September 29, 2014
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Oh The Humanity… 56 Photos That Show The Greatest Battle Of The Paddle CARNAGE Sequence Of All Time

Battle of the Paddle 2014

Five days until the Battle of the Paddle, which means just five days until we get to see if Salt Creek lives up to the hype: Will we get the waves we’ve been hearing about for months? Will there be all-time carnage? Chaos? Flying paddles? Broken boards?

We, the spectators, can only hope…

Though Salt Creek will have to really turn it on if it’s going to beat Doheny’s storied history of chaos and carnage. Each year we need to look no further than the infamous “Hammer Buoy” – the first inside turn on the Elite Race course – for an endless highlights reel of dings and destruction. And last year’s BOP gave us perhaps the most insane Hammer Buoy carnage sequence of all time…

The images below show the Hammer Buoy on the opening lap of the first Elite Race qualifying heat at the 2013 Battle of the Paddle.

Like a fifty-car pile-up on an icy highway, it was pure chaos. Boards, paddles and paddlers flew in every direction. Slick carbon weapons that had looked brand new at the start of the race were suddenly full of holes. Competitors that had been near the front suddenly found themselves near the back. And while the whole thing was happening, one photographer was clicking away like crazy.

The sequence was captured by the official Battle of the Paddle photographer Danny Franks. And it perfectly sums up why we love the Battle of the Paddle.

This 56-photo-flip-book begins with Danny Ching, miles out in front, rounding the infamous Hammer Buoy. After that the next ten guys (in order: Luiz Guida, Slater Trout, Beau O’Brian, Connor Baxter, Jake Jensen, Riggs Napoleon, Trevor Tunnington, Martin Letourneur, Brennan Rose and finally Eric Terrien) sneak around the bouy just before things start to get crowded. And at the worst possible time: Right when a five-wave set sweeps through Doheny.

That’s when the carnage begins. And as more paddlers and more waves hit the Hammer Buoy, the carnage snowballs.

Oh the humanity…

Enjoy the sequence and let’s all pray for waves at Salt Creek this weekend. If you can’t be there in person don’t worry, we’ll have you covered with our weekend-long Battle of the Paddle LIVE BLOG, which is the headline act of Starboard Battle Week.

Oh and scroll right down to the bottom for a little bonus: video footage of the chaos, at least the latter parts of it. Another little Easter egg: The 56th and final photo in the sequence shows an old concrete pillar, shaped a bit like a hammer, on the beach at Doheny – that’s actually where the Hammer Buoy gets its name…

Battle of the Paddle countdown