An interview with Dan Gavere

I just returned from an amazing trip to Fiji for the 2016 Fiji ISA (International Surfing Association) Stand Up Paddle World Championships on the famous wave of Cloudbreak near the Islands of Namotu and Tavarua.

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What were you up to?

I was hired to be an english announcer for the live webcast show.  This was a ten day event but had some layover days built into it in case of bad weather or small swell.

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Luckily on my birthday we had the day off.  I got to surf at Cloudbreak which was one of the highlights of the trip.

Overhead left hand break in crystal clear 75 degree water and that was an amazing experience.

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My typical day there would consist of an early morning wake up call at 4:30am.  We would ride the bus to the Port of Denarau have breakfast and then board the boats for the 45 minute commute out to the event site.  All of this took about 4 hours from hotel to work location.  Some days I was on a boat following the action and other days in the booth on the island of Tavarua where the Headquarters for the Live Webcast was located.  There we would be setup with a booth and huge monitor showing us the webcast and headsets connected to the producer who would let us know what we should be speaking about, upcoming commercials, tosses to reporters on the water, and basically providing the play by play and technical audio about what was being broadcasted.  We had 5 other monitors and ipads all providing different bits of information like athlete bio’s, time clock for each heat, graphics with scoring information, and even a live feed of the people making comments for us to read while announcing.  It as all very digital high tech and very fast paced.  You have to think on your feet and give information that the audience wants to hear.  I thought that the webcast production team did a great job and it was quite an accomplishment broadcasting the event live from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  The broadcast team consisted of 15 people to make the production happen and there were few small glitches as you can expect but the overall it was professional and lot of fun to be there.  Not to mention we were working in paradise!

What’s trending?

Trending is the whole sport of SUP and this competition is a setup for the Olympics so it emphasizes the Teams and the countries they represent over the individual athletes who were there. The ISA was instrumental in helping the IOC accept surfing into the Olympics for the 2020 Olympics.

We are hoping that the ISA can also help get SUP into the Olympics.

We can only hope so, but its looking good as there were over 30 countries represented in Fiji.

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The standouts in the teams included Team Australia, France, USA, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Brazil. For individual competitors in the surf the standouts in the men’s surfing were: Zane Schweitzer (HI), Mo Freitas (HI), Giorgio Gomez (USA), Thomas King (RSA) who all of which made the final 4.  For the women: Shakira Westdorp (AUS),Izzi Gomez (USA), Brissa Malaga (PER), Caroline Angibaud (FRA) who all made it to the final round but not to be missed is the young Japanese paddler who at 14 was poised and looking strong but suffered an injury and could continue by the name Yuka Horikoshi.

For racing it was Casper Steinfath (DEN), Kai Lenny (HAW), Arthur Arutkin (FRA), Titouan Puyo (FRA), and Slater Trout (USA).  For the women there was a complete surprise finish with Penelope Strickland (NZL) winning it, Olivia Piana (FRA), and Candice Appleby (USA).

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For the long distance which was a gruelling hot day and over 10 miles with some pretty intense current there would be no stopping the Aussie Mike Booth, followed up Titouan Piyo (FRA), and Georges Cronstead (TAH).  In the women’s distance racing Candice Appleby (USA) crushed the field followed by Olivia Piana (FRA), and the young red Bull athlete from Spain in 3rd Laura Quetglas García.

What’s the big news in the SUP world?

These days the race season is winding down and the athletes are heading into the off season.  There was one last big race in France in early December called the Nautique Paris SUP Crossing which sold out to 600 pre-registrations in only 45 minutes!  One of the most beautiful races I have participated in back in 2014 which takes you right through downtown Paris on the Seine River.  Other than this race SUP paddling is not allowed on the Siene River due to such a busy waterway.

Other exciting news from the sport to report would be Stand Up Paddle foil boarding.  Although so far only the most talented have been witnessed successfully doing it like Kai, Laird, Zane and Connor Baxter, its only a matter of time before the engineers figure out the foil to work for common man (I.E. the non-ninjas) and I believe the Gorge will be a great place to do it on the big windy days.

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Dan Gavere spends 10 months a year traveling, 6 of which are in his van.  He’s been an international Champion whitewater kayaker, Champion Whitewater SUP paddler,  along with highly competitive participation in snowboarding, rc car racing, kiteboarding, and all around phenomenal human.  You can see what Dan is up to and see his clinic schedule at dangavere.com.