PPG 2017 Dispatches #1: The Sands of Time Shape Doheny Beach

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Join Standup Journal photographer Glenn Dubock on a journey into the heart of the Pacific Paddle Games 2017 on Doheny Beach as Glenn highlights and celebrates the athletes and individuals that make this sport GREAT.

Glenn and his brother, John, are on the ground from sun up (or should we say ‘sup up’?) at Doheny State Park taking the course day’s temperature, snapping iconic photos and reporting  the day’s news.

Welcome to PPG 2017 Doheny Dispatches #1:  The Sands of Time Shape Doheny Beach, written and photographed by Glenn Dubock.

Fiona Wylde Starboard Pacific Coast Games 2017
Fiona Wylde Doheny 2017 : Fiona Wylde puts in some extra hours tuning up her shore break approaches. Photo by: Glenn Dubock

Pacific Paddle Games 2017:  The Sands of Time at Doheny Beach

I remember well the winter of 1969.  Long before the term El Nino was coined, a horrendous string of storms raked the Southern California Coast.  The torrential rains that battered the inland mountains found their way down the rivers and streams to the outlet by the sea at Doheny State Beach.  Orange County still had orange fruit groves back then and I recall the beach being littered with thousands of them as whole orchards were swallowed up by the raging floodwaters on the way to the ocean.

PPG 2017 Doheny State Beach shore break
Brake Check Doheny 2017 : It’s so important to go fast on the race course but it is equally important to know how and when to apply the brakes. Photo by: Glenn Dubock

Today’s Doheny State Beach and the Games therein

Today I see the fruits of the sup industries’ research and development scattered before me, ready to be tuned up. The equipment used by the most casual amateur racer here for the Pacific Paddle Games this coming weekend is light years ahead of what I saw here just a few years ago.

The perfection of technique has grown exponentially too. It’s just not enough to be fast on the water – you have to be fast on the sand here because that is where this race starts and ends.
There are no giant swells predicted for this weekend but everyone knows it just takes one tiny gift from the surf gods, one little salt water bump to take advantage of to nudge you ahead of the racer churning just inches away.

Glenn Dubock PPG 2017 Doheny Beach race start
Doheny 2017 : Like lemmings to the sea, herds of young hopefuls will practice their starts long into the evening. Races at Doheny are won on the sand as well as on the water. Photo by: Glenn Dubock

Doheny Dreams:  Game ON at the Pacific Paddle Games 2017

So the sands of Doheny will sound their familiar squeak under the feet of the best standup paddlers on the planet in the next few days. Awards and trophies will be given out, hard-fought buoy battles recounted and the roar of the crowd shall be heard.

The perpetual trophy should go to Doheny Beach – for this place has remained as a gathering place through all the storms and has stood as witness to all our progress.

Let the Games begin!!

About the author

Evelyn O'Doherty is a standup paddle racer, surfer and yoga teacher from the East End of Long Island in New York. Her passion for watersports drew her to leave a teaching career to pursue her athletic endeavors as a sup instructor, racing coach, sup racer, and now, as online editor for Standup Journal. Evelyn lives in East Hampton NY in the Springs area where she has daily access to the water to train and teach. When the swell is working, you can find her in Montauk rattling around in her Ford Ranger surfboards hanging out the back headed for points East.

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