Austin's Blog Series

The 2019 surfski race season is fast approaching and I am excited to introduce Austin's Blog Series where he will share his thoughts, experience and commentary centered around each event on the calendar. Our intent is to provide first hand insight and perspective as Austin trains and prepares for each event, plans his race, executes and reflects on his performance. We expect to learn what it takes (the good, bad and sometimes ugly), to compete at an elite level in the greatest races around the world. Personally, I have enormous respect for the grit and dedication that it takes to reach this level of performance, and specific respect for Austin for his leadership and dedication to growing the sport of surfski here in the US. Enjoy.  ~ Gary Williams - Managing Partner

surf ski race start fall 2019

The Doctor 2019: An Adventure and a Race

Since January, I knew the Shaw and Partners international surfski race, “The Doctor,” was going to be one of the most intense events on my calendar.

Austin Kieffer

Achieving Success: The Journey and the Goal

I love to compete. There is nothing like training your body to perform at peak level, or learning to perfect the skills of a sport to beat other competitors. But at a certain point, you realize racing offers something more profoundly personal.

Growing the Ocean Community: L2L 2019

The 2019 Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race (L2L) was a fun weekend celebration for watersport athletes and those who love the ocean. This is my 3rd year competing in the L2L and each year it gets more exciting. 2019 saw over 150 athletes competing in everything from rowing shells to outriggers, SUPs to surfskis all determined to test their skills against athletes from all over the East Coast.

Austin Kieffer with paddle

Fueling the Fall

Summer racing is over and my heavy volume training is back in full swing. I started gearing things back up in early August to get ready for the Fall races (Lighthouse to Lighthouse and Irish Coast Paddling Championships). With Lighthouse to Lighthouse coming up this weekend, I thought it would be interesting to write about how I fuel my body during these weeks of high volume and high intensity training.

Gorge Downwind Champs - Austin Kieffer

Gorge Downwind Champs Recap

The Gorge Downwind Champs (GDC) is a festival and celebration of downwind paddling and racing. Thanks to the visionary efforts of Carter Johnson (the event creator and organizer), the GDC has become a colossal event in our sport with over 750 spots selling out within 48 hours. Athletes travel from all over the country and the globe to compete in what has become the largest downwind event on the planet.

Canadian Champs

Canadian Downwind Champs Race Report

Surfski races are usually far and wide apart, occurring on different continents around the globe. So it is a treat to be able to compete this summer in two back-to-back international races in North America: the Canadian Downwind Champs in British Columbia and the Gorge Downwind Champs in Oregon.

Austin Kieffer

Staying Tough from Race to Race

Surfski, like any sport, requires hard work and discipline. But just as importantly, an athlete has to learn how to lose. Success doesn’t come without setbacks, as any champion will tell you. You have to keep looking forward and not let those moments define you. Once you have the physical skills to win, you need the mental fortitude to keep fighting.

Austin Kieffer - The Molokai - 2019

The Molokai 2019

One of the things that makes Molokai so challenging is that the conditions can vary so dramatically. It can be punishingly hot and flat where athletes must grinding across a mirror like ocean or the wind can blow like a tropical storm and churn the channel into a frothing mess. This year conditions were nearly perfect.

Austin Kieffer Mokokai Challenge

The FIVE Things I Am Doing Differently For This Year’s Molokai

For me, the speed oriented lactic sessions have always been challenging. I love to grind and I will happily punish myself through longer threshold or tempo intervals, but when things get shorter and enter into the realm of lactic pain, I just struggle.

M2M Surfski race Austin Kieffer

A Race To Remember

What a race!? The conditions were about as good as any surfski race could ask for. The wind was lined up perfectly and blowing 25 knots, the weather was mild for Maui and a merciful layer of cloud cover had rolled in to shield racers from the punishing Hawaiian sun.

Learning From Prior Mistakes

With over 250 boats registered for the 2019 Maui 2 Molokai (M2M) and incredible winds predicted for the iconic 42km island crossing, the race is shaping up to be one for the record books. I have raced the M2M twice before, in 2017 and 2018. Both years I came in thinking I could win the M2M and both times I made major mistakes that kept me from having the race I wanted. My mistakes boiled down to a lack of respect.

Austin Kieffer practicing for the M2M

Preparing for Hawaii: Training Takeaways

In the last post I wrote about the NAC Classic race in southern California and how wonderful it was to race pain free after a frustrating six weeks of shoulder rehab. This post picks up seven weeks down the road, as I mull over the last block of training and look ahead to the next race on the calendar, the April 13th Maui to Molokai (M2M) in Hawaii.

Austin Kieffer PTX Partners

Blow for Blow at the NAC

Race day came with a torrential morning downpour. Though everything cleared up well in time for the start of the long course, the race organizers decided to remove the ocean section of the course and reroute the race completely in the protected flatwater, just in case.

NAC 2019 Race Route

Pre-Race Strategy

The NAC Classic falls almost perfectly 5 weeks after my first session of 2019. I chose to compete in this race for three reasons. First, it is a flatter race and due to the colder weather in San Fran and avoiding rougher conditions for my shoulder, I have been focusing my early season on flatwater technique, efficiency, and aerobic base.

Austin Kieffer

Starting the Season: First Steps Towards A Successful 2019

The 2019 season has begun in earnest. This January has been one of the lightest volume training months of my surfski career, but it has also been marked by quality, sustainability and self-improvement. Coming off an injury in 2018, I spent much of December resting and rehabbing my injured shoulder.

  • NAC Classic 2019

    Newport Beach, CA
    February 9th, 2019
    Austin's Blog

  • Maui to Molokai

    April 13, 2019  - 26 miles.

  • Molokai Challenge

    May 26, 2019

  • Canadian Downwind Champs

    Squamish, BC, Canada
    July 13th

  • Gorge Downwind Champs

    Colombia River Gorge, Oregon
    July 15-20, 2019

  • Lighthouse To Lighthouse 2019

    Sept. 14 & 15
    Norwalk, CT

  • Irish Coast Paddling Champs

    TBD Fall 2019


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