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By Devon Barker

The first round of team competition and the prelims and quarterfinals are completed. Valerie and I won both of our prelims heats and quarterfinal heats in High Performance/Open class. We both use Reactions from Murky Waters. Wednesday the team event will continue to cut the teams to the final 4 teams and Thursday will be the Individual semi-finals and Team finals. Friday will be the Individual finals.

The conditions have been hard. It took me 8 minutes to get out this morning for my heat but luckily it did not take too long to get out during my heat. I had four waves but one wave I did a big bottom turn on and as I went back to the lip I lost speed which caused me to have the biggest crash on record for me. My freefall was a couple of seconds followed by
uncontrolled cartwheels where I just kept turning end over end as I knew I would not get tossed as hard it I kept moving with the pile. My Werner still in hand I rolled up and charged back out for one more awesome drop. I picked up my last wave a little behind the peak with 8 seconds left on the clock and charged onto the green for cut backs, a spin, and a finish move to a safe landing on the beach! I cannot thank all the people who ran into the beach dump to drag me up on shore. I still have two open wounds from my first crash on the beach.

Everyone is surfing really well here. There are 250 competitors and 12 Country Teams. Round one cuts to 8 teams. We will know in the morning if we are still in as a team. The country of Portugal really planned a lot for this event. There are bands each night, free lunch for the competitors each day, and an arena with vendors and
viewing areas.

If you like to catch big waves, if you love to carve on green faces, and like to drop huge faces then you should really start surf kayaking! There are divisions for jr, men, women, masters, grand masters, and team. You can follow the events at

It is already late here in Portugal as we just finished dinner at 11 pm. Athlete meeting begins at 7:30 am with the comp at 8. Enjoy the wave but get off before the beach dump!


World Surf Kayak Championships- Take One

The opening Ceremonies were last night (beginning at 10pm…) for the 2009 World Championships in Surf Kayaking. We have boat check in where they inspect the two different divisions to make sure our boats are to the specs and rehearsal for the opening ceremonies. You have to love the schedule here in Europe. The festival site includes a swimming pool on
our beach site where you can cool off and test kayaks, 3 stages, and restaurants. There is a live music throughout the whole festival. The fireworks began at 1 in the morning. I enjoyed them as I walked back to the hotel.

Training in my HP or short boat has been good. I have been working on finish cartwheel moves and spins and blunts on the face of the wave. I have not been able to train in my IC or my long boat as it was not allowed on the plane with me. It is 118 inches but united no longer takes over sized if it is past 109 inches. If you are planning on traveling on United take a look at their website as they have a new oversize/sport equipment section and the prices. The prices now range from$250 to $500 each way. My short boat was $400 one way.

My long boat did get on US Airways with some of my team members and I just used it for the first time. It was awesome! I
am so glad it is here.

The beach dump has softened and my sand rash is healing. My knee is still infected from one landing where I hit the beach, popped my skirt, grabbed my boat and took two steps toward safety when the next wave knocked me down and tumbled me and my kayak together in the beach dump.

Valerie Bertrand is here with me. We are having a great time surfing as she is a really great big wave surfer and really pushes me to try additional moves on the waves. The rest of my USWest team is great and really fun to train and be with them on the team event.

Team and Individual events will run for the next 10 days. Our motto- Enjoy the wave but get off before the beach dump!


Photos can be seen here.

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