Dana Point, CA – (Sept. 25, 2011) – California’s distance paddling king Danny Ching returned to the winner’s podium at the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle, taking first in the 10-mile stand-up paddle (SUP) race. Dominant female paddler Candice Appleby (Hawaii), who took first in yesterday’s women’s Elite race, won the women’s division. A total of 230 racers took part in today’s distance race. There were more than 900 race entries over the course of the weekend.
Above: Ching rounds the 5-mile halfway buoy. Photo: Pat Huber.
After finishing third yesterday to Connor Baxter (Hawaii) and Jamie Mitchell (Australia) in the 3-mile Elite buoy course final, Ching (Redondo Beach) showed that no-one is faster over the long course, breaking away in the first minute and never relinquishing his solid lead.
Ching completed the 10 miles from Dana Point to San Clemente and back in one hour and 17 minutes; one minute and 12 seconds ahead of Rob Rojas (San Clemente, CA). Third place on equal time of 1:20:23 were Australian pair Travis Grant and Jamie Mitchell.
Appleby, who finished in 43rd place overall, did so in a time of 1:30:11 – 13 minutes behind Ching. New Zealand’s Annabel Anderson, who finished second to Appleby yesterday, was second again with a time of 1:32:22. Third was Brandi Baksic (San Clemente, CA, 1:32:44).
Conditions for today’s race were calm seas and a light side-onshore wind that offered no free rides. Air temperatures were cold – low 60s – as a cold front moved in from the North.
“This was definitely a tough race,” said Ching. “You had to work every inch of the way – no bumps or glides like you get in the Hawaii Battle. But after losing yesterday in the Elite race, I was pumped to get out there and make it happen today. It feels good to finish up with a win.”
Appleby can return to Hawaii with the satisfaction of eclipsing the world’s best SUP women in both of this weekend’s key races:
“This is the best way to wrap up the weekend,” said Appleby. “It’s been a great two days of racing and I think this is the strongest turnout ever for a Battle of the Paddle event, so to win means even more. It’s very satisfying.”
In the prestigious Team Relay, a record 44 4-person teams take to the water. The winning team was C4 WATERMAN: Travis Grant (Australia), Noa Ginella (Hawaii), Mariko Strickland (Hawaii), and Georges Cronsteadt (Tahiti). Second place was TEAM NAISH #1, and third was TEAM HOBIE #1.
Offering an eye to the future, the top five athletes in the Kids Race were: Mo Freitas (Hawaii); Christopher Bluthardt (Hawaii), Nick Scheel (San Clemente, CA), Vanina Walsh (female, Hawaii), and Connor Marland (Malibu, CA).
The 4th annual Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle was the most successful ever. A big thank you to all who made it memorable, and especially for the support of the sponsors: Rainbow Sandals, California State Parks, Clif Bar, DSBIA, Patagonia, Riviera Paddlesurf, Longboard Lager, Maui Jim, Duke’s and Hobie.