It was only one week before the event that I found myself scrambling to book a flight to SoCal to take part in the 2nd annual Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle, and am I ever stoked that I did ! This was THE premiere stand up paddle surf event of the season. Boasting on-the-water names from Kalama, Mitchell and Lopez, to the likes of Machado, (family in tow) on the beach watching, this was the Super Bowl of SUP!
One of four Canadians (that I know of) registered to compete, what is the likelihood that I would be sitting across the aisle of the plane from fellow BC paddler from Vernon, Kevin Obrien. He looked up from his Stand Up Paddle Magazine and asked me ( reading my Stand Up Paddle Journal ) “you going to the event?”. Too cool for words, a brotherhood was in the making. Speaking of brotherhood, I have yet to experience such a feeling of “family” or “brotherhood” at any event in my life as was evident at Doheny that weekend ! I have surfed the world over the past 25 years and have never experienced such genuine stoke and camaraderie on the beach or in the line-up anywhere. Whether competing or just testing demo boards from the many exhibitors on the beach, everyone shared the “aloha spirit” that was evident in every aspect of this event. From the Hawaiian blessing to start the event, to the Luau on Saturday night, the Polynesian spirit reigned supreme. Even Primo Beer was onsite to quench the pallet of us thirsty paddlers!
I could go into great detail about the winners, and the highlights of the event, but you can find that at www.rainbowsandals.com/BattleOfThePaddle/. The most important message here is that this event is a “must attend” for any individual or family that shares the passion for the genuine surf culture. I came away from the weekend knowing that SUP is destined to be the fastest growing recreational water sport in the world, and it’s enthusiasts are the type of people that truly embrace life’s greatest pleasures !