The South Bay buzzed with excitement on Saturday, Feb. 22 as paddlers of all ages took to the water at the 2014 Lanakila Classic, hosted by the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in King Harbor, Redondo Beach. The club’s own Danny Ching entertained participants at the start line just outside the King Harbor breakwater as he demonstrated his paddling prowess on a new 404 SUP inflatable while over 130 athletes on a diverse array of paddle craft bobbed in the light chop at the beginning of the short course race.
The athletes delivered strong performances across all paddle craft divisions. According to the results announced by PaddleGuru, Chris McAllister claimed overall line honors in the short course with a time of 37 minutes, 39 seconds as he charged to victory in his surfski. Nathan Shore finished first among the OC1 paddlers, while the ever dominant Thomas “Maximus” Shahinian on his monstrous unlimited class SUP was the first stand up paddler to cross the line.
Belar Diaz of Team Quickblade fought off a hard charging Garrit Barth to finish first among the men’s 14’ SUP racers as teammate Brandi Baksic cruised to victory in the women’s 12’6” SUP field. Riviera’s Karl Ring continued his Winter Series sweep of the men’s 12’6” class SUPs while the South Bay’s own Gene “Tarsan” Smith powered home to another notable Team Quickblade finish in the men’s 12’6” SUP Sr. Master Division.
The long course featuring outrigger canoes and surfskis battling it out over a roughly 10 mile course brought equally impressive results as Patrick Dolan surged to victory in his surfski followed by outrigger canoe paddlers Danny Ching and Aimee Spector in the men’s and women’s OC1 divisions, respectively. A handful of athletes went above and beyond by paddling both courses and notably finished at the top of the field in both disciplines.
One of the more memorable moments came at the conclusion of the short course when the boys from Riviera Paddlesurf initiated in an impromptu board demo session. The “Great Riviera Board Swap” commenced on the water as SUP paddlers cross decked onto one another’s boards to try out the different shapes and designs. The camaraderie among paddlers is one of the great aspects of SUP racing. Competition during races can be intense, but most display impeccable sportsmanship towards one another once the finish line is crossed.