Greetings Paddlers, Today, August 30th, would have been the 41st Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race… an epic & traditional paddleboard race of world class paddlers that race 32 miles of open water from the Isthmus on Catalina Island to the Manhattan Beach Pier. Unfortunately, 2020 was the first time in 38 years, due to circumstances beyond our control we were forced to officially cancel the race. If the race could have been permitted & safely executed, we would have held it…especially knowing that it would offer encouragement, hope, and a healthy goal for all those struggling to make sense during these challenging times. However, between the importance of standing in solidarity and showing respect for our first responders and the reality that the County made it abundantly clear that no event permits would be issued, we had no choice but to cancel this year’s race. Apparently some individuals chose to paddle the channel anyway and created an unsanctioned event of their own. We want to make it perfectly clear that the “official” Catalina Classic Race organizers did NOT condone or have anything to do with this event. It's our hope that the non-permitted actions of these paddlers won’t jeopardize the future of our County “sanctioned” permitted race in 2021. We want you to know that we’re all anxious to be back next August, stronger than ever , creating the 2021 Catalina Classic , dedicated to Paramedic & Rescue Boat Captain, and all around great human, Steve Troeger . Stay healthy, keep paddling….watch out for one another. Yours in paddling, Buddy
6/2/20 UPDATE: The 2020 Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race has been CANCELLED due to COVID-19. We tried our best to make the Catalina Classic Paddleboard race happen this year, but we’re unable to obtain the necessary permits. It's a huge disappointment for all of us to cancel for the first time in 38 years! Stay strong during these challenging times and be good to one another.We'll post updates about 2021 as it feels relevant. Keep paddling and we hope to see you racing in next year’s race, August 29, 2021!
The Catalina Classic family will be dedicating our 2019 race this year to legendary waterman, Mike Doyle. Mike Doyle was a true waterman in every way... and a really nice guy too! Mike paddled the Classic in 1960. He was a extraordinary surfer, paddler, Lifeguard, artist, and all around lover of life. Mike inspired so many people to live their lives to the fullest. Our hearts go out to Annie and the rest of the Doyle family and friends. This year, paddler Tom Horton, will be fundraising and paddling to raise awareness of the devastating affects of ALS. There will be " Live to Surf, Surf to Live" T-shirts for sale at the finish line. All proceeds from these T-shirts will go towards defeating ALS. A paddle out is scheduled at the Hermosa Beach Pier on October 20th at 10:30am. Please contact Tom to see how you can get involved. firstname.lastname@example.org
1981 began the rebirth of the International Catalina Channel Paddleboard Race. The Manhattan Beach Chamber Of Commerce Executive, Trudy Smart, gave the original race bylaws and articles of incorporation( from the International Catalina Channel Paddleboard Race) to lifeguard lieutenant Buddy Bohn. Bohn consulted with many of the past competitors and current ocean Lifeguards and ocean athletes. After much encouragement, Lt. Bohn partnered with fellow Ocean Lifeguard and friend, Weldon Gibby Gibson, who had actually competed in the original races. Together they approached the LA County Lifeguard Association Trust Fund for their support and endorsement. All parties decided that the event should be attempted the summer of 1982. All agreed that the new bylaws, rules, and articles of incorporation should be as close to the originals as possible. They would call it what they all felt it was, The Catalina Classic Paddleboard Marathon. The paddle from Catalina to the Manhattan Beach Pier had not been officially attempted in twenty years, and much had changed since 1960. Several paddlers of that period made themselves available and the Lifeguards formed a committee of volunteers to begin the organization. Safety being the number one priority, the committee consulted with our ocean athletes that had been racing the channel during those previous twenty years. The Catalina Channel Swimming Federation was one such group and the National Dory Association was another. Their input was vital, with regard to escort support, communications, navigation, advanced life support, and general organization. The Swimming Federation’s format was the closest fit to the original paddles. The Dory Association’s race was really an annual lifeguard event with a two person crew rowing from Catalina’s Isthmus to Palos Verdes. The Catalina channel Dory race at that time was [...]
