2011 Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race

Moby Dick nearly takes me out when he comes up for air within feet of my 18′ BARK paddleboard at mile 20 just off the R10 bouy in Palos Verdes. (Photo by Tom Candelaria)

The 36th Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race once again took place like it has on and off since 1955, under beautiful blue skies, 70 degree water with a bit of crossed up current, and a great vibe from the competitors and families. Of all the physical and mental challenges I have had in my life, crossing the Catalina Channel is right up there as one of the hardest. Ontop of loosing my breakfast at mile 20, I nearly got upended by a 40ft (possibly adolescent blue whale) that came up for air right in front of me just outside of the R-10 bouy off PV. My boat captain and solo boat crew Tom Candelaria captured an amazing photo while steering the boat and giving me nutrition. It was such an amazing feeling having that beautiful creature coming up to meet me at such a grueling point of the race, and from that point on I just decided to stay within myself and soak it all in. It was a blessing because of that I think when I arrived at Manhattan Beach, I felt great, really enjoyed the race this time around, and was coherent and not delirious like last year. But I still couldn’t be happier to see my family and be on dry land again!

Mid-channel chasing the leaders (Photo by Tom Candelaria)

Kyle Powers passing me on the high line right before the R10 bouy. Kyle is an amazing paddler and has spanked me in every race this year. Hope to have some more races against him next season where we both feel better. (Photo by Tom Candelaria)

Passing the R10, where it’s supposed be all downhill but feels the worst (Photo by Tom Candelaria)

The water conditions were a bit crossed up this year, so we didn’t get the section of glassy water like we did in the middle of last years race, but the times were a bit faster. Stoked for Dr. Brad Thomas who smoked the field (and this entire season) with a time of 5:22, followed by Hawaiian Brian Rocheleau, 50 year-old Aussie phenom Michael Porra, George “The Czech” Plsek, Kyle Power, and then myself. I think Brian Zeller once said that the guy who wins the paddleboard races is the guy who works the hardest, and Brad defintely put the time in this year and deserves it more than anyone. I was happy to just finish in the top 6 after partially tearing my brachialis muscle in my left arm 4 weeks ago, which nearly ended my season. But I knew I had to at least start the race as it was part of a personal fundraiser for the American Cancer Society I have had the pleasure of doing the last two years. It was a great feeling to hear fellow Loyola Cub Kyle Daniels mispronounce my name but mention the ACS and hear the spectators on the pier and beach cheer for the cause. Between the last two races I have raised nearly $10k through donations of my family and friends in the memory of my Dad, father-in-law (his 4 year anniversary was the day of the Catalina Race) and other family members who have succumbed to the disease. Thank you all for your support and below is the list of the donors the last two years who have given time and funds to the ACS.  Special thanks to Kyle Daniels and all of the Catalina Classic Committee who volunteer so much of their time and effort to put on this great event, to my friend and boat captain Tom Candelaria for keeping me company the last two years for two safe crossings, all the guys I train with at Cardiff Reef especially George Plsek and Deon Lourens, and most especially my wife Lauren and my kids Luke and Micah who have put up with my training schedule all summer. Thanks and hope to see you again next year!

My biggest supporter, my wife Lauren gives me a hug and kiss when I get to shore (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

My youngest Micah (3) comes to greet me and tell me he “loves me all the time” (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

The finshers of the 36th Catalina Classic (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Micah sneaking in with the Buckingham brothers, who kicked ass on their 1st crossing  (Photo by Jonathan Moore)


More results withe the perpetual trophy

Special thanks to all who donated to the ACS:

