Completely unrelated to photography, but something I am just as passionate about is the ocean and the sport of paddleboarding. After shooting the US Open of Golf in SF for GolfWorld & Golf Digest, my family and I just took a week vacationing in Santa Cruz, and had an absolute blast. Playing on the beautiful beaches, cotton candy at the boardwalk, train rides in the forests, and of course the infamous Mystery Spot were some of the great memories we had this past week. By the end of the week, Lauren and I were planning next year’s trip, and our two boys Luke and Micah did not want to come home to San Diego but wanted to move up to Santa Cruz. While we were up there I also competed in the prestigious Jay Moriarty Paddleboard Race, honoring the memory and life of the legendary Santa Cruz Waterman and big wave surfer Jay Moriarty. What started out as a paddle out in his memory after his tragic accident 11 years ago, has now become one of the largest and best organized paddleboard events on the West Coast of the US. Growing up in the Socal water, I have always looked up to Jay as the consummate waterman and since I began paddling it has always been a dream to compete in the “JRace”. I was humbled by the challenging course with varying water and wind conditions, and was pushed to the limit by the packed field of athletes from around the US, Hawaii, and Australia. At the end of the day I was stoked and managed to pull out the 1st place overall victory in a very exciting 12 mile course, with NCP training buddies Roch Frey finishing 3rd, and Deon Lourens and Greg Ford finishing 5th and 6th respectively in the stock division! Also big congrats to legend Jamie Mitchell for his win in the SUP division, Jack Bark for his win in the stock division and Candice Appleby first overall woman (you can see all the results here). They even had a short 2 mile course, a Waterman’s Challenge (500M Swim/1000M Paddleboard/1500M SUP) and a Jr. Jay event for the groms complete with an obstacle course! It was truly a fantastic family event and I felt the love and ohana from everyone who volunteered and competed in the honor of Jay. Special thanks to Duke, Kim, and the entire crew up there who put on a world class event with their efforts; to Tom Candelaria and Linda Inskeep who watched our house and dogs in our absence; to Joe Bark for the beautiful board he shaped me and of course to the entire NCP crew’s support. But most importantly to my wife Lauren and sons Luke and Micah who cheered for me at the half way point at the Santa Cruz Pier when I was hurting, cramping and doubting and gave me the second wind to dig in. Jay’s presence and legacy was felt by all who attended, it was truly a special time. Two days later I still have a smile on my face, my Jrace shirt and wrist band on…LIVE LIKE JAY!!!
To learn more about the life of Jay Moriarty or the Jay race go to http://jayrace.surftech.com/ or http://jaymoriarityfoundation.org/