Rob Rojas likes to earn his victories convincingly.
After setting a course record and winning by nearly two and a half minutes in the opening event of the O’Neill SUP and Paddleboard Series, the pro paddler from San Clemente built an insurmountable early lead and held on for victory in the second event, the Jam from the Dam, on Sunday.
Rojas, 40, covered the 6-mile, point-to-point course from Commons Beach in Tahoe City to Waterman’s Landing in Carnelian Bay in 53 minutes, 43 seconds. Rukin Jelks, 21, of Kamuela, Hawaii, finished second overall in 54:10 and was followed by Damian Estrada, 38, of South Lake Tahoe (54:30) and Rand Carter, 50, of Tahoe Vista (55:37). Rojas, who’s sponsored by O’Neill, also was a recent winner at the Race the Lake of the Sky in South Lake Tahoe.
In the women’s field, Truckee’s Anik Wild, who finished second in the opening event on Donner Lake, claimed the win while placing 39th overall in the large field with a time of 1:05:21. Jen Fuller of Sausalito, winner of the opening event, placed second with a time of 1:06:17, and Nina Oakley of Reno was third in 1:06:24.
Thirteen-year-old Sofia Sanchez of Kings Beach placed fourth in the women’s field, in 1:08:48, and Wendy Ackerman of Homewood was fifth in 1:09:24.
A total of 175 paddlers competed, making it the largest ever Jam from the Dam event.
Among other top finishers, Brennan Rose placed fifth overall with a time of 58:01 and was trailed by Benjamin Sarrazin of Petalulma (58:06), Jay Wild of Truckee (58:25), Greg Wright of Incline Village (58:31), Adam Freeman of Truckee (59:33) and Seth Springer of Malibu (59:51) rounding out the top 10.
Other Tahoe-area locals in the top 25 included John Merryfield of Tahoe City (11th), Jake Lamberth of Carnelian Bay (12th), Steve Funk of Truckee (15th), Evan Derdowski of Zephyr Cove (17th), Tim Boyer of Tahoma (18th), Dax Willard of Tahoe City (19th), Luca Genasci of South Lake Tahoe (20th), David Defoe of Kings Beach (21st), John Allen of South Lake Tahoe (22nd), and Pablo Bori of Carnelian Bay (23rd).
Truckee’s Deborah Fajans was the sixth woman to cross the line, in 1:10:59, while Nichole Hull of Tahoe City was eighth and Francine Tone of Truckee was 10th.
The series concludes with the Tahoe Fall Classic on Sept. 14. Find registration information at tahoecup.org.
— Information was used from the O’Neill Tahoe SUP & Paddleboard Series website, tahoecup.org.