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 
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.

My First Catalina Crossing

Paddlers prepare to make the 32-mile channel crossing. (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

It’s hard to find the words to describe looking out from the dark of the Catalina Isthmus Cove at 6am with nearly 100 other paddlers embarking on a 32-mile open ocean crossing on a paddleboard less than two feet wide with only your arms to power you across the unknown. I guess nerves and adrenaline would be a good description, but after you and the other competitors spread out after the first 5 miles or so, it becomes very lonely with alot of time for introspection. About 6 hours of deep thoughts actually.

Getting my bib and boat number from all-around great person and multiple Catalina champ Jo Ambroise of Australia. (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Competitors begin to congregate around bonfire to check in before the start of the race. (Photo by Jeff Berting)

Competitors try to stay warm and keep nerves cool in front of the bonfire (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

My first Catalina Crossing was a successful but bumpy one, with a little bit of chop and wind in the water, and only a couple cramps at mile 10 or so which I dispelled with ample hydration and salt tabs.  I have to admit a couple days leading up to the race I was a little concerned after receiving five staples in my head from a surfing accident last week when a longboarder with no leash bailed his board and fin into my head at Cardiff Reef. Also, only getting a month to train on a new board in my first serious race in the unlimited class also made me doubt whether or not I could finish well if at all.

Some last minute touchups on the sunblock from the deck of the “Chief” (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

View from the boat of the bonfire and competitors lining up their paddleboards on shore. (Photo by Jeff Berting)

Competitors enter the water on the shores of Catalina (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

I managed to finish 11th overall (10th in Unlimited) in the Catalina Classic amongst some of the world’s best paddlers and waterman from the USA, Australia, Hawaii, Canada, and France. I was happy with a top ten finish in the unlimited but know I could do better next time around with more than a month of training time, course knowledge and knowing what to expect. It was definitely the most challenging and grueling 6 hours of my life but an unbelievable experience overall, and saw everything from a blue whale, to dolphins and large fish while I was out there.

Lots of bump early in the channel (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Trying to get in a rythm knee paddling early on (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

A view form the back of the board (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Morning light trying to break through mid channel (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Coming in for a pitstop of nutrition…(Photo by Jonathan Moore)

More importantly I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate all your donations to the American Cancer Society. Because of your generosity over $4,300 was raised to go towards research, education and prevention of cancer. We all made a difference in someone’s life effected by cancer and I reflected on that as well as family and friends lost to the disease while I was out in the middle of the ocean. The last 10 miles those thoughts as well as thoughts of my family waiting for me on the beach is what got me back on dry land. I dedicated this race to my father who died of brain cancer 6 years ago and my father in law who succumbed to melanoma 3 years ago, and I definitely felt their presence while I was out there. Thanks so much for helping me make this happen, I am forever grateful for your support and kindness.

Digging mid-channel with the island in the background (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Rounding the R-10 as seals look on…Only 12 miles to go, but they are the most painful on the race (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Cross the finish line and don’t have alot left. (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Still have a little energy  and stoked to be done (Photo by Jeff Berting)

Thanks to my wife Lauren and sons Luke and Micah who put up with my long training hours the last month and my crankiness when I was tired of waking up early. Thanks to Jonathan Moore ( who spent the entire weekend with us in the escort boat and supplied us with some great photos; and Jeff Berting ( who hooked us up with some good pics as well. Special thanks to Tom Candelaria, friend and captian of his escort boat “Chief”, who drew me a great line, supplied me with ample nutrition, and was fun company even in the most painful sections. Can’t wait to do it again next year, and hopefully raise the bar with my donation and finish goal!

Good to be back on dry land with the family (Photo by Jonathan Moore)

Here’s the list of all of you who donated to the American Cancer Society and helped me reach my goal. THANK YOU!!!

Joshua Aliesch

Ray Anderson

Applegate Family

Clayton Begrin

Al Bello

Doug Benc

Linda Bonenfant

Aaron Boone

Cheryl and Barry Boone

Jesse Bowman

David Breen

Brewer Family

Ken Chamock

Xiaojing Chen

Jason Curry

Deborah Dadlani

Ross Dettman

Dirk Dewachter

Katrina Ducis

Dustin Edwards

James Escher

Deanne Fitzmaurice

Dom Furore

Jonne Goncalves

Jody Grober

Jeff and Jenny Gross

Leon HJalip

Jeff Haynes

Harry and Rebecca How

Daniel Inskeep III

Linda Inskeep

Eric Isaacs

Jed and Lika Jacobsohn

Jeff Julian

Darcy Katris

Robert Laberge

Michael Levitt

Ursula Liang

Victor London

Claire Lopez

Rick Loughery

Amanda Lucidon

Clive Mason

Daniel Megna

Stein Metzger

Janet Milack

Dawn Miralle

Grace Miralle

Joe Morahan

Steven Mullensky

Allen Murabayashi

Atsushi Nakamura

Thomas Oed

Christian Petersen

RJ Poston

Lara Potter

The Powell Family

Joe Raaen

The Ritter Family

Quinn Rooney

Daniel Root

The Sage Family

Erik Schelkun

Dave Schmidt

Ezra and Jen Shaw

Paul Spinelli

Eclipse Sportswire

Paul Stackhouse

Mitchell Stringer

Vince and Erin Taylor

Kevin Terrell

April Tse

Dilip Vishwanat

Fred Vuich

Karl Walter

Stephen Warner

Justin Weiss

Bruce Wigo

Marcus Williams

Maxx Wolfson

The 81 finishers of the 35th Catalina Classic pose for the traditional photo next to the Manhattan Beach Pier (Photo by Jonathan Moore)