Zeb Walsh Paddles the new Surftech 12′ Bark Commander to Victory

Zeb Walsh BARK Commander paddleboard

Zeb Walsh Paddles the new Surftech 12′ Bark Commander to Victory

Posted by boom in Press Releases, SUP News


For more info on the Surftech 12′ Bark Commander, contact your local Surftech dealer.
Boards will be in stores in early 2014.

Santa Catalina Island, Calif. September 13, 2013 – Australian Zeb Walsh put down a solid effort in the 2013 edition of the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race, winning the stock division of an exciting and grueling race.

On a day that remained mostly foggy and cool, with temps topping out in the low 70s, competitors were faced with moderate head winds, poor visibility and relentless current the entire race. After a “false-start” (the first in Catalina race history) the nearly 100 competitors began the arduous 32-mile paddle from the Isthmus on Catalina Island headed northeast toward the “R-10″ buoy, located roughly 24 miles away just off of Palos Verdes Point. From there weary paddlers would make the final 8 mile slog along the coast to the finish line at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Prior to Walsh leaving Australia he learned that his custom Bark paddleboard had not made the journey from Hawaii to California after his big win at the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships a month earlier. Master craftsman and two time Catalina Classic winner, Joe Bark informed him that he would be making the crossing on the new Surftech 12′ Bark Commander production board and not on a custom! So the question that has been debated for years – could someone be competitive on a production race board? – would soon be answered by Zeb Walsh.
Zeb Walsh action Bark Commander
Paddle Diaries of Zeb Walsh
Over the course of the 6 hours and 19 minutes that it took Zeb to paddle the new Commander to a Stock Class victory, he became very well acquainted with Bark’s new Surftech model: “The new Bark Commander was awesome! You could easily give this board to anyone and they wouldn’t know they were on a production board… it went as good as any board I have paddled. In fact I wouldn’t have a problem paddling it in any race at any time.”

Finishing in second place just over nine minutes behind Walsh in the stock class, Steve Shlens had this to say about Walsh’s performance: “Zeb is a super strong paddler (the guy won Molokai this year, was second in 2012, and is a big, strong paddler) but to win on a production board is unheard of. Honestly it was a little depressing to lose to him,” admitted Shlens. “However, now that I’ve used that board, I can say that it’s at least the equal of just about any custom we could get. I’ve told others – it is a CT (Bark’s stock paddleboard model). It’s not “like” a CT; it is a CT. It’s a fantastic board.”

Introducing the BARK Commander from Surftech from Soul Surf Media on Vimeo.

Read Steve’s in-depth post race review of the 12′ Surftech/BARK Commander

With the win at Catalina, Walsh joins an elite fraternity of athletes who have claimed the “Single-Double,” a victory in both the Molokai-2-Oahu and Catalina Classic races in the same season.

The single-double is amazing. Very few have pulled this off – Jamie Mitchell, Keone Watson, Eric Abbott, and Tim Gair, I believe…” recalls Shlens. “To win either race shows true commitment to paddling. Bump riding in Molokai is not the same as putting your head down and grinding out the miles in Catalina. With these races just 30 days apart, the racer has just enough time to recover from one to do well in the other, but the reality is the grind of Catalina is brutal after coming off of a bump riding win. Zeb pulled off an amazing feat.”

When asked what Zeb thought of his accomplishment he remarked: “To win Zeb single-double the ‘single-double’ has always been on my radar but as a DREAM GOAL, because very few people have been able to do the double, only five of us. Winning both really hasn’t set in for me yet,” admitted Walsh. “To be on that list with Jamie, Eric, Keoni and Tim, is really a dream for me because those guys are paddle lords.”

Walsh continued, “In the paddle board world there aren’t any bigger races than the Molokai and Catalina. They are the bench mark for paddleboarders world wide. Molokai is technical and considered the Holy Grail because that channel is crazy! Catalina really sorts out who has the heart and mental strength to keep the arms turning over as hard as you can for 6 hours+… you can’t hide out there.”

Surftech would like to congratulate Zeb on his historical accomplishment as well as all of the competitors who competed in and finished the Molokai-2-Oahu and Catalina Classic! Well done!

For more info on the Surftech 12′ Bark Commander, contact your local Surftech dealer.
Boards will be in stores in early 2014.

For highlights from the 2013 Catalina Classic check out Fin Film Company’s beautiful video below including Joe Bark competing in his 30th Catalina Classic!

All photos courtesy of Fin Film Company

13 Sep 2013