Thursday, November 22, 2012


Hennesssey's / WPA World Championships  11 / 3rd &4th / 2012.

By EJ Johnson

Fortunately I am luckey enough to have the time and will to have qualified for the Worlds, and not to mention the amount of $ it costs to do so, with that said " Big thanks to YOLO Board for their SUPport this past year".

The event was held in one of the worlds most unique places / climates "Baja Sur", I have traveled there quite a bit over my surfing days in the last three decades, having nothing but awesome experiences,some bad some good, but none the less, BAD A$$!

The event was a two day venue, which featured a point to point 11.5 mile downwind run on Saturday, and a diamond shaped 4.5 mile technical course.
Day one: From our hotel (Royal Solaris-San Jose Del Cabo) we all jumped in this large tour bus, which took us on this washed out road from the recent hurricanes, towards the East Cape and a point called Punta Gorda.
Nothing is ever easy in Mexico, so the bus could not go any further and we had to walk a bit to get to the start line, where our boards were supposed to be?

 But where are they? Then Jay Wild of (Hobie) yelled out " about 50 yards down the beach at Jeff Alter's house (HobieSports)

We fin up our boards and head to the start line, which by the way is another 100 yrds up the beach!

We were honored to have Yolo Board East Coast's Coach Gary Wise running the starts and finishes. No cheating with Big Aussie Gary on the front lines!
It was a mass start for the women's men's elite, followed by the open division.

The elite YOLO team had worked out a drafting plan, if it was flat water, but it is blowing downhill at 10 knots, so it's everyman for himself!
We were all pretty close, and then Sean P and I grabbed some bumps and took off. Sean then linked up some more and left G-PA (me) behind,but I settled in knowing that only one guy in my age division was in front of me, and Sean was chasing him down slowly.

I enjoyed the bumps and the scenery with a now 15 knot tail wind, and lived in the moment. YOLO

 I finished in a solid 7th overall mens elite 14' division and 2nd in 40-49 age, behind my friend and nemesis "Byron Kurt"

Day Two:  Technical course at Palmilla Beach.

The plan was to complete a diamond shaped course off the beach, but the wind had increased, with gusts at 25 knots, so Gary Wise and Byron Kurt (WPA) put their heads together and changed it, to help ease some of the pain.
Once again, it was a mass start with a one minute separation between the men and women. We started,in a standing position on the beach, with our boards at our sides holding the top rail not the handle. As the race started into the headwind I realized I was not as recovered from Saturday, It couldn't have been the 12 plus Tecate cerveza's I drank Saturday in celebration of top 10, being in Mexico, being alive? YOLO
It was a five lap race, with a short self assisted beach run with your board, which proved tricky in the wind. I never fell in, but was very close to it most of the time. I finally got into a decent groove during the 5th and final lap, and was stoked to finish 2nd in the 40 -49 age class again. No complete results yet, WPA is still waiting on SUP Mexico to send them up.

Long Course 11,5 miles P@P

MErnest JOHNSON1:52:1014'740-492
Sean Pangelinan (AKA "Sean P from Guam")
5MSean PANGELINAN1:49:4714'518-293
Justin Cook (AKA C00KIE)
9MJustin COOK1:55:0614'818-295

Matt Wise 
14MMatt WISE1:58:5914'1117u1

Congrats to my team mates for a Solid representation in San Jose Del Cabo!

The award ceremony was overall off the hook, with 5 star cuisine, and bottles of Tequila being passed around the dance floor. Thanks to Mike Downey for getting me back to the hotel, otherwise who knows where I could have ended up that crazy night!  YOLO

We had a killer time staying at a really nice all inclusive resort " Royal Solaris " G00D F00D/ Great BEER/ G00D Service!

A final thanks to Jeff and Mitzi Acher of Yolo Board for your support as a team captain / paddle designer / family member :+)

EJ Johnson

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Catalina Challenge 2011.

Catalina Challenge 2011.
Two man 14' relay: featuring Starboard International Dream Team Members : Bart De Zwart ( Maui ) and E.J Johnson ( Dana Point,Ca.
And world reknown skipper : Capt. James White.

