Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stand Up Paddle Racing: Malibu-to-Marina Race '11... a quick synopsis.

I don't have enough time to go into it so I'll hit you with some highlights of today's race. First of all, stand up boards are only allowed to compete in the short (5.2 mile) course which runs from Mother's Beach in Marina Del Rey out and around the breakwater at the mouth of the harbor.

The brutal part of the course is the half mile or so that takes you out of the protected harbor and straight into the surf, chop, reverberation and cross swell nastiness that comes off the outer breakwater wall. Today, by all accounts (including the guys who paddle it daily) was GNARLY!!! Once you cleared the protective jetties of the harbor and came around the breakwall, you were being hit from all directions by steep, short period chop and swell. I got pitched in twice (brrrrr), dropped in speed from 5.5 mph to .5 mph and was passed by eight paddlers who left me behind as I tottered, sputtered and cursed my way around the mark. I suck when the conditions get messy and getting on a stable board is going to be a MUST before the open water Seaside Slide on April 2nd.

I did suck it up once I hit the flatwater and was able to catch and pass all but two of the guys who blew by me on the outside. I was happy with my performance (I felt really strong) on the flatwater and discouraged by how ineffective I was in the open ocean. It's pretty obvious what I need to work on and I'm very clear on what I'm going to be looking for in my next board.


kevin said...

hells yeah johnny boy !!. lets carb load again and just have "1 beer" .

John Ashley said...

I'm in Kevin- before every race!

srfnff said...

What exactly are you going to look for in your next board?

John Ashley said...

Hey Gary,

Welcome to the world of racing stand ups... it's fun! Tim and I went into my new race board with the idea that it needed to be scale for my size. I've been using a board for the past year that's really sized for a guy in the 180-190 range. Basically, too tippy for me.

We increased the width and have gone completely away from the narrow pintail style. I'm all about stability and comfort- if I feel good and solid out there, I'm much faster.

We'll see how it goes- I should have the new one by the end of the month or so.