August 19, 2017
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Downwind Domination: Bernd Roediger, Fiona Wylde Destroy International Field to Win the Gorge ‘Double Downwinder’

Gorge Paddle Challenge

Fiona Wylde leading the women’s field along the Columbia River Gorge this afternoon (photo: @andrewwwwelker)

Bernd Roediger and Fiona Wylde have put on a downwind masterclass here in Hood River, Oregon today, saluting at the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge presented by Starboard ahead of an ultra-competitive, international field of all-stars, young guns and and fresh new dark horses.

Fiona was the hometown hero as she paddled clear from world number one Annabel Anderson and seasoned veteran Angie Jackson, while the rising star and definite name-to-watch Annie Reickert finished third.

Annie was particularly impressive, showing maturity well beyond her years to claim a top finish against one of the most competitive women’s fields we’ve ever seen. Her team mate fellow youngster Hannah Hill was another to impress, with the Hood River native securing a top five finish for the home team.

Annabel overcame a slow start in the opening run to finish second, a result she repeated in the second run after seeing off a strong challenge from Angie — their see-sawing duel was one of the highlights of the day.

We’ll be live streaming again on Sunday for the ‘Super Lap’ course race: the groms start at 10am, and the pros hit the water about 1pm — timezone schedule | Saturday replay

But it was certainly Fiona’s day, with the world number two using her immense local knowledge and sublime paddling skills to record a mammoth victory. Fiona was almost out of sight at the finish line, winning the first run by over three minutes and enjoying a similar gap on the second leg to produce an almost-six minute lead on the overall time sheet.

Winning one of the “majors” is a huge achievement no matter what, but for Fiona to do it in front of her hometown friends, family and supporters must have been extra special. As the champ highlighted on Instagram this evening:

In the men’s Double Down, Bernd was in a league of his own as he weaved his way across the Columbia River Gorge from start to finish, reeling in the other contenders and eventually paddling clear to win both runs by about a minute.

Bernd’s victory today sees the Naish team rider go one spot better than he did 12 months ago, which is precisely when he announced himself as a genuine contender on the racing scene.

A string of big results in Hawaii over the past few months helped build Bernd’s reputation as one of the finest downwind paddlers on the planet, but today’s result will absolutely cement his membership in the top tier of the sport.

Every top paddler I spoke with post-race said the same thing: Bernd was untouchable out there today.


Bernd Roediger was in a league of his own today (photo: @andrewwwwelker)

Aussie Travis Grant and New Caledonian Titouan Puyo showed that racing experience is hard to match, finishing strong in the second run to secure a double podium finish for teams Quickblade and NSP. These guys showed true class out there today, relying on a combination of skill, strategy and simple patience to overcome the intense challenge thrown at them early on by the youth brigade.

The result continues an extraordinary season for “T1 & T2” following their 1-2 finish at the Carolina Cup and their similar achievement at Molokai last month, where Trav took the title and Titou was third. Trav’s runner-up finish today will see him leapfrog Michael Booth when the world rankings are updated on Monday morning, while both he and Titou have a shot of finishing the season ranked number one as we head towards the Pacific Paddle Games in late September.

Speaking of Titou: his young protégés from New Cal, 15-year-old Noic Garioud and 16-year-old Clément Colmas, were one of the big stories today. These kids turned a LOT of heads and showed they’re going to be very hard to beat in another year or two.

We had a feeling that Clement could do something special after his runner-up effort at the King of the Cut in Western Australia late last year, but it was actually Noic who attacked first this morning.

Noic, the younger of the two, was leading the first downwinder for a good 10-15 minutes until Bernd, Mo and Clement finally caught up and eventually pulled clear. After the second run was complete, Clement was only six seconds behind Titou on the overall time sheet, while Noic secured a podium finish ahead of several big names.

These kids are the future, and the future has well and truly arrived.

The result gives New Caledonia three of the top six spots, which is an extraordinary accomplishment considering this semi-autonomous French Pacific island has a population of just 278,000.

Gorge Paddle Challenge

The top six men from today’s epic Double Downwinder (L-R: Travis Grant, Titouan Puyo, Bernd Roediger, Clement Colmas, Mo Freitas, Noic Garioud)

Mo Freitas showed glimpses of brilliance and looked set to take out the first run before being reeled in by Bernd in the final couple of miles. After a shaky start in the opener, Frenchman Martin Letourneur finished like a rocket to claim 5th place in the second run and 7th overall.

Lincoln Dews was up there early but faded late to finish 8th, though he still showed signs of why he’s considered a threat at every race he enters these days.

It wasn’t a great day at the office for defending champ Connor Baxter, with the world number one fading badly to almost miss a spot in the top 10.

