Record high temperatures, raging fires and a pumping south swell did nothing to dissuade the largest group of participants ever to compete in the seventh annual Surftech Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race. Competitors accustomed to the cold, windy and often hazardous ocean conditions of the Monterey Bay showed up to a sheet glass ocean surface and sweltering conditions more associated with races in the tropics.
While competition was clearly at the forefront of the participants minds, the spirit of the Jay race has always been about camaraderie and both first time and returning competitors all took the time to catch up with each other and participate in remembering Jay Moriarity, who is remembered most for his voice as a positive role model in the surf and paddleboard communities.
At the 8am start 74 competitors took off on the 12 mile course with a prize purse awaiting the overall winners in both the women’s and men’s divisions. With 17 stand-up paddlers taking part, the biggest question trickling through competitors and spectators alike was if the top stand-up paddlers would give the top prone paddlers a run for first place. General consensus on the beach was that prone paddlers would take the win, and they were right… but only just.
Right under 1:52 minutes, the overall winner was prone paddler Chad Carvin, a two-time Olympic swimmer who set a new record, finishing nearly 4 minutes ahead of any of his fellow competitors and nabbing Quiksilver Edition’s $500 winner’s cheque. With Chad’s clear win, eyes turned back to the water where a serious race was happening for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. Prone paddlers Ryan Addison and Justin Mitchell were pushing hard against standup paddler Kyle Mochizuki as they came into view on the beach. Paddling his Ron House designed SUP, Kyle dug deep and slipped past his competitors finishing in 2nd place overall with a time of 1:55:29. Ryan and Justin finished seconds behind Kyle with respective times of 1:55:37 and 1:55:42.
ROXY, sponsoring the women’s division, was happy to hand Jane Cairns the $300 winner’s cheque as she beat her previous time and all her fellow competitors on her 12’ Bark stock paddle board to once again win the women’s division, with a finish time of 2:25:56. In addition to the prize purse, both Chad and Jane’s wins secure them free entry in to the 32 mile Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race happening next month in Hawaii.
As if to signal the end of the race, the perfect weather turned sour as lightning started striking and short rain squalls moved into the Monterey Bay. With the beach suddenly off limits, the awards ceremony was concluded off site at the local Crows Nest restaurant where competitors got together to congratulate each other, talk story and discuss the growing popularity and diversity of paddle racing.
With all proceeds from the event supporting the local junior lifeguard programs, the unprecedented participation and support insures that the annual Surftech Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race will continue to grow in years to come. Thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers and participants who made this event possible.