Catalina Crossing is Coming to Town

The Southern California Outrigger Association brings the Catalina Crossing, two-days of outrigger racing with races between Newport Beach and Catalina Island.

NEWPORT BEACH— The 2022 Catalina Crossing U.S. Outrigger Championships, the pinnacle race of the Southern California Outrigger Association, will take place Sept. 10-11. The Catalina Crossing is an annual race that will be going into its 63rd year.

The Nov. 10 races will begin outside the jetty in Newport Beach; all canoes are stationed at the Back Bay Dunes and will leave from there. Canoes are asked to be off the beach by 7:30 a.m. to be as close to an 8 a.m. start time as possible. The Nov. 11 race will depart from Lovers Cove in Avalon and will depart at 10:30 a.m. All crews will have a satellite tracker on them, so their location is always known. Multiple divisions will race alongside each other, and the satellite tracker will determine the winner of each division in the cumulative race. The average race time for the women and co-ed division is four to six hours, and the average for the men’s division is approximately three-and-a-half hours to six hours, depending on the conditions and fitness of the crews racing.

As in any race, the fastest time wins, but because the events will have multiple divisions, there will be winners in each division, all based on when they finish the race.

“Each team has nine paddlers, but only six can be in the racing canoe, so that leaves three relief paddlers in the accompanying escort boat,” said Catalina Race Chair, Cheance Adair in an email from Aug. 18. “A change coach generally travels with a team, and will tell the skipper when to drive up ahead of the racing canoe, and drop the relief paddlers in the water, in line with the racing canoe, the canoe approaches the paddlers in the water, and while in motion if there are three paddlers in the water, three paddlers will exit the canoe, and the new paddlers will “pop” in and start paddling…”

Race fees are $650 per crew, and entry fees include canoe storage in Avalon and the Sunday afternoon awards dinner for the Sept. 10 paddlers.

“This year’s event is currently at 118 total crews,” said SCORA Registrar Caren Thompson in an email from Aug. 19. “Thirty of those crews are visitors meaning they are not SCORA member clubs. Those 30 come from a variety of locations: Tahiti, Hawaii (all islands), Northern California, Seattle, and Washington DC.”

Race divisions include:

Races on Saturday, Sept. 10

Co-Ed – Unlimited

Co-Ed – 19/U (10 Man)

Women – Unlimited

Women – Masters Unlimited (age 40+)

Women – Senior Masters Unlimited (age 50+)

Women – Golden Masters Unlimited (age 55+)

Women – 19 & Under (10 man)

Races on Sunday, Sept. 11

Co-Ed – Masters Unlimited (age 40+)

Co-Ed – Sr Masters Unlimited (age 50+)

Men – Unlimited

Men – Masters Unlimited (age 40+)

Men – Senior Masters Unlimited (age 50+)

Men – Golden Masters Unlimited (age 55+)

Men – 19 & Under (10-man crew)

A skipper’s and coach’s meeting will be held on Sept. 9 at the Newport Dunes at 5 p.m. A presentation of the Wahine award will be held on Sept. 10 in the center of town in Avalon at 3:45 p.m., and a presentation of the Kane award will be held on Sept. 11 at the Newport Dunes at 4:30 p.m.

“Wahine is Hawaiian for women,” said Thompson. “The women’s awards presentation is done on Wrigley Stage in Avalon. Award tiles will be given to the 1-3rd place winners in each division. Kane is Hawaiian for men. The men’s awards are done at the Newport Dunes in Newport Beach. Same as the women, they are awarded a 1-3rd place in each division.”

The first outrigger race held in California was on Sept. 20, 1959. This first race was a long-distance race from Avalon to the Newport Dunes inside the California Coast.

The renowned Duke Kahanamoku, a Hawaiian competition swimmer who popularized the sport of surfing, served as the Grand Marshall of the first California Outrigger event and founded the Catalina to Newport Dunes race, the original California Outrigger Classic. The subsequent races were underwritten by the Balboa Improvement Association and Ira Dowd, part owner of the Newport Dunes.

For more information or to register for the event, visit https://www.catalinacrossing.org/event-info/.

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