June 23, 2015
The 2015 14th Annual Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race was a booming success with terrific weather, challenging conditions and over 300 paddlers! The Jay Race definitely has a following, given that there were two competing events the same day; the Payette River Games (Cascade ID) and the South Bay Dozen in SoCal but the paddlers came out for The Jay in Capitola. Yes, its true there seems to be a paddle race or paddling event happening every weekend in the summer here in California. Yes, The Jay is an incredibly challenging 12 mile paddle race from Capitola to Cowells in Santa Cruz and back, but its the coming together of the community that celebrates spirit of Jay Moriarity that make this race one of the most special of the season.
Let’s run through the stats and numbers real quick:
Total Number of Paddlers (prone and SUP) between all races (12 mile, 2 mile, waterman and grom): 300+, 12 mile-152, 2 mile-141, Waterman-20, Grom-20?
Long Course Distance: 12 miles (10.77 gps corrected)
Weather and Temp: Sunny and let’s call it 70 degrees
Winning Long Course Time: 1:49 prone paddleboard, 1:52 sup
Winning Short Course Time: 33.28 mins prone paddleboard, 34:03 SUP
Yours truly raced in the long race, I came away with the following reflections on my race.
The Jay Race long course 12 mile race is undoubtably a hard, grinding race that requires stamina and various board handling skills. After the beach start of the race, we hammered our way up towards the Santa Cruz Wharf, conditions were sloppy at best. Seemed like a bit of left over west wind swell with some bounce off of the shore and a little morning southwest wind swell to make things interesting. What I am trying to say is that it was not calm and flat. In fact it was just downright hard to get a consistent paddle stroke rhythm. At least it was hard for me to find my rhythm! As we pushed toward the Cowell’s turn buoy the water became smoother and the strokes became more solid hence my speed was increasing. My legs were getting a bit tired from the constant balancing against the bumpy water. For some reason once we all made the turn at the Cowell’s buoy a sense of relief with a rush of energy came across my body, it was time to head out to the Mile Buoy for turn to head back to Capitola. Not so fast….that bumpy water returned with a vengeance only this time it was coming perpendicular to our boards making the bump even more challenging. I kept thinking, oh this is ride back to Capitola is going to be fun since we could catch the windless bumps back to the finish. Somewhat accurate, riding the bumps was fun and much faster than taking them head on. So the whole fleet of paddlers became bump riders, looking for any forward momentum to get them down the coast to the finish. It became a hard and hot run back to the finish. Let’s just say some were better at riding the lumpy bumps than others, not sure where I fell in the middle of that mix but I did make some progress to finish with a time of 2:09:20.
This race has great stoke which was evident at the finish line, Chris Hollingsworth kept the energy alive and kicking with every racer that came through the line. Fast time were had by many racers including Jay Wild with a course record breaking time of 1:52 on the standup paddle board. On the woman’s side, Jen Fuller took the SUP win charging the course with a time of 2:08:05.
Hard Chargers for this race include Haakon Hoyer-Nielsen the 16 year old who is kicking all of our asses these days. Brad Seyffer who doesn’t really train according him but recorded a sub 2 hour course time, John Walsh who made the comeback riding the bumps back from the Mile Buoy.
So many people to thank for putting on this race namely Kim Moriarity, Duke Brower, Chris Hollingsworth and the Capitola Junior Lifeguards and volunteers. The amazing sponsors, Surftech, Adventure Sports Journal, Jolyn Swimwear, Seven Seas Industries, New Leaf Markets, Pono Hawaiian Grill, H20Audio, Jay Moriarity Foundation, and BARK Paddleboards.