The under-rated warrior Steeve Teihotaata led the charge of the Tahitian army today, quickly adapting to the “local knowledge” conditions of the Gorge to finish top 10 while his compatriots Georges Cronsteadt, Enzo Bennett and Rete Ebb were all top 15 as well.

Once again Tahiti showed why it’s so feared and respected in the paddling world.

In fact, if you combine Tahiti, New Caledonia and France, which are all French-speaking (and all technically part of France anyway), the Frenchies claimed more than half of the top spots, incredibly filling 8 of the top 15 positions in one of the most-competitive races our sport has ever seen.

One of the clear themes at this year’s Gorge Paddle Challenge has been the youth, and that theme continued during the exhibition foil race early this morning where the Spencer Brothers, Finn and Jeffrey, upset the superstar pioneer of the foiling division, Kai Lenny.

But anyway that’s a wrap for today. You can watch a full replay of our Gorge Paddle Challenge live stream, and also enjoy this great little highlights reel from the Quickblade crew below.

Big thanks to all the organisers, volunteers, sponsors, supporters and paddlers that made it such a fun day here in Hood River. And thank you to everyone that tuned in on our Quickblade Live Stream: see you back out there for Sunday afternoon’s live stream of the Super Lap course race.

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Men’s Double Downwinder

#AthleteRun #1Run #2OverallPointsBrandNation
1Bernd Roediger1:00:270:59:161:59:4370.00NaishUSA
2Travis Grant1:01:161:00:282:01:4452.50NSP/QBAustralia
3Titouan Puyo1:01:551:00:312:02:2642.00NSP/QBNew Caledonia
4Clement Colmas1:01:071:01:272:02:3335.00StarboaradNew Caledonia
5Mo Freitas1:01:391:02:112:03:5029.75Focus/QBHawaii
6Noic Garioud1:02:061:02:302:04:3624.50SunovaNew Caledonia
7Martin Letourneur1:03:111:02:022:05:1321.00HobieFrance
8Lincoln Dews1:02:321:02:492:05:2117.50Deep/QBAustralia
9Connor Baxter1:02:191:03:252:05:4415.75StarboardHawaii
10Steeve Teihotaata1:03:371:02:232:06:0014.00MistralTahiti
11Georges Cronsteadt1:03:141:02:552:06:1012.60425Tahiti
12Enzo Bennett1:02:521:03:342:06:2611.20425Tahiti
13James Casey1:04:331:02:412:07:1410.50SunovaAustralia
14Matt Nottage1:03:551:03:322:07:279.80StarboardAustralia
15Rete Ebb1:04:171:04:252:08:429.10MistralTahiti
16Josh Riccio1:05:411:03:252:09:068.40F-ONEUSA
17Kody Kerbox1:04:161:04:512:09:087.70SICHawaii
18Beau O'Brian1:05:131:04:182:09:317.00StarboardAustralia
19Ryan Funk1:05:011:04:332:09:346.30StarboardUSA
20Arthur Arutkin1:05:341:04:462:10:205.60FanaticFrance
21Auber Tom1:06:311:04:422:11:135.25FanaticFrance
22Bullet Obra1:06:391:05:252:12:044.90HobieHawaii
23Alexandre Bicrel1:07:021:05:102:12:124.55NSPFrance
24Tamarua Cowan1:07:001:05:242:12:244.20MistralTahiti
25Paul Jackson1:06:191:06:142:12:333.85ONEAustralia
26Chase Kosterlitz1:08:211:04:222:12:433.64JPUSA
27Keoni Sulpice1:07:211:05:262:12:473.43StarboardTahiti
28Slater Trout1:05:491:07:142:13:033.22InfinityUSA
29Kelly Margetts1:06:491:06:472:13:353.01Sunova/QBAustralia
30Ben Tardrew1:06:171:07:202:13:372.80ONEAustralia
31Toby Cracknell1:07:161:06:402:13:562.66Infinity/QBAustralia
32Garrett Fletcher1:06:511:07:192:14:102.52YOLOUSA
33Mamadou Romuald1:07:221:07:182:14:402.38--
34Ethan Koopmans1:06:061:08:342:14:402.24NaishSouth Africa
35Noa Hopper1:08:481:06:032:14:512.10404USA
36Vincent Verhoeven1:09:231:08:192:17:421.96NSP/QBFrance
37Ludovic Teulade1:08:291:10:312:18:591.82OXBOWFrance
38Vinnicius Martins1:12:121:06:532:19:051.68JPBrazil
39Tyler Bashor1:09:521:10:022:19:541.54InfinityUSA
40Trent Carter1:10:031:10:522:20:551.40-USA
41Ingo Rademacher1:10:261:10:402:21:061.33-USA
42Jarkko Simonen1:10:351:11:342:22:091.26-USA
43Steve Walker1:12:551:09:412:22:361.19ONEAustralia
44Haakon Hoyer-Nielsen1:12:411:10:002:22:411.12-USA
45Jan Boersma1:10:581:11:492:22:471.05--
46Derek Fromm1:11:521:11:032:22:550.98--
47Rodney Ellis1:11:211:12:112:23:320.91--
48Jeremy Teulade1:12:141:11:522:24:060.84--
49Tim Warner1:11:561:12:372:24:340.77--
50Bojan Bernard1:12:061:12:582:25:040.70--
51Jeramie Vaine1:13:001:12:432:25:430.00--
52Itzel Delgado1:12:101:13:422:25:510.00--
53Tommy Buday1:12:321:13:322:26:050.00--
54Dave Boehne1:13:121:13:192:26:310.00--
55Bill Kraft1:13:181:14:092:27:270.00--
56Spencer Lazzar1:15:501:14:132:30:020.00--
57Ben Grodner1:14:311:15:332:30:040.00--
58Brian Schmid1:15:101:16:472:31:570.00--
59Elijah Schoenig1:16:161:15:502:32:060.00--
60Andy Fermo1:16:401:16:032:32:440.00--
61Lee Mclean1:16:081:16:372:32:450.00--
62Miguel Beltran1:16:441:16:022:32:460.00--
63Zach Rounsaville1:16:041:17:362:33:400.00--
64Dave White1:18:361:16:402:35:160.00--
65Scott Vande Vusse1:17:191:21:162:38:360.00--
66Kyle Ellison1:20:311:22:122:42:430.00--
67Leo Dan Miller1:22:301:22:292:44:590.00--
68Jeffrey Oltman1:25:321:28:002:53:330.00--
69Darrell Horton Ii1:29:541:31:053:00:590.00--
70Kai LennyDNS1:03:31n/a0.00--
71Giorgio Gomez1:08:28DNSn/a0.00--
72Eric Leonard1:42:51DNSn/a0.00--
73Blessed Ndlovu Maratuza1:43:49DNSn/a0.00--



