SUP and Outrigger Canoe Extravaganza at Dana Point Ocean Challenge
Dana Point, California has recently established itself as the epicenter of West Coast SUP racing and if you need any proof look no further than the recent Dana Point Ocean Challenge. (pictured Thomas Shahinian - photo courtesy Thomas Shahinian)
The event started some 23 years ago primarily as a paddling race for the boats but over the last few years has seen an explosive growth in the number of Stand Up Paddlers doing battle on the open ocean course. Racing, hosted by the Dana Outrigger Canoe Club, went off this past March 5 with OC1 (1 person Outrigger Canoes), OC2, Surfski, and SUP’s all lined up to do battle. With short and long course options on tap there was something for everyone. The racing, although super competitive is centered on having good times on the water.
The waters just off Dana Point are often host to some of the world’s top paddlers and while perennial race favorite, and undisputed #1 SUP Racer Danny Ching, was off OC1 racing in Hawaii’s Maui Jim NS Air Koa Nui Championship the field was still stacked with talent. Amongst the paddlers were Chuck Patterson, Brandi Baksic, Thomas Shahinian, Rob Rojas, Past Olympian Jim Terrell, EJ Johnson, Anthony Vela, and the SF Bay Area’s Ben Sarrazin making for a veritable who’s who of paddlers.
As racing kicked off for the 103 paddlers lined up in the SUP fleet it was Rob Rojas taking it to the rest of the Unlimited class boards and taking top honors. And this was no close race. Rojas gapped second place Thomas Shahinian by over a minute and 20 seconds a relatively large delta for 45 minutes or so of paddling. Brian Stockdale rounded out the podium.
For the 14 footers it was a demonstration of brains and brawn as the Master’s division Jim Terrell schooled the kids in how it’s done taking the win. Terrell never rested easy with Dan Deboer always lurking just within striking distance. Deboer finished 16 seconds back with John Becker taking 3rd.
Next up was the Stock 12’6 fleet which saw Anthony Vela cruise to victory with a time of 51 minutes and 33 seconds. Yuba Bicycles Ben Sarrazin finished second with Matt Becker completing the top 3.