Catalina Channel lays down for famously challenging Rock 2 Rock Paddleboard race

Paul Cleary, of San Diego; Steven Sinckus, of Redondo; Max First, of Manhattan Beach: and Mauricio Leon De La Bara, of Marina Del Rey. Photo by Steve Hyde

Photos by Ken Pagliaro (

by Kevin Cody

The annual Rock 2 Rock paddleboard race is famous for bad conditions. The start at Two Harbors on Catalina Island typically has onshore winds whistling through the Isthmus, churning up the water.  The finish, at Cabrillo Beach, is known to windsurfers as Hurricane Gulch because of its powerful offshore winds.

Not this year. The only disruption was a slow moving freighter that forced the slower paddlers to sit up while it passed. Otherwise, conditions were as conducive to fast times any year in recent memory. The water was flat and the feared wind at the finish never materialized.

Veteran prone paddler Don Miralle, of San Diego, won with a time of 3:50. Veteran swimmer Zach Jirkovsky, of Ventura, and  Steven Sinkus, an outrigger paddler from Manhattan Beach, tied for second, just eight seconds behind Miralle.

Tied for third were Max First, winner of last month’s South Bay Paddle, and last year’s Catalina Classic; and his training partner Maurcio Leon de la Barra.

In the women’s stock division, veteran paddlers Amy Spector, DJ Wilson, both of Redondo, finished just one second apart. Spector’s winning time was 4:42

Bill Lafferty, of Costa Mesa won the 14-foot division in 4:25, followed by Steve Shikiya (4:34), of Palos Verdes, and Mike Avery, of Ventura, (4:36).

Dennis Gibson, of Dana Point, was the only stand-up paddler in the race. His time of 4:20 put him 10th overall.

The Rock 2 Rock was a qualifier for the Catalina Classic paddleboard race, to be held Sunday, August 29. ER

Upcoming paddleboard races

The next local paddleboard race is the 23rd Annual R10 Paddleboard Race on Saturday, July 29. The eight mile, out and in course runs from Torrance Beach to the R10 buoy and back. The next day, the Velzy Stevens Pier to Pier takes place at the Manhattan pier. The 1.6 mile race ends at the Hermosa Pier. Both races are part of the International Surf Festival. ER

Rock 2 Rock 2021 Results




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