I pulled into the big parking lot at Doheny State Beach only to find Kai Lenny standing dripping wet with a huge smile on his face. He had just gotten off the water after using his new GoPro for the very first time and was pretty stoked about it. We chatted for awhile, I wished him good luck for the weekend ahead and he zoomed off with that ever-present grin still in place.
One gets the feeling that every person that comes to compete at the PPG 2016 is going to walk away with a least a smile. What have you got to lose? It’s Southern California at it’s very best – good weather, good swell and lots of good friends that you just haven’t met yet.
Out on the water, Annabel Anderson, multiple winner and Jenny Kalmbach, original winner, are sharing a wave with some kid that hasn’t quite mastered the stand up part of stand up paddling. Such is the scene at Doheny on the night before the Pacific Paddle Games. The mix of mortals and superstars is such curious sight – like showing up at a pickup basketball game at your local park but Lebron and Kobe are asking you to play center.
As the light begins to fade the crowd thins out. First the name brand pros need their proper rest for the 3 day test that lay ahead, so they exit the water. Next are the team managers that have been schlepping gear for the last 3 days so that the pros with have nothing but the best to race with. The managers’ moment of glory whisks by all too fast before they have to put it all away for the night.
Then it’s time for the Open Class to dominate the salty landscape until the final dark curtain of the night makes it impossible to see beyond the nose of a 12’6″ race board.
I can hear their laughter, even if I can’t see their smiles, as they leave the water.Tomorrow morning the races will commence but for this evening they are all winners because they stayed out the longest and for all the right reasons. – Glenn Dubock // Associate Publisher, Photo Editor