The 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life are just a few short days away and the standup paddling community is buzzing with excitement. While it’s easy to get carried away with the hype, we recommend spending some time planning how you’ll get your board to the start line in a timely fashion. To simplify the process, here are a few tips to help make race day logistics a breeze.

Show Up Early

No brainer right? Nevertheless, every year several competitors show up with only minutes to spare and have to go through a mad dash to make it to the start line. Not only do you run the risk of missing the race entirely, but it also leaves you flustered and mentally unprepared to compete.

Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt/SUP Magazine

Save yourself the headache and make sure to show up an hour-and-a-half to two hours before your race begins. This will give you plenty of time to check-in, get your Salt Life gift bag, warm-up, stretch and get into race mode. Not to mention, it’ll also give you a chance to meet other paddlers, check out our demo and fitness zones and soak up the electric atmosphere on the beach. Please note that the Distance race has moved to Saturday morning for the first time ever!


Getting to Doheny State Beach is one thing, finding a place to put your vehicle is another. Parking is limited and fills up quickly, but with a little foresight that stress can hopefully be avoided.

Give yourself enough time to find parking (see above) or, even better, call in a favor and have someone drop you and your board off to eliminate parking stress entirely.

Another important point to remember is that parking is NOT free at Doheny State Beach. Parking at Doheny State Beach costs $2/per hour if you do not have a California State Parks pass. You can pay at the kiosks in the lot.

Know the Race Schedule

Triple-check that race schedule. The last thing you want to do is show up two hours early to your race, only to find out your race was actually the previous day.

Again, it’s important to note that we’ve switched races around for 2018 and the Distance race has moved to Saturday morning, while the Open Technical races will all be run on Sunday morning. For a more detailed breakdown, check out the full weekend race schedule.

Pack Up the Night Before

Make sure to have all your gear packed up and ready to go the day before the race. All Open division races start early, so you don’t want to be running around your house looking for a leash or PFD when you should be on your way to the beach.

Beyond the obvious essentials like your board and paddle, make sure you have your leash, PFD, hydration pack, sunscreen and helmet (for Youth competitors). We suggest having them all in your car so that you can wake up, have a light breakfast and get to the start line.

We’ll see you on the beach!


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