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

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!

Please Help! Molokai and Catalina Channels for ACS

The first Catalina Classic race was held in 1955 (Photo by Kerwin)

Dear Family, Friends and Collegues,

Being a native of Southern California, the ocean has always been a special place for me. A couple years back, a friend introduced me to paddleboarding and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s a traditional waterman sport that allows you to be out in the ocean, exploring the beautiful coastline, and also getting a hell of a workout along the way. I found like-minded people who I now call friends who challenge themselves with with marathon distance paddles across the Catalina and Molokai channel every year. For those of you who know me, I don’t feel like I am living unless I have a challenge in my life.

This year alone an estimated 1.368 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and will embark on the biggest challenge of their lives. There’s a good chance that some of them will be people we know and love. I lost my father Don Miralle Sr. to brain cancer in 2004 and my father-in-law Daniel Inskeep II to melanoma in 2007. I have chosen to fight back against this disease and help make a difference by supporting the American Cancer Society’s mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering through research, education, advocacy, and service. Last year, through your donations, we raised nearly $5,000 for the American Cancer Society with my paddle in the Catalina Classic. This year I hope to double our efforts, so next week I am paddling in the Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard World Championships and the Catalina Classic again and hope you can help me reach my goal. I hope for every mile I paddle you can donate something to help the fight against cancer and that will serve as my motivation to keep my arms moving across two 32-mile channels of open ocean.

If you are reading this you have probably made a difference in my life and I hope you can make a difference for those people diagnosed with cancer. Please feel free to forward this link http://main.acsevents.org/goto/molokaiandcatalinaforacs 
along via email, facebook or twitter to anyone you may know who is interested in donating to cancer research. I know times are tight for everyone but please take a moment out of your busy day to support my effort by clicking on one of the buttons above and making a donation that will go directly towards saving lives.

Thank you for your continued support,


Paddleboard Season is Well Under Way…

Photo by Jonathan Moore

As the water gets warmer and the waves gets smaller that means paddleboard season kicks into full throttle. Nowadays, when I tell someone I paddleboard, they usually say “Oh, I see those guys sweeping the water with the paddles all the time. That looks so cool, but they get all the waves!” Which usually means I have to correct them and give them a quick lesson on endurance paddling and the difference between classic prone paddleboards, and more popular SUP (Stand Up Paddle) which has seemingly exploded overnight. Although I like to do both, I primarily race the classic paddleboards – where you spend half the time pulling water in a freestyle motion as your face is splashed by salt water until your eyes feel like they’re going to fall out; or the other more painful but faster option to with both arms simultaneously on your knees until your back and kneck cramp and your toes and knees are raw from the board. Usually I get the response “That doesn’t seem very fun, why do you do it?” And they’re right, the longer races (some up to 32-miles long) are nothing short of excruciating. But there is an undescribeable feeling of freedom that comes with being out in the middle of the ocean with nothing around you but water, kelp and the occasional seal, dolphin or whale. And it gets you in shape and there’s a great family atmosphere and sense of community as well.

Best part of getting to finish line is Luke and Micah there to greet me (Photo by Britta Brewer)

It’s a fun season so far, and have been paddling alot with the NCP/Cardiff crew which has helped me out greatly en route to a first place finish at the Encinitas Sports Festival Paddleboard Race, 2nd place at the infamous Coronado Loop, and recently a 2nd place overall finish at the Waterman Challenge, Swamis to Windansea Race . Starting to get pumped for my first Molokai to Oahu crossing at the Paddleboard World Championships in July and the Catalina Classic in August. I plan to paddle for the American Cancer Society again and my goal is to make more than the $10k raised last year.

If you haven’t tried standup or classic paddling yet get out there, you’ll love it!

Battling it to the finish line at the 2011 Loop Race with 4x Catalina Champ Tom Duryea (fyi he’s on a 14 foot board!) Photo by Wind And Sea.