Race Recap - Jay Race Santa Cruz

Cali Paddler is stoked to have had a chance to hear from our friend Marie who recently went to Santa Cruz and did the Jay Race. Read our interview below about how this race is unlike most other races out there and what the scene was like.

2016 Jay Race Recap

CP: Hi Marie! We are stoked to hear about your recent trip to the Jay Race in Santa Cruz for a first time! What made you decide to go to this race?

I am fairly new to the OC1 racing scene so most local/mainland races i hear about through friends or good old Facebook. I had never heard of the Jay race till Charlie Banfield posted a link to the event page highlighting OC1’s and Surf skis were being included for the first time in the history of the event. I had been concentrating on the Liberty Challenge and told myself id think about doing the Jay race when i got back from New York. A couple of days before the race a great man I have been privileged to be coached by shared with us that he was going to be battling some significant health issues.

I signed up for the race shortly after hearing the news and dedicated my race to him. Charlie was always encouraging us to race, and Im glad i did, for Him, for myself and always for my daughter to show her that with hard work and a great attitude girls CAN do anything!

CP: Describe the scene if you could?

I arrived to a sunny Capitola beach with a hundred or so paddlers ready to go, and others offloading their trucks with children/pets or both in tow:) The beach is already swamped with competitors and support crew claiming their spots on the beach, vendors are all set up, music playing over the loud speakers announcements being made in between. As you do more races you start to recognize a few faces, say hi to old friends, make new friends, give hugs. This one guy with a surf ski, i think his name was Mark comes over excited that there are more OC 1’s then he had thought and after talking story he realizes this is my first time doing the race he gives me a run down of the course and tells me that i shouldn’t worry and just have fun! Thanks Mark you were right!

CP: What were the conditions like?

After you’ve made it past the shore breaks- Yes yes its a beach start and beach finish which can be a little tricky for OC’s and skis… The conditions to the Santa Cruz beach board walk and Santa Cruz wharf  before heading out to the “mile Buoy” were fairly calm, after making the left at the mile buoy to head back to capitola beach it was all fun with a down wind all the way back.

CP: We heard it was the first year of more than just Paddleboards. We love multi craft, how was that aspect?

This is my 3rd time doing a race involving multi craft, and i must say i really like it, the starts were staggered 10 minutes apart with prone paddlers going first, followed by the stand ups and then OC1’s and skis. Having that many paddlers out there on the same course is a great feeling especially when you have all that ocean to share… everyone was pretty courteous and friendly on and off the water- just how it should be:)

CP: We have been told this race has some special history and a special vibe. Please share with us your thoughts on how it was different?

So I had to do a little research on the race, like for starters who was this “Jay” guy?!… ahhh The Mavericks guy! The movie Chasing Mavericks immortalizes Jay, but there are real life testimonies, articles and video footage confirming not only what an iconic surfer he was but also what a great guy he was as well!!

The event embodies what it means to “Live Like Jay”. From my understanding is no matter how successful you are, staying humble and true, always smiling as he was and treating others the way you’d want to be treated.

They asked us to acknowledge our kids who were out there with us by giving high 5’s and to hug a total stranger as part of the opening ceremony- LOVED THE VIBE OF THIS EVENT!! :)

Aimee Specter and Marie Low Jay Race Awards

CP: Any special shoutouts for paddlers, race organizers, or companies that made it a fun time?

Huge Mahalo to the race organizers and the sponsors of this years event. Big shout out to Aimee Spector and Ocean of Hope, Jacob's Heart and other organizations that benefited from this years race

Congratulations to all the paddlers especially the OC1 and Surf Ski paddlers for coming out to race our crafts for the fist time at the Jay race- special mention to the other 3 women: Robin, Aimee and Marlaynna.

This years Jay race saw 15 OC1 entrants and one Surf Ski! Lets get a bigger group to go next year!

“Live like Jay”!

Thanks so much. Hopefully next year even more folks can enjoy this race!


Cali Paddler Team Writer Marie Low

Team Writer Marie Low - Marie is a Cali Paddler friend who travels our awesome state to paddle as many of our waters as she can. Whether racing outrigger with NCOCA, OC1 at Lake Tahoe, or coming down to San Diego at the Olympic Training Venue for Paddle Fest with all sorts of crafts to paddle, she is a great example of someone who loves to paddle and meet new folks where ever she goes. We at Cali Paddler are grateful for her paddle adventures that she shares with all of us, and are stoked to hear about future paddling trips in our state.

Share this post...
Previous post Next post


Leave a comment

Paddle Pledge Non-Profits