The US West Surf Kayak Team for the 2017 World Surf Kayak Championships has been finalized. It has been selected from a ranking list that is compiled from points scored at US west coast contests during the preceding two years.

We would like to thank our Team sponsors: Ear Jellies, Macks, Surf-Fur.

JuniorS 

Victor Bezard

Photo by Mark Boyd

Victor lives with his parents in the San Francisco Bay Area and started kayaking flat water by age 7 (2012). When he turned 11, he avidly took to whitewater kayaking. Comfortable in class III, Victor prides himself on his combat roll. He has very recently started learning surf kayaking, and volunteered to sub for the junior of the US West team who unfortunately could not travel to the World Championship 2017 in Ireland. A sport enthusiast, when not at school, playing soccer or practicing parkour, Victor can be found paddling the South Fork of the American River with his dad and brother, or learning the art of kayak surfing on the Pacific Ocean.

Women

Kelly Marie Henry

Photo by Mark Boyd

Women’s High Performance Kayak

Women’s International Class Kayak

Just two years into the surf kayaking and competition scene, Kelly is taking the women’s field by storm. In her first West Coast competition circuit, she won Queen of the Wave at the Davenport Paddle Surf Classic and the Women’s High Performance category at Santa Cruz Paddlefest thus securing herself a spot on the 2017 US West Team. Kelly will compete for her first time internationally at the upcoming World Surf Kayak Championships in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Kelly’s positive energy and enthusiasm for surf kayaking encourages and inspires both elite and novice paddlers. She is organizer of the annual Bodega Bay Bash Expression Session (BBB) as a way to share her love of surf kayaking with the local whitewater and sea kayak communities. Kelly teaches surf kayak clinics at all levels and is unyielding in her pursuit to encourage more women to take up the sport. In addition to dominating the competition scene, she instructs introductory and intermediate level sea kayak and stand up paddleboard courses through California Canoe & Kayak and offers advanced level instruction and long-term paddler development programs through River & Ocean. When not carving waves, Kelly can be found sea kayaking along some remote stretch of coast or in the yoga studio.

Kelly is sponsored by Stohlquist.

Teresa (Tree) Rogerson

Photo by Mark Boyd

Women’s High Performance Kayak

I came to surf kayaking from whitewater paddling all over the South and then on the Kern River in southern California. During the depths of a Massachusetts winter in graduate school, I looked toward Santa Cruz for spring break and a guy (that I soon dumped after arriving). I saw an ad for the Santa Cruz Kayak Surf Festival and thought: “Oh I could so do that. Easy.”

Finally, in 2003, after a serious tenure playing footbag net (“Hacky Sack” over a 5′ high net) in Santa Cruz, Canada, and Europe, it was time to follow up on that original inspiration and get wet again. I totally sucked at surf kayaking. I ate my original words with seaweed and foam on the side, though a good roll and strokes saved me from being a complete kook. I began entering contests immediately, as if doing so would notch me upwards. Finally, in 2007 at the Worlds Championship in Spain, I took 2nd in Women’s High Performance.

Over my 17 years in the Bay Area I have taken up with gusto other paddle sports in one of the best water playgrounds on the planet. One of my favorites is downwind stand up paddling. I have served the paddling community by some teaching and guiding with Adventure Sports Unlimited, California Canoe and Kayak, volunteer efforts, and directing the California 100 in 2016, a one day, 100 mile downstream paddle race on the Sacramento River.

MEN

Chris Bensch

Photo by Christopher Bensch

Men’s High Performance Kayak

Men’s International Class Kayak

Chris has a strong passion for the outdoors and helping people access our beautiful world. For the past 10 years he has been Instructor, Coach, and Guide at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe, in Portland, Oregon. While he enjoys all forms of paddle sports, his main focus is Surf Kayaking. In 2011, he organized Oregon’s first surf paddling competition in almost a decade; the Pacific City Surf Off. He was part of the US Surf Kayak team in 2011 World Championships that clinched a bronze medal. This will be his 3rd WC as he was also part of the 2015 team in Spain.

Chris is supported by Stohlquist.

