The Hobuck Hoedown is an annual surf kayak event held in Hobuck Bay in the furthest corner of Northwestern Washington state. It is organized by Olympic Raft and Kayak and Morgan and Maggie are the passion behind it.
It is an old school event that is all about community, competition and fun. It was a wonderful place for our first Surf Kayak competition experience with a low key atmosphere and incredibly supportive people (organizers, judges, and participants).
There were multiple classes within the event – High Performance, International Class, Waveski, Whitewater, Stand-up Paddleboard and Raft. We initially entered Hunter into Whitewater, Stand-up paddleboard and Raft. After testing out the Stand-up paddle board he opted out of that event as it was a bit too wieldy for his size.
Hunter and Tim surfed throughout the morning while waiting for his heat just after lunch. Tim managed to demo about 6 boats over the course of the weekend but never found “the one” that would justify buying yet another boat because it was that much better than using his Jackson whitewater boats.
Hunter had a bout of nerves just before his heat, announcing that he didn’t want to do this “as it was really competitive – they give out medals just like the Olympics!”. We managed to get through the tears and into his boat just as the flag turned to green as he was off in the water. I was on camera duty and Tim was dedicated safety support and we were both full of nerves…. We couldn’t believe when we both looked at our watches and only 6 minutes of the 20 minute heat had gone by!
He was on fire – full of smiles, surfing away, even throwing in old school paddle spins mid way through to impress the judges!
Hunter mostly surfed in what is referred to as the “soupy zone” where the waves were just cresting or had just crested. It meant that most of the waves he caught were white vs green. As we progressed through the day, we learned more about how Surf kayking is scored and it turns out that the starting point is you have to catch the wave on the green. Then it is about how effectively you make use of the wave (front surf, side surf, spin, carve etc.).
Hunter wowed the judges and got a round full of cheers when he came off the water from the first heat. At 10, he was the youngest competitor and they didn’t have a youth class so he was out in the water with 4 adults.
With only 5 in their class, everyone made it into the finals. Hunter was disappointed that he wasn’t top 3 in points (he was 5th at 20.5 but only 8 points behind the 1st place competitor) but thrilled that he was in the finals.
Before the finals, they had the raft surfing competition – Tim was a last minute recruit to paddle in the boat with Hunter, Morgan and 3 others. They had a tonne of fun and lots of smiles…. Morgan capped it off with a back-flip off the raft to earn more points and they won the event!
At the end of the day, Hunter came in 5th in the Whitewater category BUT the judges were so impressed with him (age, personality and skills) that they created a junior class and awarded him a medal for first. We are all sooooo proud of him – for competing, for getting through the jitters and for being his personable chatty self the entire day. Pretty awesome for learning day one and competing day two.
Thanks have to go out to coach Tim (Dad), coach Sean (YCKC) and coach Kevin (YCKC) for helping to give him the confidence, the skill and the love of paddling…
Oh, and for those that are wondering – yes, I did go out and surf kayak. In order to maintain my “keep up with Hunter” status, I hit the waves on Saturday for a while in between everything and had a good time…