photos courtesy of Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica: Mo Freitas and Shea Foudy Sweep Overall Honors at the Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Races & Ocean Festival at the Santa Monica Pier
One of paddle racing’s largest cash purses drew top racers from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand to compete in the 6th annual Tommy Bahama Paddleboard Race & Ocean Festival at the Santa Monica Pier. Event organizers reported that more than four hundred people of all ages competed in more than a dozen different events.
For the elites, though, the focus came down to the combined results of 5.5 mile-distance paddle and the sprint-course Tommy Bahama Paddlecross. To incentivize top competitors to participate in both the long and short courses event organizers had structured the cash prizes to reward the overall event winner based on points awarded in both races. And boy did it work. The paddlecross races rewarded a large crowd with thrills and spills as the best in the world jockeyed their way around a tight course.
It turned out to be a great day for the younger pros. Seventeen-year-old Mo Freitas from Oahu beat Ryan Helm by a mere 2-seconds to win the 5.5 Mile long-course with a time of 57:58. Later in the afternoon Freitas took a commanding lead in the Men’s Tommy Bahama Paddlecross, beating 2nd place finisher Vinni Martins of Brazil by 14 seconds. Freitas took home a total of $2,800 in prizes from his overall victory.
The women’s division was equally exciting. Leading into the event there had been a lot of talk about the healthy rivalry between Candice Appleby of San Clemente and Kiwi Annabel Anderson, and which one of them was likely to win the women’s events. Anderson took 1st in the women’s 5.5 mile SUP with a time of 1:03:06. Appleby rode in on the next wave to a time of 1:03:28.
Going into the Paddlecross, everyone was wondering if Appleby could overtake Anderson and gain the overall championship. But in a come-from-behind surprise finis, 16-year-old Shea Foudy of San Juan Capistrano beat both Appleby and Anderson to take the overall championship.
As the women were sprinting to the first buoy in the Paddlecross final Foudy was close behind Anderson and Appleby in 3rd place. The announcer mentioned Foudy as a strong, young contender and said that all she really needed to become a champion was more racing experience. That experience came quickly. While Anderson and Appleby battled each other for position at a buoy turn Foudy just slipped by and held the lead all the way to the finish. Appleby came in 2nd and Anderson 3rd. This caused a moment of confusion in the crowd since by points this left the women in the three-way tie. But the race regulations were clear that in any tie the final overall results are decided by finishing position in the Paddlecross. And with that Foudy took home a cash price of $2,400. Not a bad day. Appleby took 2nd overall and Anderson 3rd.
Prone paddler Jack Bark did a great job upholding his family legacy and took the Men’s Elite Prone 5.5 mile race at 1:02:24. Allison Riddle won the women’s prone division with a time of 1:09:05. Candice Appleby took first in the women’s prone paddlecross, her third event of the day. Nick Malcolm won men’s prone paddlecross.
“Tommy Bahama is so proud to be a part of an event that invites the entire community down to the pier to enjoy a day of fun in the ocean,” said Rob Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Tommy Bahama. “Our job is to help people make life one long weekend, and this event is the best day at the beach of all.”
The Pier Paddle event is a benefit for Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay and its public marine education facility, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium that is housed underneath the historic Pier Carousel. Heal the Bay will receive a portion of net proceeds from the event.
For immediate access to media use images from the event, email [email protected]