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CIVR Blog: Catalina Ski Race

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The Catalina Ski Race starts and ends in Long Beach with an exciting turn near Avalon. Photo courtesy Daren Van Ryte / OC Photo Graphics

Catalina Ski Race zooms into Avalon July 19

Catalina Island and the waters surrounding it are home to a cornucopia of races, relays and runs. Marathons, triathlons and bike rides are just a few of the ways that athletes challenge themselves on this Southern California vacation getaway. The waters between the island and the mainland also see their fair share of competitions, including swims and paddles. Each summer for the last 65 years, those waters have also seen one of the fastest competitions.

The Catalina Ski Race attracts top water skiers from around the world for one of the most challenging open ocean water ski races on the globe. Competitors regularly reach speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour as they race across the channel, swing around the turn boat which will be off Descanso Beach and then head back to the mainland for the finish line. The race starts and finishes just off the Queen Mary in Long Beach, but hundreds of spectators line up to watch the turnaround on the island.

This year’s Catalina Ski Race is scheduled for Saturday, July 19. The first boats with their skiers will leave the starting line at 8:53 a.m. Helicopters frequently follow the racers, so air traffic may be a bit heavy. The race concludes back in Long Beach, with top skiers typically finishing in less than an hour.

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