Kevin Cody

South Bay, San Diego Paddleboard rivalry resumes during rough Rock 2 Rock Race

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Geoffrey Page comes in first place following a rough Catalina Channel crossing in the 22-mile Rock to Rock Paddleboard Race. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Kevin Cody

The South Bay, San Diego paddleboard rivalry went badly for the South Bay on Sunday at the Rock 2 Rock Paddleboard Race. The first three prone paddleboard finishers were all from San Diego. Geoff Paige was first in 4:29:50, followed by his training partner Jon Loren in 4:35:24 and Alex Mercell in 4:39: 48. The 22 mile, open ocean race started at Two Harbors and ended at Cabrillo Beach.

The first South Bay prone paddler to finish was race director George Loren, of Redondo Beach, who finished fourth, in 4:41:58.

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But the South Bay results weren’t as bad as two weeks ago when San Diego paddlers captured seven of the top 10 places at the inaugural South Bay Paddle in Hermosa Beach.

In Sunday’s Rock 2 Rock, rookie paddlers and former Mira Costa surf stars Kelly Zaun and Dayton Silva finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Casey Annis of Marina del Rey was eighth.

Cole Horton, of Manhattan Beach pulls up at the finish of the Rock 2 Rock paddleboard race. Photo by Kevin Cody

Page’s win was notable for the fact that he is 61, twice the age of most of the paddlers and almost four times the ages of Mira Costa wrestler Chadwick Reid Inskeep (6:08), and Chadwick water polo player Jared Nachman (6:07). The two 16-year-olds were the youngest solo finishers.  

“What I liked about this race is we had a lot of  young new paddlers who will be top finishers in a few years,” race director Loren said.

Page’s time was nearly an hour slower than last year’s winning time. Paddlers attributed the slow times to a southerly wind that pushed them north of the rhumb line.

“I was beat up. When I saw I had the lead at mile 18, I told myself, the next four miles will be the most important four miles of your life,” Page said.

Overall first place went to the OC1 (single seat outrigger) team of Wade Wilford, of San Diego and Amie Specter, of Redondo Beach. They finished in 3:56:24.

The stock division relay division was won by Rodney Ellis and Steven Sinkus, of Redondo Beach. They finished third overall in 4:30:30

The first place stand-up relay team was Olympus Board Shop paddlers Jeremy Godo Kiss and Mike Guerrero, who finished in 5:18:05. Their time was 48 minutes slower than Godo Kiss’ winning time last year, when he paddled solo.

Godo Kiss’s hopes for a third consecutive victory in the Rock 2 Rock solo SUP division ended before he got to the island. On the ride from King Harbor to Two Harbors on Saturday afternoon, his 21-foot Wellcraft powerboat got bounced around so badly by the four- to 8-foot swells that a fin snapped off the race board he had brought with him.

The trip,which normally takes him 45 minutes took nearly two-and-a-half hours. It would have been longer without help from the sea gulls, he said.

“We were out of sight of the mainland and the island and the compass was bouncing around so much that I couldn’t use it. Plus we lost cell phone reception. So we followed some sea gulls and fortunately they were going to Two Harbors,” he said.

That evening, when it became clear his board couldn’t be repaired, God Kiss and Guererro decided to form a relay team. ER

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