Over the years, the paddling community has been inspired by so many extraordinary paddlers. We have been honored to have had most all of them race in the Catalina Classic. They are as follows: Year dedicated: 1999: Brendan Sullivan 200?: Tom Zahn 2004: Jimmy Miller 2007: Gibby Gibson 2009: Jeff Johnson 2013: Bob Meistrell Bob & Bill Meistrell 2014: Mike " Bones" Bright 2015: Mike Eaton 2016: Bob Hogan Bob Hogan the original founder of the Catalina Classic in 1955.
Catalina Classic Paddler, Congratulations on your 2018 channel crossing! You have joined an elite group of paddlers who have challenged themselves and accomplished this incredible feat since 1955. This year we had 90 paddlers start, 90 paddlers finish, with much better conditions than last year We hope you are stoked on your finish and look forward to having you race again at next year's Classic on Sunday, August 25th, 2019. Stay tuned to our website for future race updates. Yours in paddling, The Catalina Classic Committee
There's new race in town....AND it's an official qualifier for this year's Catalina Classic Paddleboard race...it's happening Saturday, June 9th, at 7am, on the southside of Hermosa Beach Pier, it's the 1st Annual South Bay Paddle, benefiting SBBC. This 15 mile paddle is an official qualifier for the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. Register at www.paddleguru.com/races/thesouthbaypaddle
The Catalina Classic mourns The Passing of Legendary Waterman, Mike “Bones” Bright 11/3/1937 – 9/22/2017 Mike was a multiple record holder in the Catalina races of the 1950’s. He was winner of the Diamond Head race and numerous national and international paddleboard races. The legendary Tom Zahn claimed, “Bones” was the fastest paddler he’d every seen. Mike was a L.A. County Ocean Lifeguard and a top ocean athlete, dominating many lifeguard paddling events. He was a member of the USA lifeguard team invited to compete in the first International Surf Lifesaving Carnival, held in conjunction with the 1956 Melbourne, Australia, Olympic Games. Bones and fellow team members introduced the Aussies and the world to the modern balsawood and fiberglass surfboard, now called a Mal, slang for Malibu. This truly international exchange of equipment, training, competitive events, and organizational strategies advanced ocean life saving worldwide. Mike’s athleticism went beyond his ocean skills. He was an All American Basketball player at Mira Costa High School and an Inductee into El Camino College’s “Basketball Hall of Fame”. Bones is probably best remembered for his legendary volleyball skills. An All American from 1960-1964, he was a member of the USA National Volleyball team in 1960, competing at the World Championships in Brazil. In 1963 he earned a silver medal at the Pan Am Games. He was a two-time Volleyball Olympian, 1964 and 1968. In beach volleyball he competed in 44 Open Tournaments from 1958-1970. He was a 5-time winner of the Manhattan Beach Open, and is remembered with a plaque on the Manhattan Beach pier’s “Walk of Fame”. He was enshrined in the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1993. Mike grew up on Hermosa Beach’s 17th street and [...]
Buddy Bohn summed it up best by calling it one of the top five years he's seen for overall weather and ocean conditions at this year's Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. For those who don't know, Buddy Bohn has been at every race for the last 31 years - since it's reincarnation from the 20 year hiatus during the 60's and 70's. And it's no wonder that a record fell as the ever-so-humble Kelsey O'Donnell broke "Queen" Reen Corbet's record for the fastest women's time - a record that stood for 20 years. The overall stock record was in jeopardy as Steve Shlens was only seconds away from breaking Gary Fortune's 1999 stock record. This year's overall champion was 2010 Champ Adam Buckley, who was on the verge of not racing in early August but fortunately had a change of heart and entered this year's race with his wedding just a few weeks away. Good thing he did because Bud Light ponied up Caribbean cruises for the top finishers. In addition to Bud Light's prize, Joe Bark shaped beautiful 10' guns for each winner, Maui Jim awarded prizes to the top finishers in each field, DaKine sent the top 3 in each class home with travel bags, and Vertra Element Protection is making sure those top finishers are well protected for their intense training with sunblock packages. Finishing is the ultimate prize for all the racers, whether first or back of the pack. This year was special as everyone who entered completed the race in well under the 9 hour cut-off. In fact, this year all paddlers made it to the finish line for the annual photo - a first in recent race history. The race committee would like to [...]