried a brand on his back, nor has anyone ever made it look so easy.
The resonating image of Danny for me occurred shortly after the Battle of the Paddle in Dana Point. In the middle of all the chaos, at a time when all the other elite paddlers were swarmed by fans and friends, Danny was tossing a football around with a young boy. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he had just won the biggest race in the sport. His oversize check lay on its side behind some beach chairs as he tells the kid to go long.
Danny is quietly changing the way we SUP. In fact the only time that he seems to make a noise is when he has a paddle in his hands.
It would be hard to have a better year competitively than Danny had this year, and it would be hard to find a better representative of our sport. To you, Danny, we tip our hats.
Narrowly beating out the likes of Jaime Mitchell, Dave Kalama, and Connor Baxter, Slater is well deserving of his spot on this list. Just in case you are not familiar with what this guy did in just his 15th year of life, here’s a quick reminder:
* 1st Stand Up World Tour, Hulakai Trials, Sunset Beach, wave contest, Oahu
* 2nd Maui Brewing Company North Shore Challenge, race from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbour, Maui
* 2nd Maui Interscholastic League Surfing Championships, longboard wave contest, Maui
* 1st Gulf Coast Championships, race, Madeira Beach, Florida
* 7th Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle Hawaii, race, Oahu
* 2nd Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle Hawaii, SUP relay race (Slater Trout, Candice Appleby, Scott Gamble, Matt Becker), Oahu
* 1st 2010 Hennessey’s US Paddleboard Championships, 14′ class race, Redondo Beach, California.
* 1st San Clemente Ocean Festival, 14′ class, 10k men’s open race
* 1st San Clemente Ocean Festival, SUP sprint race
* 1st San Clemente Ocean Festival, 14′ class, 3.5 mile race
* 2nd San Clemente Ocean Festival, SUP relay race
* 6th San Clemente Ocean Festival, SUP wave contest, 35 and under.
* 1st LA County Junior Lifeguard rescue board race, boys A, El Segundo.
* 1st California Surf Lifesaving Junior Regionals, rescue board race, boys A, San Diego.
* 3rd US LIfeguard Association Junior Nationals, rescue board race, boys A, Huntington Beach.
* 1st H20 Overdrive SUP Cup, 14′ class race, Park City, Utah
* 2nd Sea Paddle NYC Surfer’s Environmental Alliance, 28 mile race around Manhattan for Autism
* 3rd 2010 Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle, elite race, Dana Point, Calif.
* 2nd 2010 Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle, distance race, 14ft class, Dana Point, Calif.
* 1st 2010 Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle, SUP team relay with Jamie Mitchell, Brandi Baksic and Kelly Margetts
Results alone, however, do not make the boy a man. If you see Slater, take the time to chat for a few minutes and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not the results that are important to him. At 15, he has realized a truth that some never find; life is about the relationships. It’s not how he does in the race that sets him apart, but what he does after. Slater is a solid ambassador of the sport, from surf to race, and always has a smile on his face.
Im pretty sure that Slater and Connor Baxter have some sort of a smile contest going on, because these are the only two guys who actually smile while they are racing.
With a solid family behind him, and the genetics of a thoroughbred, Slater has the makings of an elitist and a true waterman.
Some people are saying that Slater is the future of our sport.
I’m pretty sure he’s the now.
Watermans Jamie Mitchell nominated for adventurer of the year
Voting ends January 15, 2011
Orange County, CA, December 14, 2010 – World Champion Jamie Mitchell has been nominated as one of ten elite athletes and explorers considered worthy of the title, 2010 Adventurer of the Year. This year’s field includes ocean crossing rowers, extreme climbers, sailors, adventurers and even a famous tracker. However, only one will be crowned on January 15th.
Mitchell’s nomination rests on the strong shoulders responsible for his nine consecutive Molokai to Oahu victories. What sets him apart is his dedication and consistency to the endeavor and the inconstancy of the terrain. “Paddling is not like any other sport.” Says Watermans’ Pete Stirling, “You can show up to the same event year after year, but it will never be the same race… Everything changes, from the conditions to the competition, and a paddlers ability to deal with the unknown is his most important asset.” Mitchell’s unwavering performance represents unparallel ability to adapt.
Voting is already underway. Watermans Applied Science and the rest of Jamie’s sponsors encourage you to vote for Jamie. Individuals can vote daily.
World Champion ocean paddler, big wave rider, international swell chaser, all-round waterman – no one label adequately describes Jamie Mitchell and that’s just how he likes it.
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A race board is an elite piece of equipment. Its like a race horse, a race car, a road bike, etc. They need to be handled with care and not be treated like the next piece of crap, good for nothin, chunk of God forsaken foam that came out of Aunt Edna’s basement. Here are some tips to maximize the life of your race board. (more…)
Completely confident, a friendly smile as he’s surrounded by friends, yet somehow standing slightly awkwardly. He gazes at the horizon as if called to look there. As the group of friends banter casually in conversation they don’t notice that Rob has slipped away. By the time they notice, he is a speck, heading towards the horizon. Not looking the least bit awkward.
His narrow set eyes tell a story, something urges you to dive into them and drown in the depth of their blue. It’s as if he knows something more, something great, but he isn’t ready to give up his secret just yet.
I’ve heard stories, and although I cannot prove any of them, I believe them to be true. Stories of impossible night time swims, stories of showing up to peoples houses via the ocean, and stories of ridiculously long solo training paddles.
It doesn’t really matter weather these stories are fact or fiction, because it is instantly apparent that Rob has a special relationship with the ocean. He has a comfort level in the water rarely achieved by even the most dedicated of watermen.
An enigma of sorts, Rob’s influential qualities come from hours piled upon hours of immersion in what he considers a necessity. It’s not only the time spent training and paddling, but the intensity at which he travails. What’s more impressive is the dedication to the full time career and full time family duties that take precedence over the calls of the ocean. An unmatched work ethic and dedication to every aspect of his life make Rojas a role model for the ages. He’s as influential as they get.