Bart's story.

The Catalina Challenge, 39.5 miles from Catalina island to Dana point.
Team Starboard, Ernest Johnson & Bart de Zwart
The day before the race we took EJ’s sailing boat to Catalina Island. A light head wind promised good tailwinds for a smooth down wind race tomorrow. But things would turn out different than expected.
About 60 racing teams of which 25 SUP came for this race. This race is a team effort. EJ and I were team STARBOARD. A lot of the big names and big brands came to the race. But we are confident. We feel strong and have a fast board, a STARBOARD ACE 14’
Just before the start we hear that the promised tail wind might be turning into a head wind. There are dark clouds on the horizon but for now the sun is still shining.
I started the race in a fast but controlled pace. Collin and Dane Deboer and I were right at the front of the pack. Most teams raced in the 14 foot class. Since our escort boat was a sailing boat, our changes weren’t as smooth as the teams with small motor boats. But we managed to get ahead. We had a rhythm of 30 minutes of paddle and then the next one took over.During the 30 minutes recover time we drank eate, and drank and before you knew it was time to start paddling again. After a couple hours team Hobie, team Quickblade and Team rivera were all still very close. Suddenly it got the clouds were moving in and then wind picked up and we made good time on everybody. Paddling was hard and to keep the board moving became a struggle with the wind and chop straight in our face. The next couple of hours we were pulling away from Team Hobie and team Rivera. Team Quick bald was still on our tail. Although we were fast and making good progress our man changes were still taking a lot of time compared to team quick blade. After being in the lead for more than 5 hrs , the wind died down and they came along side and had another fast transition. Dana point was getting nearer now. With every transition we had to turn the sailing boat 180 degrees before we could make the change. Costing a lot of time because a sailing boat takes more time to slowdown. We could stay in close range of first place but they were ahead of us. After just over 7 and a half hours of paddling we turned in the Harbor of Dana point with just team quick blade with Jimmy Terrell and Dane Deboer just over 100 yard ahead of us we got second place.
A long day, a long and fierce battle for 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th place, and an awesome experience.
Thanks Starboard for those fast boards and EJ for the nice days on his boat.

