The 32nd annual Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race returns to Manhattan Beach, California, on August 26th with a new premier sponsor, a record number of participants, and fond memories of the late co-founder and champion of the race.
The world’s most historic paddleboard race will host a record 99 paddlers as they make the 32 mile crossing of the channel from the Isthmus, Catalina to the Manhattan Beach Pier. Riding paddleboards between lengths of 12 and 18 feet, these watermen will use only their arms to propel themselves across one of the busiest and deepest channels in North America.
Race organizer and current Catalina Classic Champion, Kyle Daniels, is thrilled about the growing interest in the Catalina Classic: “The number of participants and request to be part of the race has been overwhelming but exciting. The sport of paddleboard racing is a unique and challenging sport that has some incredible history as a key component of the modern surf culture as we know it.”
The Catalina Classic originated in 1955 when Bob Hogan along with Greg Noll, Ricky Grigg, Tommy Zahn and other surf pioneers decided to race their paddleboards from Catalina to the mainland.
Since the 50’s, the race has seen some of the world’s greatest watermen including Dale Velzy, Micky Munoz, Miki Dora, Laird Hamilton, Buzzy Kerbox, Jaimie Mitchell, the current Catalina Classic champion Kyle Daniels, and the late Weldon “Gibby” Gibson. Gibby was a founding father of the Catalina Classic and was involved in every race including the 2007 Classic until he passed away on August 9th. Gibby’s spirit and vision will forever be remembered and memorialized through this race.
This years race will see the new generation of paddlers cross the channel. At the front of the pack we’ll see a rematch between Los Angeles County Lifeguard Kyle Daniels and visiting Australian paddleboard star Jaimie Mitchell. Kyle’s convincing win over Mitchell in 2006 will surely spark Jaimie’s competitive edge and could possible set the tone for record finishing times in this year’s race.
Leading men’s surf lifestyle brand Honolua Surf Co. has come on to support the race for 2007 and is looking to help carry on the tradition and growth of the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. Honolua Surf Co celebrates the lifestyle of the waterman. Honolua Surf co. is focused on the person who has built a life centered on the ocean and all it has to offer.
The 2007 Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race will begin promptly at 6:00am on August 26th at the Isthmus on Catalina. The top finishers will arrive at Manhattan Beach Pier roughly around 5 hours later, followed by the back of the pack taking up to 9 hours to complete the grueling 32 mile paddleboard marathon.