Santa Monica: Shea Foudy And Danny Ching Take Top Prizes at the Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Races & Ocean Festival at the Santa Monica Pier
A $15,000 prize purse and a reputation as one of most fun events on the paddle circuit drew top racers from as far away as Brazil and Australia to compete in the 7th annual Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival at the Santa Monica Pier. More than 300 racers competed in a full-slate of ocean events including SUP, prone, ocean swimming, beach volleyball and dory racing.
Seventeen-year-old Shae Foudy of San Juan Capistrano returned for her second year as women’s overall winner. You may remember that last year Foudy won the overall title in a three way points tie-breaker between her, Annabel Anderson and Appleby because she had placed first in the tie-breaking Paddlecross. This year ended in another nail-biter. Appleby took the 5.5 elite women’s race with a time of 1:14:48, a full two minutes ahead of 2nd place Foudy at 1:16:52. That left them going into the Women’s Stand Up Paddlecross with another tie breaker potential. If Foudy could win the Paddlecross, she would take the title again, even if Candice took 2nd. Which is exactly how it ended again. Foudy’s fast first place finish in the Paddlecross put her on top to clinch the overall event championship and carry away $2,400 in prize money. Appleby took 2nd overall followed by Lexi Alston in 3rd overall.
And on the men’s side of things, Redondo Beach waterman Danny Ching made his first appearance at the event. Ching dominated the 5.5 mile paddle and then squeaked out 2nd in the Paddlecross, passing his 404 teammate and protégé Noah Hopper in a running sprint up the finish chute. Slater Trout took first in the Paddlecross but Ching’s first place in the 5.5 miler and second in Paddlecross gave him more total points than Trout’s 1st in Paddlecross and 3rd in the distance race. Giorgio Gomez took home 3rd overall.
As in past years the Paddlecross was the most exciting event for spectators. Coming into the sand it looked at one point as if Appleby might overtake Foudy, but Shae caught a small bump just ahead of the rest of the women and rode it to the sand one wave ahead of Appleby, positioning her for an easy sprint up the finish line to victory. Appleby was gracious as always, saying later, “Any day on the water is a great day. I’m so happy to be here. The Santa Monica Pier Paddle is still my favorite event. ”
Unseasonably cold and windy conditions made for tough conditions out on the long course with a wind and chop that favored the prone racers over SUP paddlers. Overall times were a several minutes slower than previous years and prone paddler Jack Bark took advantage of his low-wind profile to bring home the fastest overall time on the long course with a 1:05:35, nearly a minute faster than SUP winner Ching at 1:06:17. Women’s prone winner Carter Graves also posted the fastest women’s time, coming in faster than her SUP colleagues with a time of 1:14:22 compared to Appleby’s 1:14:48 and Foudy’s 1:16:52.
Australian prone paddler Nick Malcolm took the overall prone prize after placing second to Jack Bark in the distance race but beating him at paddlecross, where Bark placed 3rd behind Malcolm and 2nd place winner James Bray from Carpinteria, California.
Carter Graves of Coronado, California was dominant in the women’s prone divisions. She took both the distance race and the paddlecross to sweep the overall championship. Graves also won the 2016 Dottie Hawkins award that is given every year to one woman who gives the most inspirational performance.
Jonas Letieri of Brazil won the corresponding Pete Peterson Award for most inspirational athlete. Letieri, who lost both of his hands and forearms in an electrical accident while volunteering at his church, paddles with the help of a specially-designed adaptive paddle crafted by Quickblade to help with Letieri’s specific challenges. This was Letieri’s first visit to the Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Races, where he competed in both the 5.5 mile distance race with a time of 01:35:18 and Paddlecross. “I’m really happy to be here,” said Letieri, “This is a wonderful event. Thank you.”
“Tommy Bahama is so proud to be a part of an event that invites the entire community down to the pier to enjoy a day of fun in the ocean,” said Rob Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Tommy Bahama. “Our job is to help people make life one long weekend, and this event is the best day at the beach of all.”
The event helps benefit The Bay Foundation, which works with partners to create and put into action innovative projects & policies for Santa Monica Bay that clean up our waterways, create green spaces in urban areas, and restore natural habitats both on land and under water. The Bay Foundation will receive a portion of the net proceeds from the event.
Full 2016 race results are posted at https://gemininext.com/results/?event_id=4830
For more information, visit www.pierpaddle.com or www.facebook.com/pierpaddle