Hennessey’s US Paddling Championships, Event No. 7 of the World Paddle Association Cup Series, took place on Saturday in Redondo Beach, California, as part of Hennessey's Paddleboard Festival. Gray, overcast skies, cool conditions and an early morning start greeted a slew of standup paddling's top open-ocean racers for a near-shore, three-lap, 11.65-mile course and a shorter, two-lap, 7.5-mile course.
Byron Kurt won the men's stock class in the 7.5-mile race in 1 hour, 26 minutes, 10 seconds, followed by Dane Morrissey in second place and Wally Emory in third. Candice Appleby took top honors in the women's stock class in 1:29:20 (fifth overall), followed by Brandi Baksic and Gillian Gibree. Rob Rojas won the unlimited class of the distance race in 1:54:04 (the top overall SUP), followed by Thomas Shahinian and Eric Starnes. Finally, Slater Trout finished the 14-foot men's class in 2:01:56, followed by Chuck Patterson and Mitch Kahn.
The 15-year-old Trout has had a busy summer away from Maui lately, visiting family in Florida and helping a local team claim an Elite division win in 2010 YOLO Board Stand-Up Paddle Series race event on June 25 in Sandestin, Fla., then to California for the US Paddling Championships, and now training in California, gearing up for a couple of notable fundraising benefits: the first through the FCS Gulf Coast Rescue, a sprint race/demo August 2 at the Open Air Demo of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show in Salt Lake City, designed to raise funds for The Nature Conservancy’s wildlife relief efforts along the Gulf Coast; the second at the 2010 Sea Paddle NYC, a 28-mile charity paddle event on August 13, where participants like Trout seek pledge support to round Manhattan Island and raise funds for Surfer's Environmental Alliance (SEA) and a variety of autism awareness foundations.