How To Lose Your Board And Your World Series Title Hopes In One Go (Hint: It Involves Big Waves)
Boss Man’s note: Australia’s Angie Jackson is one of the hardest training women in stand up paddling. The Fanatic International rider has had a long season, one which was cruelly punctuated by a freak incident at Turtle Bay on the weekend. It involved a combination of big waves and broken equipment that dashed her hopes of a title win. However the episode has only hardened Angie’s resolve to come back fitter and faster in 2015. Here’s how it all unfolded…
My season may be done and dusted however I’m not feeling disappointed. Despite the crazy way my year ended at Turtle Bay a couple of days ago, now that I’m sitting on the plane back home to Australia I’m feeling excited and determined – I can’t wait to get home and refocus, train harder and come back in 2015.
I think this feeling only comes when an athlete believes they’ve fallen short. I’ve been pretty happy with my results this year but the one thing I wanted at the start of it was to win the Stand Up World Series title. And I fell painfully short, finishing in second place after my board literally washed away from me in the final race. After all the training and effort I put into the year, I feel like there’s something missing… I still want more haha.
The Stand Up World Series Finals at Turtle Bay was crazy.
The waves were massive and conditions very intimidating for racing. However I was super focused as I knew I just had to finish ahead of my friend/rival Lina Augaitis to claim the overall Series title.
After a solid second place in the distance race, which included a pretty sketchy paddle out through the channel at the start (see the shot of Zane above!), I was in a great position heading into the finals. I basically just had to hold my nerve and I’d be able to claim the trophy. Only a huge, terrible mistake could have cost me at that point.
But that’s exactly what happened…
Right near the end of the sprint race final on day two (where I just had to finish in a respectable position and I’d reach my goal!), something went horribly, horribly wrong. Three massive set waves, maybe the set of the day, came through and cleaned me up completely.
The first wave hammered me but the second wave did the real damage – the big, rolling wall of whitewater literally tore my leggie (that’s a “leash” for non-Australians 🙂 clean out of my board. That sent my 12’6 hurtling towards the shore and by the time it stopped it was at least 100 metres away from me.
Having to swim off course for a couple of minutes is a pretty big disadvantage in a five minute sprint race…
So basically my race was done as soon as the leggie snapped. I couldn’t believe it. I can’t even describe what was going through my head when the leash plug went PING. I was so pissed off haha! Not just because I lost my board (I don’t think *any* board would have survived that wave) but because I knew straight away that I’d just lost my hopes of winning the World Series title.
All my hard work and busting my arse at training was literally floating away.
Though to make it worse, the set was still rolling in… When I came up I turned around to face the third and largest wave. I don’t think I’ve ever been held under water so long in my life, something that wasn’t made easier by the fact my heart was racing a million miles an hour from what had just happened to my board.
It was quite bizarre getting spun around under water, totally out of control, when at the same time so many emotions were going through my head.
After I came up from the third wave I saw my husband Jacko starting to paddle out to help rescue me. I had a long swim and the sea was still crazy and rough. When he finally got to me I’m pretty sure my language wasn’t the nicest haha 😛 Poor Jacko.
He helped me swim in to where my board was, before I eventually limped to the shore with my tail between my legs. Mother nature had definitely won this round! Ouch!
At that point all I could do was try and breathe and relax. I was so angry but there was nothing I could do to change it. I was already thinking of 2015! As a consolation, I was stoked that if I couldn’t win the World Series title, at least it went to my good friend and sparring partner Lina Augaitis. She’s worked just as hard as I have this year and deserved the accolades!
I also have to thank her and Sonni for being angels and screaming to make sure somebody came and rescued me after my little incident 🙂
After all was said and done, I was just happy to get back in to shore in one piece. After looking at the photos of the set waves I can’t believe it wasn’t worse…
I guess it’s that good old life story of live and learn, and I sure did learn on that afternoon in Hawaii – the whole episode really helped me realize the things I need to work on to make me a better/smarter racer. With every setback there are always great things to learn and this is what I will do. I now know what I have to work on and will give it my all to improve before the big races start up again early next year!
That night I couldn’t really sleep as everything was playing back through my head like a slide show of photos. Like any athlete, when something doesn’t go your way you just have to get up and get on with it.
So now it’s a couple of days later and I’m flying home to reflect on what’s been a hell of a year. I’m super pumped for what 2015 has got in store for me and how determined I am to win this darn World Series title!
I have the biggest respect for all the guys and girls at the elite level of SUP racing and I’m super excited to see how hard everyone will be going next year. Let the pain begin all over again 😀
Also big thank you to Lina for the big hugs once I got back to shore, you are amazing and the best competitor ever. Big congrats to Lina Augaitis and Connor Baxter and all the athletes on what was an awesome 2014.
With my focus now firmly on 2015 I have new goals to achieve, with the Series title being just one of those…
I am determined to see the girls’ side of the sport grow as big if not bigger than the men’s and want to be part of this push forward. So now I also have a new goal of finding a sponsor to help me go further (hint hint for anyone out there 🙂
I also want to see all the best athletes compete together more than once a year, as this is a major part in helping us grow not only our great sport but us as athletes.
xox Angie Jackson