It seems that wherever there is a Battle for the Paddle, Danny Ching emerges victorious. In June Ching won both the SUP 10-mile distance race and 5-mile elite race in Waikiki, HI. Now back in his home state of California Ching made it a clean sweep. This past Sunday in Dana Point, CA Ching once again won both the SUP10 mile and 5 mile contests…
Ching led the field of 159 from start to finish, racing in the unlimited 18-foot paddleboard division. He crossed the line in one hour, two minutes and 19 seconds, ahead of Rob Rojas (San Clemente, 1:02:59) and Chuck Patterson (Dana Point, 1:03:52).
In the shorter 14-foot division, Australian paddle icon Jamie Mitchell was the first to finish in a time of 1:09:13. Mitchell was pushed to the limit and the finish line by Tahiti’s George Cronsteadt and Maui’s Slater Trout, who were tied for second place just one second behind him.
“It has been an unbelievable weekend,” said Ching. “There’s no doubt that it doesn’t get more fun than this. I love to paddle – kayaks, surf ski, outrigger canoe, but to get out there on the water standing up, catching waves, it’s the greatest feeling.”
The women’s race was equally intense and one of the fastest in Battle of the Paddle history. California’s Brandi Baksic, paddling a 14-footer, won $800 for her time of 1:15:25 – just six minutes after Jamie Mitchell. Behind Baksic was Rachel Brunton (California, 1:16:30), and Andrea Moller (Maui, 1:17:00).
“I wasn’t even thinking about the other girls, because I knew they were hot on my heels,” said Baksic. “I didn’t want to know how close they were!”
The third annual Battle of the Paddle California wrapped up in true festival style with a wild relay battle between 51 teams that represented the full spectrum of stand up paddling: men, women, young, old, professionals and amateurs. For the elite paddlers the win carries ultimate team bragging rights, and the $1,200 victory belonged to Team SUP Company, that included Jamie Mitchell, Slater Trout and Brandi Baksic. There was plenty of carnage as 51 paddlers at a time raced it through shoulder-high surf, around a buoy course and back through the waves before finishing with a beach sprint to tag their next paddler. Mitchell, the anchor paddler of Team SUP Co, brought the weekend to a climactic close by surging past Team Hobie’s Chuck Patterson on the biggest wave of the day to sprint home with the win. Team Hobie had held the lead through more than 40 minutes of racing.