EJ's Story,

This was my 5th yr doing the Catalina Challenge, and each has had it's own unique quality about it. The channel may be one of the toughest, because it is so unpredictable. 2011 reports promised 12 -16 knot NW winds, which is right at our backs, so everyone was pumped on a down winder.
That night I heard or felt hardly any wind, which got me thinking the weather was changing for the worse. The skies in the morning were partly sunny, which seemed to keep everyones spirits high. Start time was 8:30 am, Bart was on the line to start the race, along with teams from Hobie, Bark/QB, Ohana, Riviera, Kings, Infinity. This yr offered a diverse group of teams,with two- 3 women teams, co ed, and a 4 person father/ son. father/ daughter team, who had new grom Starboard team rider Nick Scheel (12yrsold).
We did 30 minute on and 30 off to start, which seems to be the best formula for the two man team. Bart got a great start staying with the lead pack, but not burning himself out. Our 1st exchange was a little shaky, and I jumped on and within 5 min I passed my nemesis paddler Byron Kurt and then got right behind team QB, our next exchange was the worse one of the day, me having to keep going and then have the boat catch up.
About 8 miles out, the wind switched to a 10 knot S/E head wind with scattered showers, which was actually in our favor, because our 14' ACE works really well in those situations. So Bart started powering though that nasty stuff and took the lead, which we kept until the wind shut down.
It was a close race the entire 40 mi, changing leads 3 to 4 times. On my 2nd to last leg, Jim Terrell and I were battling for the lead, and he got a better line than I, and he gained a 100 yards, which they maintained all the way to the harbor entrance buoy. Bart jumped on about a mile outside the harbor and charged all the way to the finish line, gaining good ground in the flats, coming in only 1 minute 19 seconds behind the 1st place 14' 2 man winners.
What another great channel experience, with a awesome team mate! Very Stoked to be part of the Starboard International family.
Unofficial Results:
Catalina Challenge 2011
1 SUP-U (3), Open - Men 7:06:04 Gallagher/Rojas/Vela
2 SUP-U (3), Open - Men 7:17:48 Matero/Shahinian/Rambo
1 SUP-14 (2), Master - Men 7:34:58 DeBoer/Terrell
1 SUP-14 (2), Open - Men 7:36:17 De Zwart/ EJ Johnson ( Starboard )
2 SUP-14 (2), Master - Men 7:40:42 Scottsdale/Starnes
1 SUP-14 (3), Open - Men 7:58:02 Emory/Kho/Pascoe
2 SUP-14 (2), Open - Men 7:59:28 Kurt/McPhillips
2 SUP-14 (3), Open - Men 8:06:36 Donnelly/ McDonald
1 SUP-U (2), Open - Men 8:16:00 Glinn/Harrison
3 SUP-14 (3), Open - Men 8:16:50 Calandra/George/Springer
1 SUP-14 (2), Open - Coed 8:18:51 Baus/Morrisey
SUP-14 (3), Open - Men 8:29:37 Smith/Swoot/Vaughan
1 SUP-14 (3), Master - Men 8:33:21 Frey/Huddle/Welch
1 SUP-14 (3), Open - Women 8:39:26 Strazulla/Wolfe/Zuhr
3 SUP-14 (2), Master - Men 8:41:06 Cooper/Meter
1 SUP-14 (4), Open - Coed 8:46:26 Erickson/Munoz/Munoz/Poppler
SUP-14 (2), Master - Men 8:53:29 Mosher/Zulim
3 SUP-U (3), Open - Men 8:53:32 Benedict/Connor/English
2 SUP-14 (3), Master - Men 9:08:53 Meffert/Tingle/Wright
2 SUP-14 (3), Open - Women 9:22:20 Plunkett/Thomas/Wenzel
1 SUP-14 (2), Open - Women 9:22:50 Lee/Nelson
3 SUP-14 (3), Master - Men 9:27:36 Brostowicz/Perna/Swanecamp
2 SUP-U (2), Open - Men 9:32:52 Campbell/Campbell
1 SUP-U (4), Open - Coed 10:34:51 Clark/Clark/Scheel/Scheel

Monday, September 6, 2010

Road Trippin' & Jet Settin' By E.J Johnson.

We have been going non stop since July 28th, when we disembarked to Utah on the 700mi hi-way trek to theH20 OverDrive SUP Cup in Park City. at Jordanelle Reservoir in our 2003 custom EJ built Freight Liner Sprinter van.

We stopped in at one of my all time favorite towns " BEAVER ", Utah, and headed up the mountain to a special place called Anderson Meadow to enjoy some clean 8500' mountain air, after driving all day.

This event included an open race and a pro 14' class, which was the first one where all the top guys met, to battle it out on the same size board.
The smaller lighter guys ( myself included ) prefer the 12' 6" class, where the larger heavier guys like the extra foam in the 14' class.
The pro race was a 5mi closed coarse trapezoid / M shape with a small beach run to make it more spectator friendly.

Stoked to have placed 8th, among such great paddlers and friends!
Here's the top ten results :

1 35 TROUT, Slater pro men 00:50:09 0 00:50:09
2 11 ROJAS, rob pro men 00:51:19 0 00:51:19
3 33 KURT, Byron pro men 00:51:38 0 00:51:38
4 25 WILD, Jay pro men 00:51:58 0 00:51:58
5 29 MCPHILLIPS, colin pro men 00:52:07 0 00:52:07
6 13 PATTERSON, Chuck pro men 00:52:20 0 00:52:20
7 28 RAMBO, Brandon pro men 00:53:24 0 00:53:24
8 24 JOHNSON, EJ pro men 00:53:25 0 00:53:25
9 07 CURRY, Chris pro men 00:53:40 0 00:53:40
10 02 HILL, Chris pro men 00:55:38 0 00:55:38

Many Thanks to The Doc and Betsy Risner for opening up their doors to us and many friends from across the country, Florida, North Carolina and so on.
We made many new friends on this road trip!

