Surf Kayaker, Charles Salters sizes up the shore break at Cape Hatteras before his semi-finals heat in the 2006 US National Surf Kayaking Championships.

September was a great month for me. I spent most of it traveling throughout my sales rep territory to visit retail stores. This time of year is always a busy road time for paddle sport reps. Preseason orders are normally due by the end of Sept, so everyone scrambles about like cockroaches trying to gobble up all the bread crumbs. My fall travels this year started with a welcome stop at Cape Hatteras, NC where the 2006 National Surf Kayaking Championships were under way. I was excited to come away with a National Title in the International Class.

Dave Johnston, from Santa Cruz CA, is always a contender in HP and IC. He did walk away with the HP National Title but I was able to edge him out in the IC finals. He took second, Joey Hall 3rd, Ross Fulcher 4th. Dave was in the first semi-finals heat of the day and pretty much set the standard for what was going to have to be done to win in head high beach break. Lip moves into six inches of water. Some boats were broken. Here is Dave slashing the lip on one of his rides.

Dave is shown here popping a floater in the HP class.

In case you have had no formal introduction or education regarding surf kayaking, there are two separate divisions of competition, International Class (IC) and High Performance (HP). Compared to stand up or board surfing, basically IC is long board and HP is short board but in kayaking there is little or no difference in the way the boat/board is surfed. You can see on the video that the long boats are able to throw radical moves just like the shorties. So I won the IC class at nationals. I compete in both but just happened to do best in IC at this event. My chosen craft is HP. I have a 6’8″ boat, the Charger, that I normally surf. The IC boats are 10′. Most play boaters would never imagine that you could throw a helix or a huge blunt in a 10 foot boat, but with the IC boats it is quite possible. Both boats are equally fun and challenging in their own ways. Anyway, I hope that fills you in a little better if you were unaware.

Russ Buskirk paddles out through shore break in the IC class.

If you haven’t already had a chance to see the highlight video from the Nationals, here it is again.
See the 2006 Nationals VIDEO Quicktime Format

After Nationals I hightailed it up to the DC area for some more retail store visits. Good buddy, Joey Hall, went with me and it was great having his company. Being on the road can get so boring when you’re alone. After DC we spent a day up on the New Jersey Coast with another pal of ours, Drew Hayes. He showed us his local surf break where we were lucky to get a couple nice sessions before heading back south.
These were a couple shots Joey took of me in NJ.

Joey and I headed to Richmond VA afterwards for a Riot demo day with Appomattox River Co. Blog post to come at the Riot blog soon.

I haven’t mentioned throughout all this that my vehicle has been out of commission. My very good man, Rion Smith, loaned me his truck for a month to do all my necessary road time. After returning that to him I thought I was getting my truck back but the repair had been delayed. Mike Byer Auto and Truck Repair is where I have my vehicle worked on in Asheville NC. I highly recommend these folks for auto work. They are honest, straight shooters and they do excellent, thorough work, which is way more than I can say for some other auto establishments in town. Anway, since my truck is not repaired yet, the good folks at Mike Byer loaned me, well, their loaner. The loaner is a Nissan Sentra with quite possibly the best personalized plates I’ve ever come across, no pun intended. It reads MBATR2, which obviously means Mike Byer Auto and Truck Repair… or does it? You can allow your imagination to do the rest on this one. I absolutely had to have my picture taken with this beauty. Thanks Mike Byer!

Come back here and visit soon. I have a big blog post to put up regarding a Green River fund raiser that Brian Miller and I did this summer. Lots of photos, words and video will be included.


Spencer Cooke,

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