Team Werner made their mark in Pro, Open & Junior Divisions at the Pacific Paddle Games

photo: J Haworth

One of the biggest events in competitive Stand Up Paddling did not disappoint, with Werner paddlers putting in impressive races in all divisions. The waves arrived and the weekend challenged with bumpy conditions and onshore wind, but the competition rose to the occasion. As Mel Wygal put it, all were “Blown away by PPG this year, the event had so many incredible moments.”

In the Pro divisions, in one of the most competitive fields ever assembled, Josh Riccio had a strong showing making the Finals of the Men’s Technical, while Lina Augaitis paddled in the Strong in the Women’s Pro as she makes her comeback post baby number two.

photo: Dan Brown

The new Apex paddle made an impression in the Open Division, too. Dan Gavere shared that he loved “the locked in feel of the new Apex blade. I believe it will take my paddling to the next level and allow me to spend more time on the water doing what I love best.” Dan was 4th overall in the Open Technical using the 76 sq in blade on a small fit 74” APEX.

photo: Erik Nordskog

Mel Wygal used her new Werner Apex 77 sq in paddle (cut to 66") placing in all three of her races and shared that she “loved the feel of the Apex, with softer entry but pulling a huge amount of water and quick release”. Kristin Thomas was strong in the 14’ class finishing 1s & 2nd in that division using her new Apex, but the races were 12’6 focused, including a special bonus Surf Race on the Pro course for the top Open paddlers where Mel was the darling. “The Women's Open Technical Surf Race was the highlight of my weekend, where I fought my way from 5th to 1st to claim Salt Life's Champion Paddler of the Year award.

In what was deemed by many as the highlight of the weekend, hometown boy Tyler Bashor won the Junior Pro Technical Final masterfully paddling his 86 sq in Grand Prix to a super close race win that ended by the young phenom using wave & sprinting skills to take the overall Junior Pro win & also become a Salt Life’s Champion Paddler of the Year. As Tyler put it “it was an extremely memorable event because it's in my hometown and doing well in this race has been a major goal of mine for the past several years. “

Congratulations to all.


Author: Kristin Thomas