Next stop The Big Apple , New York City.....8 / 12 / thru 8 / 14.

Wow, what a contrast compared to Dana Point Harbor, where we call home! This place really is a concrete jungle!!!!!
Well, after a crazy cab ride and a 6hr red eye flight, we arrived to our hotel in the Wall Street district. And met up with our Starboard East coast rep Mark Colino, from Jersey!
He knows the lingo around here and is a pretty big guy, so we felt a little safer. (LOL) We had a great Italian dinner with lots of pasta , bread and of coarse my favorite "BEER".

Next day we arise to sunny skies and 80 degree temps, which is so much better than the 100 F mark a few days prior. I'm already feeling the nerves, knowing that I'm gonna be
on the board for a least 4 1/2 to 5 hrs with who knows what kind of conditions!

It's funny all the ups and downs you go through on such a long paddle, but all in all it was a beautiful experience!
It was so cool to go under all those huge bridges, hearing people screaming at you like you are crazy! ( maybe just a little )

I hit the wall at mile 20 getting muscle spasms and cramps, that sent me to a little island on the Harlem / East river split.
I stretched and took some B vitamins and more goos' ( I hate that stuff ) to try anything at that point. I looked up and saw two of my competitors sail past me, and that was enough
motivation to get my punk ass back on the board and finish this race. I caught and passed one of the guys, and almost got the 4th place position.
I finished in 5th place in 4 hrs 29min.

The White Water party in the evening was spectacular, with views of the city lights and awesome food and entertainment.

The next ext day we had a few hrs to check out the city and play tourists around Manhattan, before hopping back to So Cal.
We walked around the Wall St. area and Ground Zero, which a was a huge reminder of 9-11! Heartfelt to the core........
Also, I would like to thank my friends and sponsors,for donating $1,500.00 to the Sea Paddle organization to fight Autism,
which is what this event is first and foremost for!

NYC Sea Paddle Elite 14’ SUP Mens':
1. #71 3:56 Thomas Maximus Shahinian (Ohana Paddleboards)
2. #44 4:01 Slater Trout
3. #49 4:01:30 Will Reichenstein (Ohana Paddleboards)
4. #59 4:28 Mark Temme
5. #36 4:29:30 Ernest Johnson (Starboard)
6. #38 4:31:30 Billy Mehl (Island Surf & Sail)
7. #23 4:37:30 John Beausang (Distressed Mullet)
8. #33 4:52 Shane Boyle
9. #30 4:57:30 Jason Colclough (SideArm Surf & Skate/ Surfer's Healing NC)
10. #45 5:21:30 Mark Colino (Starboard \ No Flat Earth)

3rd stop, Lake Tahoe Ca.....8 / 16 / thru 8/ 23.
Tahoe Nalu Event.

One of my favorite drives, is up the Interstate 395 through the Owens Valley with the Eastern Sierra Nevada on the left, and Death Valley to the right.
We are fortunate enough to caravan and camp with the infamous Mickey and Peggy Munoz, at Lake Mary in The Mammoth Basin ( 8,910 elv.)
The first day of paddling is a bit shocking to the system, coming from sea level, but we struggle through it doing some interval training and then some 12 oz curls in the afternoon.
We spent two nights there, and then headed to our final destination on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe at Sandy Beach campground, which was booked mostly
by standup paddlers. Thursday and Friday were mostly mild with sunny skies, but the word on the beach for race day was high winds and scattered showers.
Lake Tahoe is a very large body of water that can develop good size waves, which came true on Saturday.
First off was the open 5mi race that showed a great turnout of over 200 paddlers, including my wife Andrea.
The conditions were definitely challenging with wind and waves coming at their right side on the way down to the first mark, and then opposite for the leg back.
I watched and waited on the beach, being more nervous for the folks out there, than I get doing it myself!
Everyone eventually made it in safe and sound, and I started getting myself mentally prepared for the Elite 14' race.
The Pro coarse was in my opinion easier than the open race, because we headed straight out, and then slightly diagonal to a mark then straight back for a short beach run.
Four laps of 1.25mi made for a pretty fast short race, where I managed to get 11th, with fellow team rider Dan Gavere only seconds behind.

