August 20–21, 2016, Hood River, Oregon – Bernd Roediger produced his best result of the 2016 race season with a podium finish in the Double Downwinder event at the 2016 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. Also turning heads was fellow Team Naish rider and local standout Hannah Hill, who produced great results including a top 5 finish in the Double Downwinder against an international field.
In it’s sixth year running, the Paddle Challenge has established itself as one of the top SUP racing events in North America drawing the best paddlers from all over the world.
Racing kicked off Saturday, August 21st with the Super Lap Event. The 1-mile course ran in harsh conditions with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even fresh off the plane from a lengthy flight from the Rio Olympics, Casper Steinfath was the top finisher for Naish, while hometown hero Hannah Hill earned the best result for Naish in the Elite Women division.
The real action was on Sunday’s Double Downwind event when the wind turned on and showed why racers love this race so much. Running in two, 8-mile race runs for a combined time overall, Bernd Roediger was flying on his 14-foot Naish Maliko, finishing as first runner up a mere second behind Connor Baxter. Flexing her local knowledge was Hannah Hill finishing 4th at the event overall, taking her ranking to 20th overall on SUPracer.com global rankings. Also making her elite class debut was Maui local Annie Reickert, who’s top ten finish in the second run earned her a 13th place finish overall.
The 2016 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge proved just how much the sport has continued to grow on a global scale with over 350 athletes from all over the world competing. Event organizer Steve Gates was elated with the way the weekend played out: “It was an off-the-charts event. Conditions were perfect: hot and glassy for the Course Race, cranking westerlies (20–30+) for the Downwind Race.” Hood River had also shown that it has grown to be a hotbed of talent with up and comers like Hannah Hill. Said Gates of the latest JET prodigy: “Naish’s #1 female racer is now officially Hannah Hill. And she’s worked [hard] to get there. [She’s] paddled throughout the winter and spring by herself. . . This is a young girl who has never even seen a “silver spoon.” With racing action continuing to be top notch, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.
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