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Overhead surf moves Cold Hands paddle race inside Los Angeles Harbor

Athletes gather on the harborside at Cabrillo Beach as they get ready for the start of the Cold Hands paddle race.
Athletes gather on the harborside at Cabrillo Beach as they get ready for the start of the Cold Hands paddle race.
Jessica Aichs

Dark clouds loomed ominously as paddlers gathered yesterday morning for the 11th Annual Cold Hands paddle race at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. “I don’t know about cold hands, but my feet are getting numb,” exclaimed one participant as competitors waited in knee deep water for the starting horn to sound.

Cabrillo Beach is divided into two sections; one half facing out towards the Pacific and the other in to the Port of Los Angeles. The Cold Hands race traditionally begins when paddlers launch on the ocean side and make their way along the breakwater to the historic lighthouse marking the entrance to the port where they briefly parallel the shipping lane of the nation’s largest port complex before turning back to the beach’s harbor side.

Due to a late winter storm and high surf advisory which saw waves crashing over the breakwater, organizers were compelled to hold this year’s event inside the harbor where the flat water was decidedly less threatening. Despite the inclement weather, 140 competitors braved the elements to take part in the event.

According to results posted by organizers to PaddleGuru, Joji Abasolo claimed line honors on his surfski with a time of 34:58. Prone and stand up paddlers made up the bulk of the rest of the field. Max First led the prone division with a time of 35:48 followed by Garrit Barth who finished first among Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) competitors on his 14’ SUP with a time of 36:18.

Perennial champion Kristin Thomas was the first female SUP athlete to finish as she charged to victory with a time of 43:19 just as the wind picked up and rain began to fall with increasing intensity throughout the area. Not far behind, Katie Hazelrigg led the pack as she became the first female prone paddler to cross the finish line with a time of 43:24.

John Martin captured the men’s prone stock class in 41:12 as Mark Miyamoto brought home the men’s 12’6” SUP division with a respectable time of 42:01. Regardless of their finish time, all competitors demonstrated extraordinary fortitude for coming out and taking part in Sunday’s event.

See the results posted to PaddleGuru for a complete listing of finish times at the 2014 Cold Hands paddle race.

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