On Sunday, Oct. 12, Redondo Beach welcomed the vibrant Southern California Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) community to the Seaside Lagoon for the second annual Beyond the Shore Paddlefest. An extensive array of vendors from local and regional businesses lined the lagoon against the backdrop of continuous live music and on the water excitement as paddlers participated in a Guinness World Records attempt for the largest SUP yoga class and a 4.5 mile SUP race. “Jeremy and I run Beyond the Shore as a nonprofit partnership 501c3 public charity. We’ve been official for over two years. The movie “The Cove” is what really set us in motion to take action and try and do something. We are trying to help teach the local community about ocean awareness, education and how our local community can make a difference,” said Michelle Gierst, one of Beyond the Shore’s founders.
SUP yogis off all ages formed a large flotilla inside Redondo Beach’s King Harbor prior to the commencement of the race. Several race competitors took part before paddling over to the start line. Those who remained gathered in an on the water viewing section and cheered loudly as they bobbed in the water stirred up by the group of racers passing by. “Being on the water is a very freeing experience. Practicing yoga while floating on the water is such a unique experience when compared to inside the studio,” said Gierst. “Teaching others this beautiful experience is really breathtaking. Seeing 100 plus people together for this is super brilliant.”
As racers rounded the King Harbor break wall they were thrust into a moderate ocean swell and breezy side chop that reverberated off the break wall creating a patch of confused water. Some lost their balance before charging onwards at a 45 degree angle to a yellow buoy marking the next turn.
The men’s race was dominated by Mark Miyamoto and Ryland Hart, two local paddlers from Team 404, who won the 12’6” and 14’ class, respectively. Miyamoto also claimed line honors as the first paddler to cross the finish line after pulling away from the pack during the upwind leg of the race.
The women’s contest was all Kristin Thomas as the seasoned Southern California paddler once again demonstrated her skill at navigating through all manner of paddling conditions.
I have been to a countless number of paddling events across the region from SUP to outrigger and the Beyond the Shore Paddlefest stood out as one of the most well organized and colorfully engaging events around. Post race festivities carried on into the afternoon as participants tested new equipment in the lagoon, tried their hand at slack line walking and aerial yoga, or simply relaxed to the music of the bands playing on stage while enjoying a cold beer, compliments of Mission Brewery.