Joshua Aliesch

Ray Anderson

Thomas Applegate Family

Clayton Begrin

Al Bello

Doug Benc

Linda Bonenfant

Aaron Boone

Cheryl and Barry Boone

Jesse Bowman

David Breen

Brewer Family

Octavian Cantilli

Ken Chamock

Xiaojing Chen

Joanna Coulter

Jason Curry

Steve Curry

Jon Cuban

Deborah Dadlani

Ross Dettman

Dirk Dewachter

Katrina Ducis

Dustin Edwards

James Escher

Deanne Fitzmaurice

Dom Furore

Gina Genis

Jonne Goncalves

Jody Grober

Jeff and Jenny Gross

Rick Hall

Leon HJalip

Jeff Haynes

Darrell Ingham

Harry and Rebecca How

Daniel Inskeep III

Linda Inskeep

Eric Isaacs

Jed and Lika Jacobsohn

Beth Johnson

Jeff Julian

Darcy Katris

Meghan Kaumaya

Robert Laberge

Michael Levitt

Ursula Liang

Victor London

Brandon Lopez

Claire Lopez

Rick Loughery

Amanda Lucidon

Clive Mason

Ross Mason

Daniel Megna

Stein Metzger

Janet Milack

Dawn Miralle

Grace Miralle

Joe Morahan

Jonathan Moore

Steven Mullensky

Allen Murabayashi

Atsushi Nakamura

Thomas Oed

Christian Petersen

Michael Picotte

RJ Poston

Lara Potter

The Powell Family

Joe Raaen

The Ritter Family

Quinn Rooney

Daniel Root

The Sage Family

Erik Schelkun

Dave Schmidt

Erich Schlegel

Ezra and Jen Shaw

Lisa Short

Paul Spinelli

Eclipse Sportswire

Paul Stackhouse

Mitchell Stringer

Vince and Erin Taylor

Kevin Terrell

Dori Traynham

April Tse

Dilip Vishwanat

Fred & Sheryl Vuich

Karl Walter

Michele Warner

Stephen Warner

Justin Weiss

Bruce Wigo

Marcus Williams

Maxx Wolfson

Iris Wong

Kathleen Wright

Shannon Delaney

Collin Erie

Brandon Bert

Brian Boone

Shaun Botterill

Are You Ready For Some Football?!?!?

Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

I can do without MLB, NBA, and NHL, but a world without the NFL would be a very sad and boring one. The gridiron is back, thank god as I couldn’t imagine fall and winter without it. Barbeques, fantasy leagues, monday nights, cold beer, Madden, Al Michaels, and of course….THE CHARGERS!

Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Living in San Diego you can’t help but love the Chargers and eventually no matter where you are transplanted from you end up being a Bolts fan. Ironically, San Diego is home for many professional athletes and some of the fittest people per capita, but other than the Chargers the city lacks a professional sports team to follow (sorry Padres). And even though the Chargers seem to fall short of their talented roster every year, I am looking forward to this year’s team starting off fast and hopefully taking the AFC West and beyond.

Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

I think with some key veteran pickups on defense (Takeo Spikes, Bob Sanders) and some young talent as well (Liuget, Gilchrist, Mouton) the defense will be tougher than last year especially on the run. And since the offense will actually start the year with their two potential Pro-Bowlers Jackson and McNeill, Rivers’ should be dropping some long-bombs early on. Here are some of my pics from the Chargers first home preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Great to be back in the endzone, thanks for looking, and please feel free to comment!

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My 1st Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships

Competitors join hands in a prayer circle immediately before the start of the Molokai to Oahu, World Championships of Paddleboarding on the island of Molokai, Hawaii on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Donald Miralle)

Well I guess it’s one more thing to check off the bucket list.  Paddling across the Ka’iwi Channel or the “channel of bones”, the 32-mile expanse of deep rough water between in islands of Molokai and Oahu in the Hawaiian archipelago, was truly a humbling experience. Not because it was my first time or because we were paddling besides some of the greatest watermen on the planet including 10x champ Jamie Mitchell, but rather just the energy and “mana” of the place. A massive, living, turbulent expanse of deep water (sometimes over 1km deep at points) that has an aura of a place that has taken the lives of many men, including the legendary northshore lifeguard and waterman Eddie Aikau. My teammate Deon Lourens and I had a blast crossing the channel and soaking it all in literally, en route to placing 2nd in the Men’s Team Classic Paddleboard Stock 80-99 Division, despite partially tearing my brachialis the week before. The Australian team of Blair Thorndike and David Ward beat us by 10 minutes over the 6 hour race, further solidifying the Australian domination of the event with records by countrymen and women Mitchell and newcomer 17 year-old Jordan Mercer who crushed the women’s course record by over a half hour! Special thanks to our boat captain Allan and Ryan for the safe crossing, Shannon and crew for putting on a great event, and Deon for splitting the mileage and handling all the logistics of our race.  Together with the Catalina Classic later this month (body-willing), I am paddling for the American Cancer Society and have raised over $6k for cancer research and prevention. You can learn more or make a donation by going to my sponsor page here. Please enjoy the short video below of our POV of the crossing, thanks for looking!

Changing of Guard at the Congressional

Rory hits a stiff shot for birdie with inches on the cup on the signature 10th tee at the Final Round of the 2011 US Open. (Photo by Donald Miralle for GolfWorld/Golf Digest)

Well there was no Tiger Woods, but there was some serious domination by another young and talented golfer at the US Open at the Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland. For the second straight year a golfer from Northern Ireland won the hardest test in golf with a record-setting 16-under par, and 22-year old Rory McElroy steamrolled the field with ease and grace that emulated the Tiger of past championships. But the Irish sensation collected his first mug from the US Open 3 years earlier than Tiger, and with the British right around the corner this kid has momentum on his side. It was great to be there for a bit of history, but from the gallery and photographically it was a pretty boring weekend due to the fact that McElroy’s domination of the field took all the steam out of the tournament by the weekend. Everyone was just playing for second place and it was the Rory parade. Still it was great to cover another golf major for GolfWorld/Golf Digest and always good to travel to DC to see friends. Here’s some pics from a long hard week, pick up your copy of  GolfWorld & Golf Digest to see it in print, including the great photos edited by DOP Chirstian Iooss shot by the photo team of Dom Furuore, Steve Szurlej and J.D. Cuban.

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