Women’s Double Downwinder

#AthleteRun #1Run #2OverallPointsBrandNation
1Fiona Wylde1:07:091:09:452:16:5472.00StarboardUSA
2Annabel Anderson1:10:391:11:512:22:3054.00NCPNew Zealand
3Annie Reickert1:11:291:13:062:24:3443.20NaishHawaii
4Angela Jackson1:12:281:12:522:25:2036.00ONEAustralia
5Hannah Hill1:11:151:14:132:25:2830.60NaishUSA
6Penelope Strickland1:13:011:14:072:27:0825.20Starboard/QBNew Zealand
7Terrene Black1:13:241:14:352:27:5921.60ECS/QBAustralia
8Candice Appleby1:14:091:15:092:29:1718.00Infinity/QBUSA
9April Zilg1:14:251:16:452:31:1016.20HobieUSA
10Seychelle Hattingh1:15:451:15:372:31:2214.40SICUSA
11Andrea Moller1:13:131:18:342:31:4712.96SICHawaii/Brazil
12Jade Howson1:15:091:17:432:32:5311.52RivieraUSA
13Shae Foudy1:15:421:17:552:33:3710.80RivieraUSA
14Kali'a Alexiou1:18:201:21:082:39:2710.08-USA
15Tamlyn Bohm1:19:171:21:322:40:499.36--
16Mariecarmen Rivera1:19:381:22:182:41:568.64--
17Jennifer Lee1:20:061:23:002:43:057.92Blue PlanetHawaii
18Sarah Sandstrom1:20:431:22:382:43:217.20--
19Erika Benitez1:21:181:23:362:44:546.48BrawnerUSA/Mexico
20Shannon Bell1:22:121:23:402:45:525.76StarboardCanada
21Stephanie Shideler1:23:191:24:042:47:235.40--
22Misako Yamamoto1:23:041:25:292:48:345.04--
23Kristy Morris1:24:291:27:392:52:084.68--
24Mary Howser1:26:591:28:412:55:404.32-USA
25Kiyomi Sheppard1:27:231:28:272:55:493.96-Japan
26Chloe Walkerdene1:28:481:30:052:58:543.74JPAustralia
27Ehiku Rademacher1:31:271:29:353:01:023.53--
28Kira Buchanan1:33:221:43:173:16:403.31--
29Izzi Gomez1:24:34DNSn/a3.10StarboardUSA



Results from all divisions

You can find the results from all races and divisions over on Paddle Guru. We’ll continue posting them here later tonight.