Posted: August 28, 2014
On Sunday morning before daybreak, 94 men and women stood on the sand at the isthmus on Catalina, warming themselves by a firepit. They woke up at 4:30 a.m. to start stretching, whitening their faces with titanium dioxide sunscreen and mentally preparing themselves for the day ahead.
Now they stood together, psyching each other up with nervous laughter and lighthearted jabs. Just before 6 o’clock, the sun barely visible on the horizon, the paddlers took to the water, knowing they wouldn’t touch anything but the ocean and their boards until they reached Manhattan Beach, 32 miles and at least five hours away.
And so the 2014 Catalina Classic paddleboard race began, as it has for 38 previous editions. The blast of the starting horn, the splashes of bodies and the roar of escort boat motors echoed back onto the sleepy shores of Two Harbors.
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