Hans and Judge are both California natives. Judge started sailing at the San Diego Yacht Club Junior Program at the age of six. Hans began his sailing career up the coast at the Dana Point Yacht Club. Both learned to sail in the Southern Californian Naples Sabot. At the age of nine Hans’ family would relocate from the San Clemente Area to Coronado where Hans began sailing at the Coronado Yacht Club. Judge and Hans would eventually start to compete against one another on the Junior circuit.
By chance, Judge and Hans’ fathers began chatting at a local regatta deciding it would be exciting for the boys to try out a double handed boat together. Hans age ten and Judge age eleven were at first reluctant, but decided to give it a shot. The boys began practicing in the Club 420, Hans on the trapeze and Judge helming. At the time, neither had any idea how far their friendship and sailing pairing would take them.
Judge and Hans quickly began to click as a team. They won many local regattas in the Club 420 and began to travel the U.S. to compete against other top level youth teams. In 2005, it was announced that the 29er World Championships would be hosted in San Francisco Bay. Judge and Hans had no idea what a 29er was, but they were fortunate enough to acquire one of the charter boats that was used at the World Championship. Their sailing coach explained that this fast boat with orange see-through sails was the future of sailing. The boys tried out the new 29er and were instantly hooked.
The boys would rise through the ranks in the 29er both domestically and internationally. In 2008, they would place third at the Youth World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark. The bronze medal performance was a major milestone in Hans and Judge’s sailing careers. It was a culmination of all their hard work and dedication.
After their Youth Worlds performance Hans and Judge would take some time apart to focus on their own personal sailing. Judge focused on the International 420 and 470 while Hans continued to sail skiffs and began sailing the first foiling boat of its kind, the Moth. In 2009 Hans would be crowded the Moth Youth World Champion. The 2009 Moth Worlds were held at the infamous Gorge (Columbia River, Oregon) and were won by Bora Gulari.
In 2010 Judge would lead his High School Sailing team to their first ever National Championship. He would then go on to attend Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2011 Hans would graduate from Coronado High School and go on to attend Stanford University. Hans and Judge would compete regularly against one another on the college sailing scene.
In 2014 Judge was nearing the end of his university studies and looking at entering the ‘real world’. However, Hans would make sure to put a stop to the idea of entering the job market and pull his old sailing partner back into the Olympic realm. During his university studies Hans was able to sail the 49er on occasion. He had paired up with 2012 US 49er Olympian Trevor Moore. However, with his university endeavors being too great he could not commit to a full-time campaign for the 2016 quadrennium. Hans would finish his university studies in June of 2015, six months before the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials.
Judge and Hans agreed they would make a run for the 2016 49er Olympic trials, while knowing full well that their overall goal would be the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. With a mere six months of training in the high-performance 49er class, they came unbelievably close to winning the 2016 Rio berth. The pair would surpass all odds and make sure that the selection trials came down to the very last day of racing. In the end, they would finish second in the selection trials, losing to Rio Olympians Joe Morris and Thomas Barrows.
After the selection trials Barrows and Morris asked Judge and Hans if they would be their training partners’ in the lead up to the Rio Olympics. Being such a young and inexperienced team, Judge and Hans jumped at the opportunity. The two teams would spend close to two months training on the waters of Guanabara Bay, pushing each other to improve and building lifelong memories. Being the training partner was an invaluable experience for Judge and Hans, and helped set them on the correct course for the 2020 quadrennium.
With the 2016 Olympics finishing in August of 2016 and their training partner duties fulfilled, Judge and Hans agreed they would take some time away from the 49er to focus on more schooling. From 2016 to 2017 Judge would attend the University of San Diego to complete his Masters of Science in Real Estate. Hans would again return to Stanford to complete his Masters of Science in Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering. Between their studies, they still found time to train and compete in the ultra-competitive 49er class. Judge completed his degree in May of 2017 and Hans earned his degree in March of 2018. With Hans finished at Stanford the pair are back to what they love doing most; working hard towards winning an Olympic medal.
Even though the two have had their noses in books for the better part of a year and half, Hans and Judge have still managed to attend and perform well at regattas in Portugal, Germany, Australia, Japan, Miami, and many others. This past winter they achieved their highest world ranking position of 15th (49er World Rankings).
The Team of Ryan Henken is excited to be on the campaign trial full time. Their goal is a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Games. A strong friendship, healthy competitive attitude, and relentless search for perfection are what drive Hans and Judge. The pair is excited for what the future has in store.