Paddlers compete in the recent Catalina Crossing

277

The U.S. Championship Catalina Channel Crossing is the pinnacle race of the Southern California Outrigger Association, where paddlers from all over California to Tahiti come to race.  It has been over 15 years since Avalon has had a representative in the race.  With the backing of the City of Avalon’s Community Service Department the Catalina Island Outrigger Canoe Club was reborn.

The U.S. Championship Catalina Channel Crossing is the pinnacle race of the Southern California Outrigger Association, where paddlers from all over California to Tahiti come to race.  It has been over 15 years since Avalon has had a representative in the race.  With the backing of the City of Avalon’s Community Service Department the Catalina Island Outrigger Canoe Club was reborn.

The club has 30 Outrigger Association registered race team members and 45 total members.  The club filled a men’s and women’s nine person spec division teams for the U.S. Championships.  The women’s team paddled from Newport Harbor to Catalina.  As they finished the 26 mile journey the entered the harbor with all nine members in the boat to a roaring applause from the locals.

The men’s team got to a great start only to huli (flip a boat) twice.  It looked as though the men were out of it, but they bounced back, paddled hard, and after 30 miles from Avalon to the shores of Newport Harbor they snuck into third place. The club as a whole received the Ho’e Bill Pettit Memorial Perpetual award for the “most inspirational” team.

Overall, Avalon should be proud of the locals who decided to bring back the aloha spirit of canoeing.  The club is inviting everyone out this weekend Saturday, Sept. 16 to paddle a canoe.  The location will be middle beach and the paddle will take place from 11 a.m.-noon for 6-8th graders; 12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. for 9th-12th graders; and 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. adults. It does not matter the age, gender, or social background there is always a seat for you in a canoe.