South Bay Paddleboard season resumes as pandemic restrictions lift

Bob Meistrell Disappearance
Bob Meistrell aboard the Disappearance at the start of the 2011 Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. Photo by Greg Browning
Bob Meistrell Disappearance

Bob Meistrell aboard the Disappearance at the start of the 2011 Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. Photo by Greg Browning

Local paddleboard races, all of which were suspended last summer because of the pandemic, will resume starting June 5 with the South Bay Paddle at the Hermosa Beach pier. It will be followed by the Rock2Rock, from Catalina Island to Cabrillo Beach, on Sunday, June 27; and the Catalina Classic, from Catalina island to the Manhattan Beach Pier on Sunday August 29. 

The  R10 Race presented by Waterman Realty Advisors (formerly the Mexican Riviera R10), at Torrance Beach; and the Velzy/Stevens Pier to Pier, at the Manhattan pier, are tentatively scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and August 1, respectively. Both races are part of the International Surf Festival, which has not yet announced if it will be held this year.


Paddlers enter the water at the start of the South Bay Paddle in 2019. Easy Reader file photo

South Bay Paddle: Saturday, June 5, 7:30 a.m. Hermosa Beach Pier

The South Bay Paddle is a 15-mile, prone (hands only) race founded in 2018 as a qualifier for the Catalina Classic. It starts on the south side of the Hermosa Beach pier, and runs south four miles to the Palos Verdes Beach Club, at Torrance Beach. From there, the course runs four miles out to sea, to the R10 buoy. Then it runs six, wave and wind assisted (with luck) miles back to the Hermosa pier.

Divisions: stock, 14-foot, and unlimited. Age groups: groms (under 18), men, legends (50-plus), and open women. 

A fun, three-mile South Bay Paddle will start shortly after the 15 mile race, also on the south side of the Hermosa pier. The course runs  south to the Redondo Beach Breakwater and then one-mile out to sea, to the second, sailboat racing buoy. From there, it returns to the pier.

The South Bay Paddle is organized by director/founder Scott Rusher and the South Bay Paddleboard Club. An awards lunch will be held at noon at Waterman’s on Pier Plaza.

Online entries (through June 2): $85. Beach entries: $100. To register visit

Rock 2 Rock director George Loren (green board) joins the sprint at the start of the 2012 race as paddlers leave Two Harbors on Catalina Island. Photo by Ken Pagliaro

Rock2Rock: Sunday, June 27, 7:30 a.m., Two Harbors, Catalina Island

Rock 2 Rock is a challenging, 22-mile paddleboard race, open to prone and stand-up paddlers. The decades-old race was founded by paddleboard shaper Joe Bark, and in recent years has been organized by R10 restaurant owner George Loren. Paddlers race solo or as a relay team. The race starts at Two Harbors, on Catalina island and ends at Cabrillo State Beach, in San Pedro. The awards lunch is held on the beach, following the race. The race is a Catalina Classic qualifier. A portion of the entree fees and raffle proceeds benefit The Ocean of Hope, a support group for The Sarcoma Alliance. 

Online entries: $85 prior to June. $125 after June 1. To register visit

Paddlers gather at the end of the 2015 Catalina Classic. Photo by Mike Balzer

Catalina Classic: Sunday, August 29, 6 a.m. Two Harbors, Catalina

This year’s 41st Catalina Classic Paddleboard race will be held in memory of Steve Troeger, a former Los Angeles County Lifeguard Baywatch captain and all around waterman. He passed away in February 2020.

The Catalina Classic was first held in 1955 and is the sport’s oldest, continuing long distance race. The race starts at Two Harbors, on Catalina Island, and ends 32 miles later, at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Over the years, proceeds have benefited the L.A. County Jr. Lifeguard Scholarship Fund, The Manhattan Beach Roundhouse Aquarium, Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, ECF Kayne Eras Center, and 1% for the planet.

Many paddlers also utilize the race to raise money and awareness for their favorite charities:

Paddlers who have prequalified, by completing the 2019 race, must register by May 15. Others must register between May 15 and June 15 and compete in at least one qualifier race. In addition to the South Bay Paddle, and Rock2Rock, The Loop at Coronado Island on May 30, and The Waterman’s, at Swami’s in San Diego on July 10, are qualifying races. For more information visit

Registration: $250 at ER




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