Miserable conditions make for memorable SB Paddle at the Hermosa Beach pier
Photos by Jefferson Graham
After Andrew Amenta completed the 15-mile South Bay Paddle Saturday morning in three hours, 40 minutes and 39 seconds, his wife Alyson asked him how he felt.
“It wasn’t like the pictures,” he answered.
Amenta is from San Luis Obispo. He trains in Morro Bay, and is used to challenging conditions. Which is why he chose the South Bay Paddle for his first competitive paddleboard race. Photos from previous South Bay Paddles show smooth water and sunny skies.
Conditions this year weren’t like that, which Alyson was fully aware of. She competed in the SB Paddle short course (three mile) race, and finished first.
“Miserable conditions make for a memorable race. No one remembers an easy race,” a local paddler reminded the visiting Amentas.
Just paddling out through the head high surf to get to the start at the end of the Hermosa pier was a challenge. The first four miles south to the Palos Verdes Beach Club were choppy due to a south headwind. The water smoothed out in the lee of the Peninsula for the four miles out to the R10 buoy. But then the wind and accompanying bumpy water returned to follow the paddlers over the seven miles back to the Hermosa pier.
In previous years, the race has ended on the beach. But because of the large surf, race director Scott Rusher put the finish line just outside the surf line. Rusher founded the race in 2018 as a qualifier for the Catalina Classic. The Classic is a 32 mile race, from Two Harbors on Catalina Island, to the Manhattan Beach pier. This year’s Classic is Sunday, Aug. 28.
Despite the challenging conditions, Alex Merrill of Seal Beach, took first place with a time of 2:23:04, just three minutes slower than Max First’s winning time last year. Chris Russell finished second in 2:25:05. First, who also won the SB Paddle in 2019, finished third in 2:28:05.
Liz Hunter, of Oceanside, winner of the SB Paddle in 2018, and of the Catalina Classic in 2019, and 2021, was the first female finisher, in 2:58:07; followed by Jenna Solberg in 3:14:45; and Brooke Billmeyer, in 3:19:01.
In the short course (three mile race), Frank Bird, of San Pedro, was first in 31:01, followed by Wally Buckingham, of San Diego, in 31:46, and Jani Lange, of Hermosa, in 33:30.
The top three women finishers in the short course were Alyson Amenta (38.40), Coral Coye (38.50) and Lorraine Grubber (40.14). ER
Long course (15 miles)
|13||Mauricio Leon De La Barra||2:44.25|
|19||Dan M (Milachuk?)||2:51.09|
|26||Douglas Q. Weems||2:55.15|
|75||Alec Avench||Time unavailable|
|76||Angela Lavelle||Time unavailable|
|77||Sean Decker||Time unavailable|
|78||Michael Boyd||Time unavailable|
|79||Ryan Schulten||Time unavailable|
Short Course (3 miles)
|1||Frank Bird||31.01||Stock (12 ft.)||1|
|2||Wally Buckingham||31.46||Stock (12 ft.)||2|
|4||Brian Robbins||35.01||14 ft.||1|
|11||Emile Shawa||40.49||14 ft.||2|
|12||Andy Lihani||45.38||Stock (12 ft.)||1|
|13||Mark Strange||45.45||Stock (12 ft.)||2|
|14||Rock Strange||45.5||Stock (12 ft.)||3|