Candice Appleby, Danny Ching win Battle of the Paddle

There is no time like the present. And Candice Appleby and Danny Ching reveled in it on Saturday as both won the Elite race in the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez 2010 Battle of the Paddle California, capping a year in which they each swept the two-part Battle of the Paddle series (the first half is in Hawaii in June). “It’s an awesome feeling,” said the elated Ching at the finish line after grabbing the $5,000 winner’s check.

Appleby, a San Clemente, Calif., native who won $2,500, was at home in the bigger-than-expected swell as competitors raced a W-shaped course in and out of the surf zone during an exciting competition that saw hundreds of spectators line Doheny State Beach like a stadium. “These are the type of conditions I’m most comfortable in,” she said. “I love it when a race tests all of your skills.”

In the men’s division, Jamie Mitchell and Slater Trout finished second and third, respectively, while Brandi Baksic and Jenny Kalmbach finished in the two and three spot on the women’s side.

Last year, the surf was a bit more dumpy while 2010 saw more mush on the inside. Still, the bottlenecks and ensuing carnage at the sharp buoy turns were again crowd favorites and there were enough cracked boards to keep sponsors busy patching for months. “Luckily, the tide was a little higher this year so it wasn’t as punchy,” said Ching. The Redondo Beach, Calif., resident has now won both 2010 Battles as well as the Aug. 21 Ta-hoe Nalu.

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