[This series of race previews is an unaffiliated* effort to share experiences from each of the races that comprise Southern California's Winter Series of Races for OC1, OC2, Surf-Ski, SUP and Prone Paddlers. We would very much like to offer this for races in NorCal and invite anyone who might wish to be a regular contributor with knowledge of the races there to contact us. * If any information is not consistent with the race day setup, they have either changed it, or I am simply wrong. So consider this a friendly free guide, and please do not run up to the race organizers if something is different and say "Cali Paddler says it is this way" as we are not the ones putting on the race. They are. And we are grateful to them for that!]
Becky Stuart Memorial hosted by Oceanside Outrigger.
Fresh off of our Turkey Stuffing and ready to get our race on again! Time to get some ocean time!
Overview: This race is hosted by Oceanside Outrigger Canoe Club and one of my favorites for one simple reason...the unpredictable fun of the Oceanside Harbor Entrance. Something about this weird angular combination of jetty rocks always seems to keep me on my toes. Not that it is super dangerous, just the kind of place that the locals have so wired, and I never do, I consider it a personal fun challenge to better know the tides, currents and rebounds each time here. Plus the races are 95% in the ocean which I also find fun.
Courses - As with many of the SoCal races, the course(s) are subject to change based on conditions for the day. Buoy drops might also be set based on how stretched out the racers are for safety. So in other words, nothing is set in stone as you will see with these. Which is actually a good thing because they will often times line us up for good wind. :) So go to the meeting beforehand for maps and markers.
- Short Course (All craft). This is usually a rectangle course. Depending on the conditions for direction. Often times it will start at harbor mouth and head south to the Oceanside Pier, right hand turn to the west for .5-1 miles then back north towards the harbor entrance and into the harbor along the rock jettys. Or they may switch it. Oceanside can pick up swell pretty well this time of year so pay attention to the breakers just south of the harbor entrance and don't get lured to far inside. Once you get into the harbor its an all out sprint east then turn and south along the boat ramps and docks. Kelp is a pretty non issue in this race course.
- Long Course (Surfski, Kayak, and Outrigger Canoe) – This course typically is very condition driven. They may send you north, west, south to the pier then back home north to the harbor, or have it go entirely south and west, then east back into the harbor to get any onshore winds that have built up. Again, they really try and look at the conditions before determining this course, so attend the meeting and then at the start line make sure they don't announce any last minute changes (always a good habit). Kelp is a pretty non issue in this race course.
- For whatever reason, the long course starts later at this race. So if you get there early bring plenty of food, drink and sunscreen while you wait.
- Not that I would suggest surfing before a race, but well, some pretty sweet waves can be had here. Just make sure you don't miss your start! Note, traditional surfboard and perhaps SUP is what I am referring to. OC1 surfing these beach breaks will get you lit up.
- Traditionally race entrants are treated to baked potatoes and chili at this race. Perdy cool!
- Careful when you are launching and returning. The boat ramp gets very congested so give yourself plenty of time. Plus it is a fully operational 'boat' ramp so expect there to be engine craft trying to get on and off trailers. Some launch off of the boat docks. Just make sure if they specify do's and don't at the mtg that you follow their requests. Don't want to jeopardize Oceanside OCC's permits for future years!
- Spectating for this race is mostly just the finish stretch where people can walk onto the rock jetty and cheer. But that is better viewing than most races so might be fun for the family to come out.
- They do a discount for entering both races (additional 5 bucks!) So consider doing a double if you are so inclined.
This race and location is capable of throwing some conditions at us. Which is a lot of fun but can also be intimidating. Since it is mostly in the ocean, always good to have some ocean experience ahead of time. Bathrooms are clean, and there is a coffee shack place within 5 minutes and more fancy places 15 minutes walk away. Parking can be tough so get there early, or expect to have to drop off your canoe/board/surfski and then park farther away. Most of the parking is paid lots so bring cash or credit card (both to be on safe side, one year credit card machine swiper was broke). The staging is in the sand on the beach side, so bring a beach chair and umbrella and enjoy a day on la playa. There is even a playground nearby if kids want to come cheer.
Race Registration and Info: https://paddleguru.com/races/BeckyStuartMemorialRace2015OfficialRegistration
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Team Writer Clarke Graves - If there is water, he will paddle it (regardless of craft). Clarke is a surfer turned paddler who grew up in San Diego but has traveled every corner of California enjoying its beauty and appeal. He has had the privilege of racing SUP, OC6, OC2, OC1, Prone and can't wait to hop into a dragon boat and surf-ski for an extended length of time.
One of Clarke's goals is to paddle as much shoreline in California as he can, with as many paddling friends who are willing to join him. If you have an idea for Clarke to write about or any questions, send it our way and we will pass it along!