SAN DIEGO, California – Hanohano, a paddle club in San Diego, California, has held its event for more than sixteen years as a charitable fundraiser. Club members take on the responsibility of helping to organize the event and also work as the hosts of the day, welcoming paddlers from all over the place who race on a plethora of watercrafts, including outrigger canoes, stand up paddle boards, surf skis, kayaks, and traditional paddleboards. (Find a Sup Race on Events page of Supconnect.)
Dan Van Dyck, the man behind the helm who took over the responsibilities of organizing the event sixteen years ago, witnessed the largest turnout to date. “There were over 600 paddlers, with about 270 stand up paddlers, 100 traditional paddleboarders, 140 outrigger canoe paddlers, and more,” said Van Dyck. With the explosion of stand up paddling around the world, there has been an enormous infusion of enthusiasm and participation at the Hanohano, starting with Chris Koerner back in 2006, who paddled the race standing up on a windsurf blank. Since then, participation of stand up paddle boarders has increased rapidly, up (approximately) from 100 in 2010 to 170 in 2011 and now 270 in 2012, marking a 70% growth last year followed by a 63% growth this year. The Battle of the Paddle, Dana Point, known as the world's largest stand up paddle board race, had over 900 stand up paddle (sup) racers in 2011, still remaining as the world's largest sup event.
When asked, people offer countless reasons why they love to attend the Hanohano. “With a $20 entry fee, free lunch, t-shirt, raffle prizes, and a great venue like Mission Bay, it’s tough to beat,” said elite paddler and paddle event expert Thomas Shahinian, also known as T-max. And when assessing the caliber of the participants, one can find talents of all stripes, from elite paddlers like Danny Ching, Candice Appleby, and Brandi Baksic, to intermediate and also beginner paddlers from everywhere. Kristin Thomas, whose first ever stand up paddle board race was the Hanohano back in 2010, had quite a story to tell. In her first year, the Laguna Beach local finished 19th in her division. Forward two years, Thomas now finished in 4th place, behind world class paddlers like Brandi Baksic, Magie Hogan, and Allison Riddle. With such an easy entry level for beginners and a host of attractions for paddlers of every caliber, the Hanohano is without a doubt one of the most important events of the paddle calendar. (Follow Supconnect on Facebook for lastest updates.)
CORRECTION: It was previously reported that the Hanohano had overtaken the Battle of the Paddle California in participation. But that was incorrect. While the Hanohano registered a record turnout for its race with over 400 paddlers, the Battle of the Paddle California saw over 900 stand up paddlers enter the water for its event in 2011.