Infinity has once again partnered with the world’s leading conservation organization, World Wildlife Fund, on their mission to save the planet’s wild waters and natural places through the WWF’s Virtual Panda Paddle event bringing together all water enthusiasts to paddle their favourite body of water and raise funds for a world-changing cause. “We’ve been involved […]
Swiss paddler and California resident Juerg Geser is both a SUP 11 City Tour and Infinity SUP convert. Each year, he crosses the Atlantic to challenge himself on one of the most epic endurance races in Europe, on his trusty Infinity Whiplash. Just fresh off the 32 miles of the Chattajack race where he finished 29th out 188 paddlers and the fun Dana Point Harbor Hoot, he chats to TotalSUP to explain how he went from being a goalkeeper in Swiss soccer league to forming part of the Infinity family.
Hi Juerg, what is your story? What brought you to California?
I grew up in Sarnen, Switzerland, where I spent the first 29 years of my life, before I moved to the USA. A beautiful woman from California brought me here! I met Nancy skiing in Colorado, back in 1998. We are now married for 23 years! Right now I live right next to the Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard, California. I was a stay-at-home Dad for the first 4 years when I moved to California. I have now working at Deckers Brands for 13 years, the company owns several footwear brands such as HOKA, TEVA, SANUK and UGG. My latest assignment is within the UGG brand where I lead the global merchandising efforts across our direct-to-consumer channels.
How did you get into SUP?
Throughout my life, I’ve always been into sports. I’ve done gymnastics in which I was horrible, then I played as a goalkeeper in Soccer for many years and actually played in the reserve team for the first division Swiss club FC Lucerne. After retirement as a keeper, I continued coaching goalkeepers and started running to stay in shape. I actually ended up doing a few marathons including the Jungfraumarathon at Interlaken, but as you know, keepers are not really made for running. But then I discovered SUP at a Teva Sales Conference in Lake Tahoe.
It all started with my first outing on Lake Tahoe, it was mesmerising, the sensation of gliding on a crystal-clear lake. I was surrounded in glass, calm, peaceful conditions, with just the elements and myself. Then I came across images of the Sup 11 city tour and I just could not resist registrating to paddle on the canals of Friesland. Ever since my first Sup 11 City, in 2016 I have become hooked on long and ultra-distance racing.
What made you adhere to the Infinity brand?
It all started when I met Toby Cracknell, the Australian Sup race was living in Santa Barbara and I had to pleasure to train with him, he was part of the Infinity Speed Freak team and an incredible paddler. So I got to try his board and I just loved how it felt on the water, so he connected me with Dave Boehne to get my first infinity board. The brands means to me family, quality, innovation and fun. I got to know Mel and Dave over the years and some of their athletes such as Tyler Bashor. They make me feel welcome and part of the Infinity family at any event where Infinity is present.
Can you describe your quiver?
I’m lucky to live right next to all possible water conditions. For this reason, my quiver of 3 boards covers all of them. I have 3 Infinity boards: The Whiplash for Flatwater, Downtown for rough conditions and downwind runs, and also the Blackfish, for everything in between. All of them are dugout boards. However, my go to board for flatwater long distance training is my Whiplash and for open ocean the Downtown.
So what is the motivation for entering the 11 City Tour?
Just look at the beautiful landscape of Friesland, how can you resist? Plus I wanted to challenge myself to see what is possible. I did a 32 miles channel crossing between Santa Rosa Island and Santa Barbara the year before to see if I can do the distance. My first time participating in the Sup 11 City tour was in 2016, and this year was my 5th time racing in the 5-day event and also my first time in the grand master class.
The experience has been unique each year and always due to the weather conditions. Since 2016 have experienced every possible weather condition! The worst year was in 2017, on day 2 (day 1 was cancelled due to bad weather), it was cold, rainy and we had massive headwinds, on top of this we had to cover 32 miles to finish in Workum, in order to start on day 3! I was so cold that I needed help to change my clothes. However this year we had beautiful conditions with basically no wind and just sunny days…incredible!
In the SUP 11 city its amazing participating in probably one of the best organized SUP events in the world, while making live long friendships with likeminded paddlers from all around the world. I cracked the top 10 in my age group this year and finished in 6th place, my best result so far, only a few minutes behind 5th place. I’m really happy with the result and felt great the entire race, except day 1 where I just went out to fast and had to pay for it the last 2 hours. I plan to be back in 2023 and will focus on improving skills, strength and speed in 2022, basically doing a little re-set for myself before pushing it again in long distance events.
What is your go to board for the SUP 11 city?
I have paddled the dugout version of the Infinity Whiplash, 23.5″ wide. The Infinity Whiplash has an amazing glide and is stable enough for me, despite my extra pounds which I can’t seem to lose! The board works extremely well with the GTX fin by Larry Allison, this really helps to extend the glide and stability.