The US National Championships at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina USA, completed the 2010 surfkayak worldcup season. The Worldcup is run bi-annually in alternate years to the World Championships and gives surf kayakers around the world an opportunity to compete with each other at some of the best locations on the planet and provides an international ranking system.

This years US Nationals brought the Worldcup to the location of next years World Championships, one of the most famous breaks in the United States, Cape Hatteras. Since many of our friends were heading there from all over the Unites States Caroline and I decided to drive down from New York to the event and enjoy some of the last Autumn heat of the year. In addition, several of the top kayakers from Europe also headed over including Edu Etxebeira (current Worldcup holder) and Urko Otoxa (current IC World Champion), both from the Basque Country in Northern Spain.

Edu

For our entire stay, the weather was sunny and in the 70s or 80s without wind and a fun medium sized swell. Having spent a couple of days freesurfing, sunbathing, and hanging out with friends Saturday 9th brought the competition itself. First heat in the mens open; Edu Extxebeira and my good friend Charles Salters from the USA East Coast team. Some fun waves brought me second place to Edu and progress to the next round. In the open my surfing would get better and better with a series of firsts against international competitors until I reached the semi final. And it was stacked with the 3 top Basque paddlers; Edu, Urko, and Julien (who ended up finishing 1st, 3rd, and 9th in the Worldcup series ranking overall). It was tremendous to be out on the water at the later stages of a major international competition with the absolute best in the world. I surfed as well as I ever have in a contests, and was super stoked with my performance even though I was narrowly eliminated. It brought it home how close I was to see Urko and Edu standing anxiously at the scoreboard waiting for the result.

Marc

This contest was also my first entry to a masters (over 40 division), where the quality of paddlers in the US is the best in the World. At least no other Europeans would be in this division. Again, I surfed really well through my heats to make the final against 4 current US internationals, and guys I regularly surf with on my trips across the pond. This heat came directly after my semi in the open so I stayed out on the water as the others paddled out. The next 20 minutes was one of the best sessions I have ever been involved with, as I paddled with some of my closest friends in the sport. Each shouting and hooting the others on as we traded wave after wave after wave in the Hatteras sunshine. I have to say there is nothing like pulling into a coverup in an international final with your buddy down the line calling you on. By the end of the heat I was exhausted after nearly 10 heats in a day, knowing Id surfed as well as I could and had the best fun ever, but also knowing my wave selection in the final hadnt been great it could have gone any way at all.

Marc

That night everyone got together and partied into the early hours, sharing stories from the day, tales from other surf trips, and planning for adventures in the future. Thats one of the best things about surfkayak contests, particularly hosted by the US guys; after hard competition everyone is just friends, stoked to be sharing the same waves, and loving being around like-minded people.

Marc invert

The next morning saw the announcement of the winners around the pool. Earlier in the week, Buck Johnson, Charles Salters and I had entered a team into the fun team event Battle for Hatteras and wed finished third. And in the Masters (my first International Final) I placed second behind my good friend Matt Radis from California. One point from being US National Champion! Also super pleased to finish in the top 20 ranked paddlers in the World for the second Worldcup season.

Buck Johnson

Spencer Cook

Matt Radis

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