The Pacific Paddle Games (PPG) have added a twist, or more accurately a new turn. The buoys, arches laid on their side, create a potentially a safer and faster way to go around a turn. Instead of 30 paddlers racing for one buoy turn, slowing down abruptly, banging boards and paddles and then accelerating from an nearly dead stop, they can continue around a curve, much like racers in NASCAR.
“It’s going to lead to a safer race for participants and for their equipment.” Said Mencinsky. “Hopefully, this will alleviate all of that. You can take an outside line without losing.”
This is designed for use in distance races, not surf races and the different sizes will be used in different situations. The buoy, designed by Andrew Mencinsky was created to reduce injuries and damage. The largest of the buoys is 4 feet high and 20 feet long with a 25-foot turning radius. The smallest is 10 feet wide.The buoys have built-in flag holders for wind chimes and mile markers, and places to connect banners. I can imagine the beautiful drone shots with 10 guys going around the branded buoys, battling for position at top speed.
Keep in mind, you are not paddling under the arch like a finish at a race. You are paddling around the arch. It is laying on its side in the water. The black loops are for attaching banners and for sponsors and race branding.
“People slam into and knock you off, it might be exciting but the cost is carnage is physical injury and damage to the board.
And carnage is not the goal.” Mencinsky continued, “PPG is looking to be the safest, possible race and carnage is not part of our vocabulary.
Coincidentally, I was out for nearly a year for a separated shoulder at a buoy turn at the 2013 BOP. A paddler fell behind me, grabbing my jersey and pulling me down. My arm extended over my board and the impact separated my shoulder. I understand the carnage. In the right situations, this could be a a game changer, but at least it’s something new. We can’t wait to see it in action at the PPG.