Delmer and I have just returned from the Battle of the Paddle – California. (Delmer won the all expense paid trip courtesy of Quiksilver Waterman Collection at the Easy Rider SUP CUP race here in August).
All I can say is that if you are at all into SUP – You MUST attend this event sometime in your life (the sooner the better).
Held at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California for the third year in a row – Battle of the Paddle is two days of SUP heaven.
Part NASCAR, part Woodstock – it has something for everyone.
There were many different races through out the two days. Saturday had the Elite course race with 158 entries. This was a race in and out through the surf, with the competitors having to make a beach run of 75 yards in between each of their 5 laps.
The Elite Race was won by Danny Ching – who also won the BoP in Hawaii back in June.
Also on Saturday was the Open Age Course race with 341 entries. This race featured the same beach start, out through the surf and then around a rectangle course of 1 mile – 5 times before heading back in through the surf and a final run up the beach through the finish.
I managed to place 135th overall and Delmer came in a mere 6 seconds behind me in 137th place. Pretty good for 2 guys from Edmonton!
Sunday was the distance race of 10 miles and had 181 entries. The race had a water start – with a 5 mile paddle down to the San Clemente pier and back.
Danny Ching once again was the overall winner. I managed a tiny bit of a lead on the turn around on Delmer and held it until the paddle back in though the surf where I got taken out by the white water (race boards are not easy to surf), Delmer caught a bit of the wave and caught up – we hit the beach together and finished shoulder to shoulder.
Also on Sunday was the Relay event which saw 50 teams of 4 paddlers race 2 laps each in and out though the surf – with a beach run in between each lap.
The exchange area was a site to behold, 50 boards + 200 people + 200 paddles + shoulder high shore break surf = madness!
The final events of the day were a short and long course race for the groms. The Short course had 24 entries and the long course had 28.
If you add up all of the entry numbers above, you will get a total of 932! Yes – that’s right – almost 1000 people racing on SUP’s
In addition to the racing there were over 80 vendors set up on the beach displaying and demoing all the newest and coolest boards / paddles and other gear.
In between the races you could try out as many different boards as your arms would allow you to paddle. At times there were over 20 people on one wave surfing in and having a great time.
I would like to thank Quiksilver for helping me to get there and to Starboard for lending Delmer and myself boards for the races.
I am thinking of putting together a trip to next years event – let me know if you are interested.