Stand-up paddling has become one of the more popular Pacific sports. Little known a decade ago, the sport has taken water sports by storm, with participants hitting the water on lakes, rivers and protected bays. Stand-up padding is more challenging in the open ocean, especially when wind and currents fight against you, but many paddlers are more than up for the challenge.
This new sport has become increasing popular on Catalina Island, where the leeside of the island offers many protected bays for novices to perfect their skills and paddling a few hundred yards out provides a challenge for more advanced paddlers.
For the last couple of years, one of the most challenging stand-up paddle races has been the Island to Island Waterman Relay, which takes competitors from the start at Santa Barbara Island, across 28 miles of open ocean and then finishes at Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors on Santa Catalina.
The Waterman Relay, scheduled this year for Oct. 11, also includes categories for outrigger canoes and paddleboards, which means it attracts some of the top competitors in those sports as well.