Zach Boyd

Photo by Mark Boyd

Men’s High Performance Kayak

Men’s International Class Kayak

Zack exhibits incredible passion and commitment to the sport of kayak surfing. He discovered the sport with his dad, Mark Boyd, about 7 years ago. This October will be Zack’s second time competing internationally, having also paddled at the 2015 World Championships in Spain. Since then, Zack has made it to the beach more days than not, with a renewed drive to improve. He now ranks first in IC and second in HP in the US West Surf Kayak Series. Zack enjoys surfing in any condition, giving his dad plenty of experience in both photography and boat repair.

Dan Crandall

Photo by Mark Boyd

Men’s International Class Kayak

Master’s International Class Kayak

Dan has been kayaking since 1989, when he jumped into a Dancer and a roll class, followed by surf kayaking the next day and the Santa Cruz Surf festival two weeks later. Six months later he was an ACA certified whitewater instructor, and running a kayak school. He started Current Adventures 5 years later, and has been engrossed in all aspects of the sport ever since. Dan still teaches most of our Kayak Roll clinics, Surf Kayaking and Eppies Training classes. Dan has been a continuous member of the US Surf Kayak Team since 1991, is two time National Surf Kayak Champion and 2005 World Surf Kayak Champion.

Ben Doffe

Photo by Mark Boyd

Men’s High Performance Kayak

Residing on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, Ben has been a professional guide and outdoor educator for the past 10 years. He is a coastal enthusiast and all round waterman. His path to HP surfing started in a sea kayak, practicing surf skills in order to be competent leading expeditions on the rugged west coast of Vancouver island. Before long, he was hooked on the surf regardless of what craft he was surfing. Board surfing, whitewater boats or sea kayaks, it was all great fun.

In 2013, Ben entered the Hobuck Hoedown, a surf competition near Neah Bay, Washington. Entry in the competition automatically offered 2 categories. Sea kayak surf was the reason Ben signed up, however, he secured a loaner boat and entered the High Performance category as well. A few waves in the high performance surf craft had him hooked and wondering why he hadn’t tried one years before!

Since 2013, Ben has competed at the Santa Cruz Paddle Fest and has been working on building the HP Surf community on Vancouver Island. In his free time, when not surfing, Ben can be found exploring the coast in his sea kayak, fishing, hunting, hiking and spending time in the garden or out on adventures with his wife Heather and their one year old son, Kai.

The 2017 World Surf Kayaking Championships in Northern Ireland will be Ben’s first time competing on the world stage. Ben’s goals are to surf his heart out, meet and learn from the large community of skilled surfers, soak up some Irish culture and enjoy a couple of fresh pints of Guinness along the way. Competing in the world championships will provide knowledge and stoke which Ben will bring home in hopes of inspiring the growing community of surf kayakers on Vancouver Island.

Ben is supported by: Stohlquist (Canada)Aqualung (Canada).

 

Mat Hoff

 

Men’s High Performance Kayak

Men’s International Class Kayak

“I started guiding sea kayaking in 2008. I had just about zero real training or skills when I landed the job, but the company puts you through a four day of course of how to do everything. I was quite exhausted by the end of that class. We did everything from basic strokes to advanced rescues out of the back of double sea kayaks. Launching off of a beach location we did a lot of surf zone as well. Well, I was hooked after that. I couldn’t remember having that much fun on the water and I wanted more.

New to the surf, I was very lucky to find coaches and they helped me grow and learn through many beatings. After a short time I started to do well in local compettions and eventually qualified for the US team in 2011. Since then, I have been lucky to attend the last three World Championships which were held in The Outer Banks, Australia, and Spain.

In 2013 I was fortunate to come on board as an instructor for Kayak Connection. My quality of life has never been better! Through the company I have been able to grow as a kayaker and also an… adult. They gave me the confidence to step up when the founder of the Santa Cruz Paddlefest (SCPF) was looking for someone to take up the torch. I am now the owner and organizer of the world’s largest and longest running paddle surf competition!

When I am not instructing kayaking, running the shop at Kayak Connection, or planning SCPF, I’ll to be on the water. The Monterey Bay has me truly spoiled for great places to surf and I take every opportunity I can to be out there.”

Mathew is sponsored by: Werner Paddles and Kayak Connection.

Jim Grossman

Photo by Mark Boyd

Men’s International Class Kayak

Master’s High Performance Kayak

Dennis Judson

Photo by Bryon Dorr

Grand Master’s Kayak

Playak Interview with the elusive Dennis Judson.