Battle of the Paddle
Photo: Slater Trout and Brandi Baksic at Battle of the Paddle in 2010

What are in the letters B-O-P?

I would have said a lot. The Battle of the Paddle created an industry and defined the way we race.

It gave us our first heroes. The tents gave fledgling SUP entrepreneurs and inventors a venue to show what’s possible. It launched board and paddle brands, apparel and certification programs. It was and is so much more than a race.
In the beginning, Sparky Longley and Gerry Lopez undoubtedly built the sport, pulling in people through their relationships, reputation and stoke. They gathered and fostered this new tribe of ours at this location.
Slowly, as the BOP grew, it took on a life of its own. And as Sparky and Gerry step back, you have to wonder what is the BOP brand? Is it tied to Doheny? It seems as though it may. BOP Brazil has done well. But as a global brand, how do you replicate the location? The vibe? The inclusiveness, meeting of the tribes that is Doheney.
Doheney allowed their dream to come to fruition. Shared experience from novice through professional athlete, where Joe Paddler can lace up next to SUP’s LeBron James. A huge venue that can accommodate a tent demo and SUP product farm as far as you can see.
But now that the Pacific Paddle Challenge takes over the Doheny Beach location and date this October, I’m left wondering how important it is to have the BOP name attached.
According to the press release, “The Pacific Paddle Games will pick up where the iconic Battle of the Paddle left off, offering elite racers an exciting and innovative surf race format with heats on Saturday and Sunday, with the option of participation in a distance race on Sunday as well. Less experienced racers will get their chance to compete on a similar course, in the open race, as well as junior divisions for both advanced and beginning paddlers.”
It looks to be the same thing, different name. I’m not sure how that works. And I’m rooting for the Pacific Paddle Challenge just as I am rooting for BOP to come back. If they’ve replicated the event under a different name and everyone’s cool with it, I’ll good because I miss Doheny and Dana Point, SanO and the West Coast. I’m kind of excited.

Paddle on,

John Beausang
The Distressed Mullet


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