The 37th annual Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race returns to Manhattan Beach, Sunday August 26th. The race will begin promptly at 6:00am at the Isthmus of Catalina. The top finishers will arrive at the Manhattan Beach Pier about 5 hours later, followed by the remaining athletes up to 9 hours later.

The Catalina Classic, the world’s most historic paddleboard race will host 85 paddlers as they make the 32 mile crossing of the channel, from the Isthmus to the Manhattan Beach Pier. Riding paddleboards of lengths between 12 and 18 feet, these watermen will use only their arms to propel themselves through the water.Paddlers from France, Australia, Hawaii, and the U.S.A’s East and West coast, will be competing against each other, the elements, and the limits of their mental and physical abilities as they race across one of the Pacific’s deepest and busiest channels.

The Catalina Classic originated in 1955 when Bob Hogan along with Greg Noll, Ricky Grigg, Tommy Zahn and other surf pioneers decided to race their paddleboards from Catalina to the mainland. Since the 50’s, the race has seen some of the world’s greatest watermen including Dale Velzy, Micky Munoz, Miki Dora, Laird Hamilton, Buzzy Kerbox, and Jaimie Mitchell.

The 2012 Classic features several winners from the sport’s most prestigious paddleboard competitions. Returning champions Sean Richardson and Adam Buckley will face off against each other in the Unlimited Division. Women’s Stock Champion Jo Ambrosi from Australia looks to defend her title again this year against the largest field of women’s paddlers ever assembled for the Catalina Classic.

Adding to the list of strong contenders is legendary shaper and waterman, Joe Bark.  Joe won the Classic in 1988 and 1989 and will be competing in a record 29th crossing with his son, the 2012 Molokai Champ Jack Bark, and daughter Gemma Bark.

Body Glove co-founder Bob Meistrell will be manning the helm of the lead boat, the Disappearance, for the 25th consecutive year. To stay informed throughout the race, follow the lead boat as they tweet live updates at http://twitter.com/CatalinaClassic.

The Classic also salutes this years paddlers who have taken on the additional challenge of raising money for several non-profit organizations including Ocean of Hope, Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, and the ALS Association.  Last year, paddlers generated over $100k to support important causes like these.

The 2012 Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race is made possible by the generous support of Body Glove, Bud Light, Maui Jim, Bark Paddleboards and Da Kine.

The Catalina Classic is the oldest and most celebrated endurance paddleboard race in the world. The Catalina Classic Paddleboard Association, Inc. is dedicated to preserving the Catalina Classic 32 mile paddleboard race for the watermen and women who carry on the race tradition each August.

Image courtesy Body Glove

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