The reality of this year’s Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle is finally starting to sink in for me. I have the opportunity to see Candice Appleby do amazing things on a daily basis. It may be a long noseride, a sick turn on her sup, or an excellent interval piece while training with the PaddleFit/ @infinitysup crew. But the way in which Candice performed under extreme pressure during this year’s BOP race was one that I will remember forever. As a fan of the sport of SUP, the race between Annabel Anderson and Candice was about as exciting as it gets. First they were both behind, then Annabel was ahead, then Candice was ahead, then they were tied, then Candice was in the lead, and it wasn’t over until the last minute. As Candice’s best friend, training partner, gardner, and board handler it was extremely special for me to see how calm she was the entire race. It had been two years since these two have raced each other at the BOP. In 2012, Annabel’s 1st win, Candice was taken out of contention when a male competitor lost his board into Candice going into the “Boneyard Buoy” at Doheny. This incident prompted the organizers to separate the men and women for the BOP Final, a fantastic decision for the biggest race of the year. Last year Candice did not compete due to injury, so this was their first meeting with no guys in the way at BOP. Neither competitor disappointed the fans. Annabel showed her skills in the surf, and Candice showed her paddling ability and the two put on a show for the ages. Congrats to Annabel on her amazing 2nd place performance. And incredible job by all of the women handling the 20 wave set at the start of the race!
This moment captured by Eric from OnIt Pro is priceless. You can see us looking right into each others face, me with some words of encouragement, and Candice calmly listening for them. I can’t explain how much this photo means to me. Thanks Eric.
Thanks Brody Welte for all you have done for us both. Thanks Dave Boehnefor letting Candice train with us. Thanks Karl Ring for keeping me somewhat calm during this race. Thanks everyone from Surftech SUP, especially Duke for everything you have done to support Candice. Rebecca from Kona Brewing Company you are just awesome!!!! Thanks Tyler from FCS SUP for bringing by an assortment of leashes for us. Thanks Emily from MTI Adventurewear for helping us out with the best lifejackets on the market! Thanks Aaron Napoleon for the Friday night pep talk, and Alicia from Maui Jim for everything you continue to do for us and the sport. And special thanks to Bob, Scott, Dave, Randall, Steve, and everyone at Ocean Minded for supporting Candice for the last 15 years! Thank you Sean and Judy Sweet for being there for Candice always. Thank you Joe Bark, Jack Bark, Charlie and Bark Paddleboards for being our friends! Thank you Jimmy, Lizzie, Hugo, Addie, Sydney and everyone at QuickBlade Paddles for being incredibly amazing! And thanks to Sparky, Pat, Barrett, Kelly, Gerry Lopez Surfboards, Ron, and everyone who helps make this event possible. There are many others I am forgetting, but please know it is by mistake, not intention.
Thank you Candice for inspiring me, and many others!