SoCal Outrigger races hit Oceanside shores

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside nine-man outrigger races brought 20 Southern California clubs and 200 paddlers to Oceanside Harbor on Aug. 22 to compete in difficult conditions. A south wind and southwest swells created wind and ocean swells that sent outriggers “huli-ing” or flipping over.
Becki Sneller, of the Kaha Kai women’s team of Long Beach, competed in the women’s morning race when conditions were at their worst. “Eighteen of the 40 outriggers flipped over creating a very dangerous situation,” Sneller said. “It was a little gnarly out there.”
The Kaha Kai women’s team took third place. “We trusted each other and trusted the ocean,” Sneller said.
A novice run and men’s race followed. The course that was originally planned to be 24 miles was cut down to 19 miles due to water conditions John Deppe, of the Kaha Kai men’s team of Long Beach, said. Racers without much experience were discouraged from going out in the rough conditions.
Despite rough water, racers were in good spirits. “It’s all about fun,” Deppe said.
“It’s a great connection doing something as a team out on the ocean,” Sneller said. “The ocean brings a new flavor every day. You get to respect it.”
The Oceanside nine-man outrigger race is the 10th of 11 races in the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association series. Final race results can be seen at www.socaloutrigger.org.
See video from the event at www.coastnewsgroup.com.

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