Week One in Costa Rica at the World Surf Kayaking Championships
The surf is great. My first three days have been super but the waves were
a little small today. It really made me want bigger waves but I think
it’s good to be careful what you ask for when it comes to wave size
in the ocean; the poundings getting out past the beach break becomes larger
too. I surfed twice today and it shows. I am so tired I cannot keep my
I was having great rides but was not able to get off the outside break,
so I rode the waves in smiling and spinning until I spun around to paddle
back out. I then got my first beat-down in about a foot of water. I rolled
up with my face covered in sand. Two others kayakers broke their boats
when they were tumbling in the surf and collided with the fins from the
other kayak. I surfed until dark.
Riser and Jim Grossman are helping me a ton learning how to throw moves
and read the ocean instead of the river. I never knew there was so much
to it! There is an East Coast and a West Coast team here from the USA
plus individuals competing in both the International and Open Classes.
I am competing as an individual in both classes.
World Surf Kayaking Championships begin on October 22nd at Playa Esterillos
Oeste and finish on the 30th. We have boat check in and opening ceremonies
on Friday, October 21st.
Two in Costa Rica at the World Surf Kayaking Championships
Week Two began with a beat-down at the end of my session on the beach
break. It was so strong that I could not get back out for one last surf.
Today, I stopped two surfs short of what I thought I should. It is still
raining from Hurricane Wilma.
we had the Open Class. I tried to throw a cartwheel end as an exit move
each ride. My second ride I caught my stern, power flipped, lost my paddle,
rammed my left shoulder into my loose paddle blade and jammed my head
into the sand. Riser and Grossman ran down the beach as I used my hand
to roll and told me to paddle to the outside. It was a rough start for
my first competition, but I was only 8 points out. Jameson and Grossman
both advanced, as did a ton of USA paddlers.
we had the International Class. I was in a stacked heat and without a
boat as Jameson Riser was letting me use her boat but now we found ourselves
in the same heat. Kate and Demonty Smith, who I met in Sacramento when
I was doing a shop visit for Jackson Kayak, came to my rescue. They let
me use their boat. My first ride in it was in competition. You only need
three rides and yesterday I took too many. I decided to slow down, go
outside, and choose only really good waves, as it seemed I did not have
much of a chance to advance. Well, I won my heat! Not by much but it means
I get to compete again on Monday.
has not stopped raining!
not only got to compete on Monday, but Tuesday too! My heat on Monday
was at 4:00 pm. I just squeaked into the next round, arrived back at the
hotel about eleven hours before it would be time to leave again for my
morning heat at 6:40 a.m. My wake up at 4:15 a.m. came fast but I made
it to the beach just in time to be eaten alive by sand flies. I have used
a different boat for each heat and this morning was no different. I worked
on more aggressive carving and doing blunt type moves. I hit a great one
and kept going on the wave on my first ride.
from Scotland, and I sat in the SUN and watched the next heat of women
until she told me that Scots melt in the sun and went in seek of shade.
About 45 minutes later she ran back to me and said "Devon! Results
are up!" "How did I do?", I asked. In her great accent
she said, "Go, go look!" I won my heat and she was second!
am on the final four for the Finals on Saturday the 29th! To top off my
day, Carlos, who sells custom designed T-shirts, brought me two cheese
empanadas and refused to let me pay for them. Then, Wayne from USA West,
who let me use his Cyclone kayak for semi-finals, bought me an Imperial
beer at the Low Tide Café to celebrate! I was on a high! Tons of
USA paddlers advanced to the final four as well. I should have known there
was a low point on the horizon.
I went out to train and got my first “Floaters”, when you
ride up high on the top of the wave and then drop down the green really
fast. I paddled toward the Low Tide Café, on the other end of the
beach from the competition site and took my last wave into the beach.
I caught my nose as I was carving and did a nose-dive to the bottom, power
flipped over the "handle bars," and then drove my stern into
the sand. I split all four seams open, both sides on the bow and stern.
Maybe I should never use the same boat twice! Now I have an $1800 boat
to replace for my friend who let me borrow it. Well, it is hard to remember
when you are in a low that a high point is coming.
went to Kmo's house, the local surfboard and kayak repairman, to see if
he could fix my kayak. He could fix it so I can use in on Saturday for
the finals but he only had chocolate brown resin. Neil Kahn, the event
organizer, drove me to his shop where we filled juice bottles with two-part
clear resin epoxy and headed back to Kmo's. It will be ready by 10:00
was still upset and teary eyed as I walked back to Jaco Fiesta. Jim Grossman
put his arm around me and said, "Good News!" I gave him the
look I get when I am about to laugh and cry at the same time. Well, the
good news is James Hawker from England is here with his parents, Kathy
and Andrew, and his brother Simon. James makes his own kayaks and said
he would give them away to anybody who needs them. He is giving them to
me! They are a great design. He made the final four in High Performance
and in International Class. Yahoo!!!!!!!!!
had a great competition in finals with two rides with steep green wave
take offs and tricks on both. One trick was a cartwheels way on the outside
break on a super fast wave in a 9-foot boat. The other was a drop onto
another wave I connected with. About a three foot drop! From there I am
not sure what other wave was my best, maybe the one I did a tail slash
and stayed in a back surf ripping down the line. Backwards in the ocean
adds a lot of excitement to surfing.
waves count in your score. I am pretty confident I moved up but...we don’t
find out until the awards ceremony tomorrow at 4 pm. I just cannot wait!
In the meantime I am going to go out and surf the new kayaks donated to
me by James Hawker. One is white with purple splashes and the other is
orange with a white line around it. James' boats are called Future Kayaks.
Going along with the high and low theory my video camera, that I am using
for work for the month of November, is on the fritz and the boat I broke
is up to $2000. Lovely! Two more hours to wait!
is 11:11 and I just arrived in San Jose after my transfer from Jaco. 4
pm finally came and I can tell you WC does not stand for Water Closet
this time; it stand for World Champion! I was sitting with Wayne and Jessica
as they announced 4th, 3rd, and when they announced 2nd, Wayne turned
to me and said, "You were in International Class right?" At
the same time Jessica was jumping up and down with her camera as they
announced “Devon Barker, from the USA, World Champion!
Basque team threw me in the pool after the photo of us here. The party
was perfect. USA West won the team event and USA East was third. There
were tons of amazing tricks from all the surfers. I am very impressed
with kayak surfing in the ocean.