Less than 24 hours to go before the start of the 2016 Pacific Paddle Games and Candice Appleby shares with TotalSUP her insights on the most competitive SUP race of the year.
Candice, you were the 1st ever Pacific Paddle Games winner last year, following a long series of consecutive victories at the late BOP. Do you remember how you built your overall victory at PPG 2015? You seemed to master the surf and turns like no one that week-end.
It felt really great to be the first PPG winner, and winning both the distance and course race, was icing on the cake. I had a great season in 2015 that was fueled by a great training regimen with the Performance Paddling Adult training club, incredible support from the Infinity crew and all of my sponsors, and most importantly a renewed and strengthen faith in Christ that kept me confident and focused on God’s true purpose for my life.
Would you say that being a local rider is a big advantage over the competition?
Being local the race venue definitely presents a huge advantage. Traveling to races takes a tole on your body and mind, so being able to wake up in my own bed and drive a couple minutes to the race site is so nice. I’m totally in my comfort zone of life every day leading up to the event. Then of course there is the huge bonus of being able to access that race venue all the time for training. I wish I could say that I paddled at Doheny often, but the truth is, I don’t. I spend a lot more time at San Onofre. But the time that I do spend training and watching Doheny definitely is an advantage, and I’m so grateful to have this race so close to home. Last year we had great waves, which is my absolute favorite type of racing, and this year I think we might have some waves again. I’ve been surfing my whole life, so I get really excited and feel most comfortable when I get to utilize my surfing and wave knowledge in races.
Last year you made it pretty clear to the event that Annabel Anderson was going to be your biggest PPG rival – is it still the case this year? Who are the other girls to watch this year in your opinion?
I really try and not focus on “rivalries” any more. I think rivalries are for drama and media, they don’t help me as an athlete, or do they fuel my spirit. I do my best to focus on my own performance. With that being said, there are some incredible talked athletes. Of course Annabel is one of those amazing athletes to watch. Shae Foudy is really coming into her own as well and has probably spent the most time training out at Doheny this past season. Shae is definitely one of those special athletes to watch for this year and in the next several years to come.
What did you make of the Pacific Paddle Games as an event last year? How different was it from the BOP? Are there any modifications/ improvements that you are hoping for this year?
I had so much fun last year at the PPG. It was a very professional venue and I don’t have any complaints. There were small hiccups in schedule delays, as to be expected for a first time race that is trying to accomplish a lot in two days. The course race was a bit hectic but super fun. From what I’ve heard the new course format and three day schedule look to be the solution to last years minor hiccups. The crew behind the PPG is solid, an I’m really grateful for their hard work and professionalism.
What is it like living and training in San Clemente? What’s your routine? What are your spots? Who are your sparring partners? What makes it one of – if not THE – major hubs of Stand Up Paddle in the world?
Living in San Clemente is great! We have an incredible climate. It doesn’t get too hot in the summer, or too cold in the winter. We have great waves and many different breaks to enjoy them. I spend most of my time surfing at San Onofre which is probably my favorite place in the world. The people are awesome and it’s like a big family down at the beach. It’s a also great to be located just a few miles away from the Dana Point Harbor where I do flat water training with the Performance Paddling Adult Training Club. I also train often with Infinity Teammates, Karl Ring, Dave Boehne and Justin Van Dyck at some local beach breaks in San Clemente. I’m really blessed to live in such a beautiful town with great waves, and have awesome people to paddle with.
You joined Infinity full-time last year. Can you tell us more about that move and about the Infinity brand?
It is so much fun being a part of Team Infinity. We have such solid family of athletes! That’s what we are, a family. Dave Boehne and his parents Steve and Barrie have truly made a special brand that has deep roots in surfing and enjoying the ocean on a multitude of water crafts. From tandem boards, wave skis, longboards, shortboards, sups, prone boards, you name it, Infinity has shaped it and they continue to innovate and inspire. They are truly a humble brand with a heart for the ocean and people. The confidence I have gained from joining their team is immeasurable. Dave is always working so hard on improving race and surf designs, but more importantly he and his family truly care about me as an athlete and a person. There love, friendship and support is a blessing.