River and ocean lifestyles melded today high in the Colorado mountains during the inaugural Eddie Bauer/First Ascent Stand Up Paddle Sprint event at Teva Mountain Games. Today’s historic event was won by 16-year-old rising SUP star Noa Ginella from the North Shore of Oahu who, until this week, had never before paddled in whitewater, let alone ever been to Colorado before he arrived here earlier this week with an all-star cast of big wave ocean surfers to an event dubbed the Olympics of mountain sports.
Whitewater insiders predicted today’s race would be a repeat of the on-water rivalry between the two leading whitewater paddlers, Dan Gavere of Hood River, OR and Charlie MacArthur of Aspen, CO who just earlier in the week finished first and second at a whitewater competition, the second annual Stand Up Paddle Whitewater Championships in Glenwood Springs, CO.
Slipping through unnoticed, Ginella himself was surprised when he found out he had bested the favorite, Gavere, by 16.7 seconds, finishing the three-mile course in 18:15:53. With snow still capping the mountains, Gore Creek was running so hard (about 1200 cubic feet per second when the race kicked off at 10 a.m.) that authorities issued a high flow warning, making Ginella's defeat of river SUP pioneers Gavere and MacArthur even more stunning.
Ginella attributed his victory to deep, easy strokes recommended to him by his mentor and teammate, legendary waterman Brian Keauluna. Keaulana is co-founder of C4 Waterman an innovator and manufacturer of SUP boards and paddles. The company is presenting sponsor of today’s sprint and tomorrow’s inaugural SUP surfcross events here at Teva Mountain Games.
In a training run, where he found himself neck and neck with another mentor, teammate and surfing icon Archie Kalepa, Ginella said he noticed the deep easy strokes helped him keep on pace yet conserve energy against Kalepa who is renowned for his super powerful, fast strokes.
Someone who wasn’t surprised by Ginella’s win was Todd Bradley, co-founder of C4 Waterman, the presenting sponsor of he SUP events at Teva Mountain Games.  “Noa’s an amazing athlete. Anytime we’ve put him in a competitive situation, he excels,” Bradley said.
In all, C4 Waterman’s team of primarily Hawaiian big wave surfers, won six of 10 of the top slots in the men’s division and swept the podium in the women’s division. With a winning time of 21:00:49, Jenny MacArthur of Aspen, CO beat teammate Nicole Duke of Boulder, CO by nearly 37 seconds while Jen Koki of Hawaii glided to third place.
MacArthur said it was a pretty exciting field in the women’s division and felt honored to earn first place. “There’s a great, young field of women coming up, the sport’s growing and it’s definitely here to stay.”
Bradley seconded MacArthur. “I’m especially proud of the women,” Bradley said. “They really helped prove this sport is truly for both men and women.”
In all 40 competitors, six women and 34 men competed in this first-ever SUP sprint.
The favorites for today's race were paddling custom made molded epoxy boards with a 3-inch rigid single fin designed specifically for the rivers. The C4 Waterman iSUP was designed more as recreational crossover for the everyday paddler, constructed out of PVC with three standard issue, flexible plastic fins. Ginella was riding a prototype of C4′s inflatable soon-to-be-released 12’6” iSUP. “I think the iSUPs surprised a lot of people here today,” Ginella said.
 
ABOUT C4 WATERMAN 
C4 Waterman, a Hawaii company, is a pioneer and leader in the evolution of the waterman lifestyle. With more than 100 years of research and development, C4 delivers unmatched design and technology in stand-up paddling. From their Hawaiian homeland, to the ultimate waves of Tahiti; from the whitewater of the Colorado River, to calm freshwater lakes and streams. C4 Waterman’s values are based on the four core principles of the waterman lifestyle: balance, endurance, strength and tradition. To see the complete line of C4 products including epoxy and inflatable boards, paddles, rash guards and accessories, visit www.c4waterman.com. For up to the minute news follow the company on Twitter @C4Waterman and become a fan on Facebook.