Catalina Classic statue dedicated

Retired lifeguard Buddy Bohn, who resurrected the Catalina Classic in 1982 with Carol Hogan, whose husband Bob founded the Catalina Classic in 1955.

photo by Chris Miller

by Mark Cole

A seven year long effort by the South Bay Boardriders Club (SBBC) to install a sculpture at the Manhattan Beach pier commemorating the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race was realized last Thursday, August 24, in time for the 46th running of the race on Sunday, August 27.

Annette and Brent Stevens’ financial contribution helped to bring the statue to life.

The sculpture features a lifesize figure of Hawaiian paddler flanked by a male knee paddler and a female prone paddler.

Sculptor of the statue Chris Barela flew in from his home in the Hawaiian Islands speaks to the crowd.

Designer Brian Kingston Kingston said the statue is meant “to not only honor the amazing athletes and their equipment, but create a clean, contemporary, and timeless look that will stand the test of time. The base is designed to represent the ocean, and the inset paddlers are angled to follow the line they would take paddling from the race’s starting point at the Isthmus on Catalina Island to the Manhattan Beach pier.”

South Bay Boardriders president Tom Horton helped spearhead commissioning of the Catalina Classic Statue.

Leading the SBBC effort were its president Tom Horton, treasurer Ed McKeegan, architect Michael Lee, and designer Kingston. 

Dive N’ Surf CEO Russ Lesser, whose company is a longtime supporter of the Catalina Classic.

Former Hermosa Beach pro surfer Chris Barela was commissioned to sculpt the statue. Barela previously sculpted the Tim Kelly lifeguard statue at the Hermosa Beach pier, and the statues of  Dive N’ Surf and Body Glove Founders Bill and Bob Meistrell in Redondo Beach’s King Harbor.

Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery helped secure approval for installation of the Catalina Classic Statue.

Construction contractors Bennett Talsky, and Peter O’Campo, and Craft Construction installed the sculpture. 


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