Jay’s Spirit Shines at 12th Annual Surftech Jay Race

469To read a great post-event summary from the 12th Annual Jayrace by the folks at Surftech click here. LIVE LIKE JAY!!!

Another Great Trip to Santa Cruz

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Men’s podium for overall and prone paddler finishers (L-R Anthony Vela, Roch Frey, George Plsek, Don Miralle, Aaron McKinnon)

One of the highlights of my family’s last two summers has been our annual trip up to Santa Cruz, California. We not only go up to compete in the Jay Moriarty Race, but also take in all the great sites up there including the rides on the boardwalk, train rides through 100ft redwood trees, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the miles of beautiful coastline, and see old friends and make new ones. If you ever get a chance to get up to Santa Cruz, even if you don’t want to compete or watch one of the best paddleboard races in the US, you will not regret that you made it to one of the coolest cities in NorCal.


Lauren, Luke and Micah making like Wild West Settlers in Roaring Rapids and Big Trees Train Camp.

Big thanks to all the folks from the JayRace and all the sponsors for putting on the best community-driven event for a young, quickly growing sport with all proceeds going to Santa Cruz State Junior Lifeguards. Special thanks to Duke Brouwer from Surftech, Kim Moriarty, Bob Pearson, Frosty Hesson, Denise White, Chris Hollingsworth, Brian Foss, and Aaron McKinnon for their efforts in making the 12th Annual Race the best ever! LIVE LIKE JAY!!!

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Aaron McKinnon and I battling out the race lead with the Santa Cruz Boardwalk as the backdrop.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 11.28.02 PMBoys pick me up after we get our hardware at the JayRace Afterparty

photo-1Beautiful Steam Train ride through Redwoods at Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad.

The 11th Annual Jay Race

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/