Prone and Stand Up Paddlers flocked to Mugu State Beach on 3 May for the 11th annual Malibu Downwinder sponsored by ZJ’s Boarding House and Michelob Ultra. “We had a bigger turn out this year,” said organizer Gary Fortune. Downwind conditions in Malibu are rarely a sure thing, however, Mother Nature did not disappoint this time around as wind between 12-17 mph blew steadily offshore.
“It was a really fun race,” said Mark Miyamoto, a 404 Team Rider from Redondo Beach. “There are not a lot of downwind races in California and this is one of my favorite races of the year.” The approximately seven mile course took paddlers along a southeasterly heading to Carillo State Beach where one of the best BBQs in all of paddling waited for paddlers at the finish. “There was really good wind with a lot of connecting runners,” said Pro SUP Shop’s Mike Vaughan.
Thomas Shahinian charged home to claim line honors as Tarzan Stand Up Paddle Boarding’s James Donovan III, aka JD3, skimmed atop the waves to finish second overall and first among the 14’ SUP paddlers. Team Quickblade’s Morgan Hoesterey finished first among the women, followed by 404’s Gillian Gibree.
The Malibu Downwinder is a well organized local event and with first class food and beverage sponsors. The Thousand Oaks Meat Locker smoked tri-tip, chicken and ribs on the beach as surf pounded the sand in the afternoon sunlight. Ample chips, salsa and guacamole were generously donated by Chipotle and half a dozen additional sponsors donated apparel and equipment for the highly sought after raffle. The awards are always memorable – handmade pottery, each piece engraved with the event’s date. Most importantly is the great camaraderie enjoyed by all both before, during and after the event. Mark your calendars; there will not be another one like this for about a year.