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)

Results

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

Comments

  1. Christy Cantrell says:

    Thanks for this perspective and your amazing effort! I was honored to have the chance to be a part of the event by volunteering on the beach under the timing tent with the Mermaids and can only imagine what the experience must be like!

    • Thanks Christy! It’s a fantastic race with so much tradition, just glad to be part of it. Recommend it to anyone who is into paddling or wants to get into it. I’ve been fortunate enough to see whales, sunfish, dolphins, sharks and other sea creatures in that channel that gives you a new perspective and makes you forget how much pain you’re in.

  2. Awesome race Don, stoked for you and me too!
    Expect big results from you next year.
    Brad

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