404 BENCH RACING - THE 25th ANNUAL HANOHANO RACE
The 25th annual Hanohano Race was a huge success.
In the hotly contested SUP race, over 140 SUP paddlers from all over California, Arizona Oregan and Nevada, arrived for a chance to knock off 404 and Hippostick owner and 5 time defending champion Danny Ching to take the first big race of the year in socal. Off the line it was clear that the 404 team captain Danny Ching was is good form. Danny used his V3X and Mana blade to accelerate off the line and establish a lead from the start. Danny was closely followed by a few familiar faces include Chuck Glynn, Tyler Basher, Jake Graham, and Thomas Nilsen. The train quickly stretched into a long single file line as the group made their initial turn into the dumping outgoing tide. Running solo on the outside and trying not to get caught out of the group was young phenam Tyler Basher. He made his way from the middle of the group right up alongside, and then in front of Danny. Tyler settled in for a hot second and then decide to put a push on. This extra effort split the lead group in to the contenders and the protenders. Less than 2 miles into the race, and it was clear it was going to be just Tyler and Danny racing it out for the win. Just behind and off the draft of the two leaders, Thomas Nilsen, Chuck Glenn and anyone unlucky enough to be caught behind them slowly slipped back, knowing they were all now racing for 3rd. In the lead, Tyler and Danny traded leads worked together for the next mile, carefully navigating through the maze of surfskis, OCs, and kayaks that had started 3 minutes in front of the SUPs. Watching the two leaders, it seemed that neither one was able or willing to try and separate. It seemed as if the race would come down to a sprint finish at the end. However, with over a mile to the finish, as Danny and Tyler were over taking an OC1, Tyler broke of Danny’s wake and decided to run solo left of the slower OC1 while Danny pushed on and decided to pass right. Danny saw this split as an opportunity to make a push and put Tyler under pressure. Danny pushed hard to get around on the outside first and did. Tyler recognizing his mistake put on a huge effort to close the gap back down. He got within a few board lengths but was outlasted by Danny on the huge effort. Now running with the dumping tide, Danny swung out wide to use the current and a high cadence to slowly start pulling away. Tyler made 1 more attempt at closing that gap, but it was too late. He was in no man's land. Too far behind to chase back up, but far enough ahead of the next group to not want to wait for them. Danny and his mana blade and V3X powered away to finish just a minute in front of Tyler. Tyler was able to hold his 1 minute lead over the remainder of the main group, which had been whittled down to just young super star Thomas Nilsen 3rd and Chuck Glynn 4th.
In the women’s SUP race, the top racers lined up side by side. April Zilg, Jade Howson, Abby Baker, and Erika Benitez were some of the favorites off the start line. April was coming off an incredible 2019 season which saw her compete in every major race from Carolina Cup to Hood River, to the APP tour (finishing 2nd Overall). Her ambition in race was to participate and help out fellow team riders. As it typically does at the Hanohano race, athletes sprinted to the first left hand bend creating several opportunities for draft trains. Today is was Jade Howson leading out the pack, closely followed by Erika Benitez. Just off the back, the rest of the women worked hard to stay in contact, but slowly slipped away as they hit the outgoing tide. Going under the first bridge, the shake up in the main women’s field begin. April Zilg followed closely by fellow 404 andhippostick teammate Abby baker, had begun to slowly crawl back toward the lead group. Jade seemly noticed what was inevitably going to happen, and sat up to wait for them. As soon as the group was together, Jade put on another push which was just enough to knock Erika off the draft train and into the next group back but not strong enough to eliminate the 404/Hippostick team off April and Abby. Jade continued to pull the train for the next few miles, refusing to let anyone else take the lead. Her solid pace was eventually too much for young Abby Baker who fell off to the group just behind. Jade lead April toward the last right hand turn where it seemed to be a two person race, however, April helped coach and will her teammate Abby back into the group just in time for a long sprint finish. Jade powered to the finish line as April launch Abby to the finish. Jade maintained her power to the finish just ahead of Abby in 2nd and closely followed by April Zilg in 3rd.
Written by 404/Hippostick. photos: scott shannon
April Zilg, Riley Jaggi, Abby Baker
Sara from NoSnow