Since I have been paddling a bunch lately on the stand up I figured I would give what they call prone paddling a try. Prone paddling is when you paddle with your arms only in a lay down position or on your knees. So all the sweepers have to put down the broomstick and use those arms old fashioned style, ha-ha. “The Loop” is put on annually by Coronado native surfer, paddler and shaper extraordinaire Dan Mann. Dan has been shaping for 14 years and is the developer of the Incide Surfboard blank technology.
The race circles around the entire island of Coronado leaving from the beach side into the surf , around the jetty into the mouth of the San Diego bay and all the way back under the Coronado bridge landing on a small bay beach just a few hundred yards from where you initially started. The total distance is around 12 miles. Fortunately they time the race with the tides and once you round the jetty at the harbor entrance you get a strong current pulling you along. People were clocking speeds in excess of 7mph as the tide drained in! The race is typically finished in about two hours and change by most paddlers and the fastest time ever was clocked in at around 1:47 minutes which is booking!
I borrowed what they call a stock class 12ft board from a buddy and gave it a go. The race had other classes like 14ft and Unlimited and the guys on those boards just fly. The race had quite a big turnout with all kinds of cool boards scattered all over the beach to check out. After a quick rundown by Dan, who also paddles the race every year and is an amazing paddler we were off under cloudy skies and light wind. The first 5 miles were ok but after that it really started to burn!!! Only thing to do is to focus on whoever is paddling on front of you and chase their tail or maybe even trying to catch them. The last few miles under the Coronado Bridge really started to ache and no better felling than seeing that finish line. The clouds lifted and the sun was shining for the finish and it turned out to be a classic sunny San Diego day.
Dan and the crew organized some coffee and bagels for the finishing racers and the awards ceremony commenced when the last racer paddled in. The last person to finish also gets a full refund, classic! The top finishers were presented with some cool custom lei’s and then it was onto the raffle. Anyone in the race automatically is entered into the raffle and has the chance to win. The raffle had tons of cool prizes like surfboards, skates, bikes, and lots of sick gear from URT Clothing Company. And luck would have it yours trulys number was picked from the plastic pumpkin and I won a Sector Nine Skate!
Everyone walked away feeling good and all smiles especially me with my new skate. Thanks for the great event and race Dan and Company and hope to see you again next year.
About the Author - Marc Miller is the founding partner of Isle Surf & SUP an online retailer of paddle boards & surfboards. He has been involved in board manufacturing, product development and website management for Isle since its inception in 2004. He also writes the Isle Surf & SUP Blog. An avid surfer and paddler for the past 2 decades when hes not in the office he can be found on foreign shores searching for waves and fun.