The Susan G Koman organization - is a breast cancer awareness non-profit organization that organizes events all over the US. This year was the 3rd annual Standup For The Cure - Standup Paddle around Newport event. This event has grown at a rapid pace over the last couple years and has helped catch, diagnose and save multiple cancer patients on site.
On a Friday afternoon the Isle crew loaded up the van with the latest board models, racers, paddles, and other event gear and hit the road for the hour and a half drive to Newport. We researched multiple options for lodging and ended up staying on the Lido peninsula in a small rental house close to the event, the beach, waterways, and Newport nightlife.
The event venue and main race
The event venue hosted multiple vendors setting up on the water at a campground in Newport called the Dunes. It started with some demos and a parade around the bay hosting what looked like thousands of paddlers from all talent levels, ages, and places around Southern California and the world. After a couple of laps around the bay the event coordinators sounded a air horn to indicate the start of the 5k race across the bay and neighboring channels.
For the finish the top three of each class, (12’6”, 14’, and unlimited) were required to run up the sand and dig up a buried Kukui Nut lei in a designated area before crossing the finish line. I was lucky to charge out front and battle my way to second place for the 12’6” class and bring home a Kukui lay to add to Isles’ collection of trophy’s won on the Isle Race Board. There was Also a kids fun race that hosted some very impressive up and coming young paddlers.
The give away and the party
After the main race the event hosted some time trials and clinics put on by some of the world top ranked pro’s. It was an eye opener to see how some of these guys could just fly across the water with ease although they appeared a bit tipsy from combining some of the free Kona brewing company beer in their pre race warm up. Isle offered up a Glider FW (Flat Water) to the silent auction and I believe it raised close to $700 dollars for the cause.
Once business was finished it was time to let loose and enjoy the party. For a post event feed they hosted multiple food vendors providing free delicious lunches ranging from vegetarian taco’s to steak and potato’s from Ruth Chris. Of course after my second place finish I felt entitled to enjoy a little bit of both to be chased down by some of the cold free beer.
Newport Night life
After the event was over the crew quickly loaded up the van and went back to the pad to ready ourselves for a night of celebrating another successful event. We took off on foot to catch a beautiful sunset on the beach just a couple blocks away. Then followed our noses to The Crab Cooker eatery which turned out to be one of the best fresh seafood meals the area had to offer. After an amazing meal we roamed the Balboa peninsula from bar to bar.
Most of the Bars are located on the water either on the bay side or oceanfront so they all have that perfect beachy water breeze and feng shui about them. We saw the night through and had a blast making new friends and sharing tales of the amazing weather that Southern California had been enjoying that week. I also of course never took off my new fancy Kukui Lei so to make sure all of our new friends knew they were in the presences of a champion! Haha.
This event comes highly recommended by the entire crew and you can bet that I will be back next year to defend my second place finish and shoot for first!
About the Author & Photographer - Jesse Wright spent the majority of his youth in the back country of Idaho and Colorado snowboarding and chasing the snowboard circuit. After the millennium he headed toward the coast and never looked back. A former pro snowboarder turned surfer hes an avid shortboarder and paddler and when he’s not running his German Shepard or working with his media company he can be found on foreign shores mixing it up with the Isle Surf & SUP Crew.