Matt Poole has completed a dream start to his surf ironman pre-season, dominating the cold waters of California’s Dana Point to claim dual victory at the Pacific Paddle Games on debut.
A little over a month since overcoming hospitalization, a bone infection and physical sickness to take third in the Molokai2Oahu contest, the prone paddle champion proved the hospital bed is well and truly behind him by claiming outright victory in the both the sprint and endurance races at the Californian contest.
It marks an unbeaten stretch for the Nutri-Grain Surf Ironman star in California, having taken victory at the Huntington Beach’s Waterman’s Festival last month. The locals thought he was gone, but Pooley couldn’t resist the challenge to endure another 30-hour round trip to the US and get his hands on some even more silverware.
“The PPG event was a cool setup, the distance race in the morning was really flat and brutal but made for a hard fought win,” Pooley says.
“And with the tide dropping out in the arvo, the technical race was a tricky 2-4ft of surf and some tight buoy turns! Fortunately, my background in the ironman series racing made the course very familiar to our "M" shape format, which was a nice surprise, and I was able to take the double win and overall point score. I’m super stoked to come away with the win.”
Better yet, he escaped the contest and a surf at infamous shorebreak The Wedge unscathed and without injury, marking what could be an end to a freak run of bad luck.
“Hopefully! Part of the winning prize were airfares to Bora Bora to compete in Tahiti for the Bora Bora IRONMANA Liquid Festival at the start of December,” Pooley continues.
“The event sounds crazy so I'll definitely have to start training and get prepared for that! It's been a really rad experience racing in the US the last couple of months and trying to find my feet in the paddleboarding world. There are a lot of really cool people I've been able to meet and hang out with so I'm enjoying the world of SUP and paddleboarding heaps so far!”
It marks the ultimate preparation for the upcoming surf ironman season, which will see more races than ever before. Well, sort of. While the traditional Nutri-Grain season has been reduced yet again to just three rounds - over the one weekend no less - Fox have picked up the slack, adding a slew events to the Summer of Surf Series that could surpass the Nutri-Grain season as the premiere surf sports series in the country - a return to the heyday if you will. And it starts in three weeks.