Get ready for the SoCal Ocean Racing Winter Series! If you're new to stand up paddle and are kinda, sorta feeling like you might want to jump into the paddleboard racing scene, the SoCal Ocean Winter Series is the best way to get started in racing. Here's why:
|The first race of the winter series: La Jolla Invitational.|
1. The smaller, friendlier race circuit. The Winter Racing series is a set of races sponsored by local Southern California paddling clubs. You probably won't run into any of the big paddling "names" out there (although Danny Ching does occasionally show up for the Oceanside race) which is a good thing because that means that your first race probably won't become a four hundred person ball of choppy water, mass start chaos. Small races mean big fun because you get a chance to make some new friends in a low key, race setting.
2. Cost is low, aloha is big. If you want to race in the Battle of the Paddle, you're going to fork over $80. The La Jolla Invitational? $25- an absolute bargain.
3. Divisions for everybody. Don't worry about having to race against a 19' unlimited board for plastic trophy glory- at these races, there are generally age and board class divisions for everybody from a kids division to a geezer division, there's something for everybody. For example, if you don't have a stand up paddle race board, show up anyways because usually there's a "surfboard" division that may even be broken down into age group divisions. Now you've got no excuse!
4. Good grinds! Part of the entry fee almost always includes a lunch afterwards and sometimes a little bit of breakfast before the race. The after race eating session is really what it's all about and I've had some great times at the food tent. You can expect each club to offer up their specialty. My favorite is the baked potato and chili bowl offered at the Becky Stewart race in Oceanside harbor. Remember, race hard/eat hard, you earned it.
5. Meet the folks, make some friends. These small, club races are a great way to break into the paddling community. Universally, paddle-folk are friendly and welcoming. Expect to trade numbers, make new friends and learn more about the sport of paddle racing. You'll see these people again and again (you'll probably make friends with those one or two people who are your major competitors on the water as well) and will become part of the racing crew. Oh yeah, for you singles out there, if you're looking to meet physically active, generally upbeat, good looking people, I can't think of a more target rich environment.