Earlier today, the popular blog Supracer.com set the Stand Up Paddling (SUP) racing community alight when it broke the news that the Battle of the Paddle-California was relocating from Doheny State Beach to Salt Creek Beach Park for 2014. Known worldwide as simply the BOP, the Battle of the Paddle-California is to SUP racing what the Rose Bowl is to college football. The Granddaddy of them All, the Battle of the Paddle-California was responsible for the birth of modern SUP racing with its inaugural event in September 2008.
Mike Vaughan, owner of Pro SUP Shop in Marina del Rey, was excited about the news. “I love Salt Creek. It’s going to be a fantastic venue,” he said. 2014 will mark the 7th Annual Battle of the Paddle-California and Vaughan has been around the sport from the beginning, both as an athlete and a business owner. Though the venue remains anchored in the scenic Southern California town of Dana Point, the layout of the new location will present a different set of logistical challenges for the organizers after years of holding the event at Doheny State Beach. The steep cliffs at the back of the beach and smaller parking area are a stark contrast from the flat, open layout at Doheny State Beach. Another area beyond the control of the event organizers are the conditions on the water. Known for its surf break, Salt Creek could prove challenging for less experienced ocean paddlers.
Scheduled for the weekend of October 4-5th, the dates for the 2014 Battle of the Paddle-California conflict with the previously scheduled finals of the Waterman League’s Stand Up World Series in Oahu, Hawaii. The beauty and the beast that makes up the Battle of the Paddle-California is the inclusion of amateur and elite athletes side by side, whereas the Stand Up World Series is billed as a professional racing event. For now, it is unclear if the latter intends to yield and set a different date or stay the course and risk splitting the elite racing field.