Mother nature gives final push for competitors in near 10-mile distance race at Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle
Photos and text by Steve Breazeale
The water was relatively calm in the hours building up to the finish of the distance races at the 2013 Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle. But when the top Stand-up Paddleboard distance racers in the world rounded the final buoy and headed for Doheny State Beach, mother nature responded. A continuous set of waves suddenly came in, providing the finishers, who had been paddling for close to two hours, the waves necessary to make the finish a wild one.
With the sets rolling in, positioning became key during the final stretch.
After making a late charge in the men’s individual category, Chuck Glynn was able to ride a wave all the way to the beach and stretch his comfortable lead. Glynn, who finished with a time of 1:33:04, was awarded a cash prize as the first men’s competitor to reach the beach.
The men’s elite race provided the most drama, as the top-3 finishers came within eight seconds of each other.
Travis Grant, who was racing despite having an injured ankle, was the first to shore and hobbled his way up the sand to a first-place finish. Grant completed the 10-mile trek in 1:37:19.
Danny Ching (1:37:24) was the first paddler to round the turnaround buoy located five miles south but he was overtaken by Grant and finished in second. Zane Schweitzer (1:37:27) and Beau O’Brian (1:37:31) finished in third and fourth, respectively.
The men’s elite races had the closest margin of victory but in the women’s elite division, there was no contest. New Zealand’s Annabel Anderson breezed her way to a convincing victory. The win capped off an impressive weekend for the Kiwi, as it was her second major victory in as many days. On Saturday, Anderson repeated as the overall women’s champion.
The day also featured multiple kids races, with a short and long course available, and kids relay races.
The open men’s, women’s and elite divisions also had a relay race. An attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “Most Surfers on a Single Wave” was unsuccessful.
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