Paddling Community News

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Headlines from around the paddling community


Shark attacks OC-1 paddler off Oceanside, California

It’s a bit sharky in SoCal these days. Locals have long been aware there is a regular presence of great white sharks looming offshore beneath the waves. Even so, shark attacks involving paddlers are rare. They are typically limited to swimmers and traditional surfers who are widely believed to resemble seals basking on the ocean’s surface from a shark’s perspective. This makes the attack this past week on an OC-1 paddled by an experienced paddler all the more newsworthy.

According to local news reports, Julie Wolfe was paddling her OC-1 approximately two miles off Oceanside Harbor on Monday, June 25th when she felt something hit the bottom of her canoe with the force of a car. “I knew right away what it was,” said Wolfe. ““I wasn’t sure if it was chasing me, so I was paddling real fast. And then about a minute into my paddle, I felt a tug … I felt it tug on my paddle, and that’s when I screamed like a little girl, aaaahhh!!”

Despite her canoe taking on water, Wolfe was able to safely paddle back to Oceanside Harbor where she promptly notified the Harbor Patrol of the encounter. Although Wolfe never saw the shark, an inspection of her canoe revealed extensive bite marks and damage. According to the Shark Research Committee’s report, the size of the tooth impressions indicate it was a great white shark approximately 12 feet in length.

While shocking, this is not the first time a shark has attacked an OC-1 off the California coast. A previous attack was reported in October 2014 by a paddler approximately three miles off Santa Barbara. As in the recent attack, the OC-1 paddler was able to safely return to shore.

The shark attack off Oceanside comes just over a month before the first 9-man outrigger canoe race hosted by the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (SCORA). For the uninitiated, 9-man outrigger canoe racing involved a traditional six person outrigger canoe accompanied by an escort boat with three additional paddlers. At various intervals throughout the race, the escort boat will drop off paddlers in the ocean ahead of the canoe. As the canoe approaches the paddlers in the water, designated paddlers will jump out of the canoe to the right as the paddlers in the water simultaneously climb into the passing canoe.

Of note, Oceanside is scheduled to host the second 9-man race of the SCORA season on August 25th. I think it suffices to say, those paddlers in the water will have a little something extra on their minds this season.

River surfing taking off in Colorado

River surfing is exploding in Denver and throughout Colorado, according to a story this past week in the Los Angeles Times. The South Platte River runs through the middle of Denver and a not so secret spot known as Beaver Wave has become the place to be for river surfers and crowds of spectators.

“In Colorado, surfers have long searched the state for continuous or at least seasonal waves. Now, thanks to submerged, adjustable platforms that shape a river’s flowing water into waves, they can surf in Pueblo, Florence and Salida and take on occasional 10-footers on the Colorado River. In 2016, River Run Park opened outside Denver on the South Platte. Veterans and novices alike flocked to it, stoked by the prospect and weirdness of surfing in the city. The park’s largest wave is considered by many to be the highest-performing in Colorado,” according to the feature story in the Los Angeles Times.

River surfing is believed to have begun in Munich, Germany where surfers began jumping in the Eisbach river at a section near a bridge in the city’s expansive Englisher Garten as early as the 1970s.

Articles you may have missed

H2O Audio: Waterproof Audio Solutions for Paddling – As paddlers flock to the water to take advantage of summer, waterproof electronic gadgets are increasingly becoming a part of everyone’s gear bag. H2O Audio was founded in 2003 in San Diego, California with the mission of providing water sports athletes with a range of products designed to deliver an “exceptional audio experience”. This philosophy is embodied in their slogan, “Your Sport – Your Music” and resonates throughout their range. Ergonomically designed to be used specifically in the water, H2O Audio’s technology allows their headphones to withstand heavy perspiration, rinsing, and even complete submersion to 12’/3.6m underwater for an unlimited amount of time. Read!

Review of NSP’s Sustainable Cocomat Boards – In 2010, NSP launched some of the most environmentally friendly boards on the market: their Cocomat line. The Cocomat technology allows the boards to be light for carrying and paddling yet remain strong and flexible for optimal performance. A lot of us prefer to make eco-conscious choices but we don’t want to sacrifice money or performance in the process. NSP’s Cocomat boards are available at a similar price point to other boards on the market and perform equally as well as their not so environmentally friendly counterparts. Read!

Paddling events on the horizon

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