August 15, 2018
Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race 2018
When: Sunday, August 26, 2018
Where: Start -- Two Harbors, Catalina Island
Finish -- Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach
Start time: 6 a.m.
Finish time: Top finishers approximately 11 a.m
Last finishers approximately 2 p.m.
Buddy Bohn, 310 270-8957
Kevin Cody, (310) 944-1101,
Los Angeles County Lifeguard Max First, of Manhattan Beach, is among the favorites to win this year’s Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race, on Sunday, August 26. The 32-mile race from Two Harbors on Catalina Island to the Manhattan Beach pier is the sport’s oldest and longest race.
First has won the Classic three of the past four years. Among his top challengers this year will be Jack Bark, of Palos Verdes, and Lachlan Lansdown, a Queensland, Australia, lifeguard. Bark and Lansdown have previously competed in the Classic in the stock division (paddleboards under 12 feet). This year they will compete in the unlimited division (paddleboards 16- to 19-feet). Bark won the Molokai 2 Oahu stock division race in 2012 and this past June won the Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race stock division in Santa Cruz. Bark will compete for Team USA at the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships in Denmark in September. Lansdown won the ISA Championship in the unlimited division last year and has won the Classic stock division the past two years. He set the Classic stock record in 2016 with a time of 5:38:55. Last month, he finished second in stock in the Molokai 2 Oahu race.
The top women in this year’s Classic include D.J. O’Brien, of Manhattan Beach, who won the Classic in 2015, and Marisa Kuiken, of Carlsbad. Kuiken, a California State Lifeguard, finished second last month in the Molokai 2 Oahu Race coed relay.
The Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race starts at 6 a.m. Top paddlers are expected to finish the race in just over five hours. Former Los Angeles County Lifeguard Tim Gair holds the Catalina Classic record, set in 1999 in a time of five hours, two minute and 12 seconds. Finishing times vary significantly depending on the wind, current, swell and tide. Paddlers paddle prone or on their knees, using only their arms on narrow, carbon fiber or fiberglass boards.
Legendary big wave surfer Ricky Grigg won the inaugural Catalina Classic in 1955 in eight hours, 24 minutes and 17 seconds. Two other big wave legends competing that year were George Downing, who won the Makaha International big wave surf contest the previous year and Greg Noll, who pioneered surfing Waimea’s big waves in 1957.
For more about the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race visit CatalinaClassicPaddleboardRace.org.
Max First, a Los Angeles County Lifeguard from Manhattan Beach, has won the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race three of the last four years. Photo by Chris Aguilar (FinFilmCompany.com)
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