Hennessey’s Return to the Pier, USSUP Michelob Ultra open summer paddle season
The Southern California summer paddleboard racing season opened Monday, over the Memorial Day weekend, at the Hermosa Beach pier with nearly 100 prone and stand-up competitors.
The morning began with the Hennessey Return to the Pier, a three-mile race from the Hermosa Beach pier to the Manhattan Beach pier and back.
The relatively smooth water favored stand-up paddlers, who represented the top three finishers. Fernando Stalla and Javier Jimenez finished in a dead heat to share first place in the men’s SUP division. Los Angeles County lifeguard Brian Murphy finished third. Hermosa Beach stand-up paddlers Tamara Lentz, Antoinette Coco finished first and second in the women’s SUP division, followed by and Maili Bergman of Hawaii.
Dana Point highschooler Max Flemming won the stock SUP division. Scott Rusher, of Manhattan Beach, won the unlimited prone paddleboard division. Brother and sister Hogan Inscore and Elle Inscore of Redondo Beach won the men’s and women’s stock prone divisions.
The Hennessey race was followed by the second stop on the USSUP Michelob Ultra Tour.
Some of the world’s top stand-up paddlers competed, including Slater Trout, winner of this year’s Dana Point Ocean Challenge in March and the USSUP’s first stop in Huntington Beach in April.
Trout won again Monday, but only because fellow Hawaiian Matt Becker failed to round the finish line buoy.
Trout led on the first lap of the three lap, triangular course, marked by a buoy in the impact zone and two buoys near the end of the Hermosa Beach pier. But Becker caught a wave on the second lap and another wave on the third lap to build a seemingly insurmountable lead. Then, as he approached the finish line, he passed on the wrong side of the final buoy and was disqualified. Zane Schweitzer and Javier Noz finished second and third.
Max Flemming recorded his second win of the day by winning the USSUP Michelob open men’s division. Hermosa Beach surfboard shaper Pat Ryan was second and Sean Nerreny third.
In the women’s USSUP races, Lentz picked up her second win of the day with a first in the women’s pro division. Erika Benetiz won the women’s open division.
Upcoming paddleboard races:
Hobie/Hennessey’s U.S. Championships, Saturday May 31
Doheny Beach, Dana Point
Prone and stand-up paddlers will race a nine mile, open ocean course. Stand-up paddlers will also compete in the Waterman’s Challenge — a 5 miler and a slalom race, using the same board. Men’s SUPs must be 14-foot and under, women’s 12-foot-6 and under. $65. A fun, three mile race will also be held. $45. (www.hennesseyspaddleboarding.com).
Riviera Mexican Grill R-10 Race, Saturday June 8
The Riviera Mexican Grill R-10 race is an in and out race from Torrance Beach to the R-10 buoy off Rocky Point. 8 a.m. Registration is $45 and begins at 6:30 a.m. The event is open to paddleboards, SUPs, and surfboards (boards under 10-foot-6). There are shorter races for kids and less serious paddlers, too.
Rock2Rock, Sunday, June 15
The annual Father’s Day Rock2Rock begins at the Catalina Isthmus and ends at Cabrillo Beach. The 22.17 mile downwinder is open to both individual competitors and relay teams. Rock2Rock is a qualifier for the Catalina Classic in August. This year’s race will include prone and stand-up paddleboards, and for the first time, a group of lifeguards on surf skis. Rock2RockRace.com
South Bay Dozen, Saturday, June 21
The South Bay Dozen is organized by Los Angeles County Lifeguards Mike and Brian Murphy and sponsored by Hennessey’s Taverns as a benefit for the Jimmy Miller Foundation. The family friendly event includes paddleboard, surf ski, outrigger, swim and running races. Points are accumulated for each event participated in, making for a full day of water sports. Races start at 8 a.m. HennesseysPaddleboarding.com.
Hennessesy Paddleboard Festival, Saturday, July 26
Avenue I, Redondo Beach
Hennessey Paddleboard Series director Tim Ritters brings paddling back to its Redondo Beach roots with a day long paddleboard festival, beginning with an eight mile race from Avenue I to the R-10 buoy and back. 8:30 a.m. Shorter novice and kids races will also be held. Festival follows at HT Grill with an outdoor barbecue and music festival. Festival open to the public. Hennesseyspaddleboarding.com.