SANTA MONICA, California - At a time when races are disappearing or scaling back their ambitions, the Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival just keeps growing and getting better every year. For its 8th straight year a $15,000 prize purse and a reputation as one of most fun events on the paddle circuit drew top racers from all over the world who competed under overcast skies in the waters around the historic Santa Monica Pier. Attendance has increased every year at this event, with nearly 400 racers competed in a full-slate of ocean events including SUP, prone, ocean swimming, beach volleyball and dory racing.
There were a lot of dramatic moments in the key events this year. Men’s overall winner Slater Trout of Los Angeles capitalized on his wave-catching finesse to pull ahead at the end of the 5.2 mile distance paddle, where he caught a wave that put him on the beach with a time of 55:16, 20 seconds ahead of 2nd place Aussie Toby Cracknell and 3rd place finisher Danny Ching, the two of whom had a bit of bumper boards on the wave behind Trout as they came into the finish. And in the later afternoon SUP Paddle Cross race, Trout once again caught a bump that put him in the lead, early, only to get caught at the last second by Toby Cracknell in the sprint up the beach with Cracknell taking first by a whisker. The events tie-breaker rules give precedence to the winner of the distance race, so Trout took home the big prize. “It feels so good to come back here,” said Trout. “You’ve got to be perfect and on your A-game to win this event so I’m really happy to win it this year.
Slater Trout coming in for the win. | Photo Courtesy: Santa Monica Pier Corporation
The women’s division was also down to the wire. Candice Appleby, who has competed at nearly every Pier Paddle, came back this year to take overall. Appleby won the women’s 5.2 mile paddle at 1:01:48 with a 38 second lead over the next closest woman. According to Appleby, conditions on the course were tough, with lots of bumps in different directions, but she powered through. “There was a lot of water moving in every direction. I’m really stoked to be able to win,” said Appleby. “I love coming to the Santa Monica Pier Paddle. It was awesome as always. It has big event infrastructure and feel but a grass-roots vibe, so it’s really cool.”
Prone paddling has exploded in popularity recently and the prone fields at the Clif Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival were some of the largest ever seen with very fast performances turned in by both the men and women. It was a good day for the Aussie men with Luke Cuff and Nick Malcolm of the Gold Coast coming in one-two during the prone Paddle Cross. Malcolm also had a good finish in the distance race, coming in 2nd to Jack Bark, who took the elite 10.6 prone division with a time of 59:24.
Carter Graves of Coronado, California was once again impressive in the women’s prone division but did not sweep the event like last year. She took the distance race at 1:05: 00 but was overtaken by Abby Brown of Dana Point in the Prone Paddle Cross, winning with a commanding lead at 5:35. Graves placed second in that race with a time of 6:03.
Danny Ching, 3rd place finisher. | Photo Courtesty: Santa Monica Pier Corporation
Full 2017 race results are posted HERE.
The event is free and open to the public due to our partners: T-Mobile, Boxed Water, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Whole Foods, KROQ, and K-Earth, and benefits the Surfrider Foundation and the Bay Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is a global non-profit with decades spent fighting for coastal access and environmental issues. For more information, visit www.pierpaddle.com.
For more SUP Race news click HERE.
About the Santa Monica Pier Corporation:
The Santa Monica Pier Corporation (SMPC) is a non-profit, public benefit corporation dedicated to preserving and enhancing the Santa Monica Pier experience for all visitors. For more information, visit HERE.
About CLIF BAR & COMPANY:
Clif Bar & Company is a leading maker of nutritious and organic foods and drinks, including CLIF® Bar energy bar, LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®; and CLIF Kid®, Nourishing Kids in Motion®. Focused on sports nutrition and snacks for adventure, the family and employee-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and planet. For more information on Clif Bar & Company, please visit www.clifbar.com, check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/clifbar and follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/clifbar.