Place Name Age Time Bib# Board Mfg

1 Danny Ching 27 33:25 268 A 404
2 Rob Rojas 36 35:18 271 OHANA
3 Chuck Patterson 41 36:54 263 HOBIE
4 Jay Wild 30 37:11 260 LAHUI KAI
5 Byron Kurt 99 37:29 252
6 Colin McPhillips 35 37:49 262 HOBIE
7 Mitch Kahn 50 38:50 250 HOBIE
8 Rob Pelkey 42 38:58 255 HOBIE
9 Matthew Becker 99 39:12 246
10 Tyson Poppler 24 39:24 256 A 404
11 Johnson Ernest 47 39:35 265 STARBOARD
12 Dan Gavere 40 39:38 273 STARBOARD
13 Dane Morrissey 99 39:56 254
14 Dan Eberhardt 43 41:33 269 RIVIERA
15 Brian Haag 99 42:01 248
16 Jim Terrell 45 42:30 275
17 Rambo Brandon 21 42:49 267 A 404
18 Hunter Claxton 25 43:09 277 NASH
19 Beau Whitehead 41 45:09 258 NAISH
20 Seth Springer 33 46:35 257 BARK
21 Chris Brackett 41 55:16 270 KINGS

Day two: Tahoe Nalu 10 mi. Long coarse. 14' Division 585 Prototype NEW.

Chuck Patterson, Byron Kurt, EJ.

We had another great night at the campground, partying with the big Ohana of paddlers sharing the fireside talking story!
Listening to the wind with one eye open, hoping for some good conditions for tomorrow I slept a bit restless in my cheap Kmart sleeping bag.
Woke up to bluebird skies, and a bit of wind which was to increase to 15 to 20 knots by race time.
I was stoked to get some downwind racing today, which also meant we had 5 mi straight into it, and believe me, it was a solid 5!
I had a great race placing 4th in the 14' class, against the same solid group.
My family and I had a killer time in Tahoe, and I am so happy my 17 year old daughter Karina joined us on this epic trip.
It means so much to spend time in nature with ones family, I am very blessed......

4th Stop, Jever World SUP Cup, Hamburg Germany. 8 / 25 thru 8 / 31.

I was so excited when I got my second invitation to the Jever World Cup, which will be our last stop on the EJ & Andie tour, at least till another one comes up!
We left on a Wednesday to get there and have a bit of time to adjust to the 7 hr time difference. We got picked up at the airport by the Jever shuttle driver "Perry" (awesome guy) and took us to the Arcotel Hotel,
which is about a 5 minute drive to race site at the Hafen City. We tried to check in, but it's 3:00 pm in Europe, so we put our baggage away and ran into Naish team rider Karen Wren.
She had just gotten in as well, and was jet lagging too, so we decided to go have a look around the area. We talked about needing some hydration and saw a small market and grabbed
some waters and heading down the street.

It wasn't far before EJ spotted his type of refreshment stand! Sweet, a Carlsburg stand right by the city hall, so I had to sample one!

We had a nice Thai dinner, with some of the other competitors and got to sleep early.

Friday was check in, and unpacking boards, then a fun relay race for the manufactures.

Saturday was the open race and the pro sprint qualifiers, which I failed to make, coming in 4th in a very stacked heat as only the top 3 go through!
Both Starboard pro team mates John Hibbard and Bart Du Zwart made it through to the finals, and this will be an interesting final, with a lot of fast guys hitting that first buoy turn.
Next up was the women's 5000 meter amateur stock and open race, which my wife Andrea will be using a Starboard 12' 6" Surfrace.
She got a great start and never looked back, and went on to a first place overall!!!! Yeah Andie...

Meanwhile, while Andie is on the podium, I am hanging with some of my German buddies sampling their basement home brews! Ahhh - sooo good!!!

We had yet another great dinner with the crew, after sweating out some of that very strong beer in the hotel sauna, then off to bed.

Sunday, the sprint finals and the 10,000 meter long coarse around the floating island, where the event is held. (AKA Haffencity)
The sprint final was interesting as expected, having one of the top guys ( Jerry Bess ) taking a spill shortly after the start.
Then at the first turn Starboard rider Bart Du Zwart got T-Boned taking him out of contention, but British John Hibbard
held in for third!

JEVER SUP World Cup Hamburg 2010
Final Ranking
Sprint Distance MEN Professionals
Place Firstname Name
1 Eric Terrien
2 Xavier Masdevall
3 John Hibbard
4 Bart de Zwart
5 Paul Jackson
6 Jerry Bess
7 Olaf Schwarz
8 Moritz Martin
9 Stephan Etienne
10 Noyelle Renaud
11Pouget Pascal

Sunday, 1:30 pm 10K Long Coarse.
The weather was looking nice for the distance race, and everybody was stoked!
We lined up all the way across the top of the channel, so as to have enough room to spread out before ducking under the footbridge.
The course was ten laps counter clockwise around the floating dock, which supports all of the vendors and booths.
The start was good for me, but I failed to stay with the top 3 and was unable to draft at all ( not that I am okay with drafting, but in Europe it is on ! )
So I settled in at a nice pace and enjoyed all of the cheering you get when you come around a corner, it was like a pro cycling event feel!
I would let out some crazy screams every lap to one pack of folks who took some humor in me, which made it all the more fun, that is why we do SUP, Right?
To have FUN!!!! It's great to win sometimes, and be competitive, but it is the camaraderie and friendship that sets this sport apart!
I did manage to pass team mate John Hibbard, and was trying to catch Spaniard Xavier Masdevall, but didn't have the extra turbo power that day!
I came in 6th overall, and stoked just to be a part of this amazing event, which was run like clockwork. The Yankee race promoters need to take note of how well this gig went off.
Worth noting is how well team mate Annabel Anderson did getting 2nd on a 12' 6" Starboard NEW against a 14'ers. Watch for Annabel in the future, she is just getting started in the race scene,
and I expect she will go far! Props to Bart de Zwart who also was on a 12' 6" Starboard NEW, coming in tenth. The awards winded down the day, it started to rain and we needed to catch
a ride back to the hotel, our shuttle had already left us because like always, I was talking story and drinking more beer! Eric Terrien and the Nidecker crew let us pile into their already packed mini van.
I would like to reflect once again, about what I love about this sport, are the great people you meet along the way. So Stoked to be who and where I am in this fantastic sport called SUP!!!!

JEVER SUP World Cup Hamburg 2010
Final Ranking
Long Distance MEN Professionals
Place Firstname Name
1 Eric Terrien
2 Paul Jackson
3 Jerry Bess
4 Gaetan Sene
5 Xavier Masdevall
6 Ernest Johnson
7 John Hibbard
8 Casper Steinfath
9 Moritz Martin
10 Bart de Zwart
11 Nika Leonard
12 Stephan Etienne
13 Mike Ellicock
14 Noyelle Renaud
15 Elliot Dudley
16 Peter Holiday
17 Nacho Alvarez
18 Gasbarro Fabrizio
19 Rick Jensen
20 Arnd Schäftlein
21 Charlie Grey
22 Brian Talmer
23 Christian Hahn
24 Klaas Voget
25 Carsten Krumis
26 Pascal Pouget
27 Matthias Neumann
28 Guido Meier
29 Thilo Schmitt
30 Abel Cathelineau
31 Robert Etienne
32 Tony Fuentes

Many thanks to all my sponsors whom without, my travels would not be possible!
Sponsors: Body Wise, Curtis Fins, H20 Overdrive, Honolua, Kreed Eye Wear, On It Pro,
QuickBlade Paddles, Sambazon. SUP Company, Trunq, Watermans Applied Science, 2XU.
And most of all Svein and the entire crew at Starboard!

See you on the water!
EJ Johnson.