This past weekend I went up to Dana Point, California to the third annual Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup at Baby Beach, in Dana Point Harbor with Bill and Ryan Maloney. I met them up in North San Diego County and we all piled into Bill’s van and were on the road, looking forward to our chance to paddle with surf legend Mickey Munoz.
Bill Maloney going with the now infamous Conner Baxter stroke!
Super famous photo of Mickey - "the Quasimoto"
If you don’t know who Mickey Munoz is, take a look, the guy is amazing and a surfing legend! Who is now in his 70’s and paddles like crazy, and lends his expertise as a waterman to the SUP community. I could only dream of being as hip and awesome as he and his wonderful wife Peggy Munoz.
Mickey signing his book, "No Bad Waves: Talking Story With Mickey Munoz".
I first met Bill Maloney through Facebook, his son Ryan is 13 years old and also a type 1 diabetic. We instantly hit it off and I have since become great friends with their whole family. Ryan was interested in paddling and saw that I was a T1D just like him so we hooked up and have since gone SUP surfing and paddling together a number of times. Ryan has inspired me in so many ways and I am stoked to call him my friend.
Ryan and I at La Jolla Shores.
I have tried to show him whatever I can in regards to SUP surfing and racing, the kids a natural. We share information about managing our diabetes and about how to compete as SUP racers successfully and safely despite having diabetes.
Ryan and I talking story with Pam Strom.
We arrived at the event and Bill kind of stood back and let Ryan and I do our thing, we unloaded the boards and took off to register for the race. Then he and I began to run all over the place like two little kids in a candy store, “well one little kid and one grown up that basically acts like a little kid”.
We visited with all kinds of old friends and met all kinds of new friends. I introduced him to the Infinity SUP team and he introduced me to the VictoryKoredDry guys. We met Judie Vivian, the organizer of the “Standup for the Cure” event for Susan G Komen. I think they ought to call it, “Standup for A Cure”. Seeing as how there is more than one disease in this world that I think should be cured. But Judie was super cool and even told Ryan and I that she might include a small piece about SUP with Diabetes in their April 13th newsletter! Ryan and I were super stoked to hear that.
Brian Hagg, Ryan Maloney and Paul Zacharias. Three generations of SUP racers and type 1 diabetics.
We then tested our blood sugars and took off on the fun paddle around Dana Point harbor with a couple of hundred or so other paddlers. Ryan and I were laughing and playing as we paddled the short couple of miles, and at one point we tried to switch boards and got all tangled up in Ryan leash and both fell into the water. It was cold, but with the sun shining and he and I filled with all kinds of energy, or maybe it was sugar, we got back on our boards and took off laughing.
Then it was back to the beach for some of the awesome SUP clinics being conducted by a few of the sports super stars, we first listened to Byron Kurt talk about being aware of the waters conditions prior to paddling and how to navigate certain situations caused by things like tides, waves and currents. The next one we attended was be given by Rob Rojas, he was offering his expertise on paddling technique. Ryan through him a curve ball and asked about stacking your shoulders at the top of your stroke just prior to your paddle entry, kind of caught him off guard, but Rob being the consummate professional that he is and expert paddler handled it just fine and integrated his answer perfectly with his explanation on how to get the most power from your stroke.
Ryan soaking up information during Byron Kurts SUP clinic.
Ryan and I during the SUP clinic on stroke technique from Rob Rojas
With all that was going on around us we soon lost interest and took off back out on the water to practice what we had learned and to just have some fun! We tried different boards and Ryan let me use his Boardworks M & M race board. I love this board and really think that it is one of the fastest boards on the water. Ryan was on the new C4 Travis Grant race board, equally fun and fast!
Blah, Blah, Blah....tippy...Blah, Blah, Blah!
Then more blood sugar testing, a little insulin and then lunch. It definitely was not a healthy lunch, but who cares we were starving! Then it was relay / race time!
I was super excited to see which team I was on, turned out it was team one and our teams captain was Byron Kurt! This guy is super-fast and really talented, the other team members were a guy named Dave and I brand new paddler Kelly. We got to race on Byron’s stealthy looking carbon fiber Hobie, I like these boards, especially because my first and only SUP race board was one of the custom carbon fiber Hobie race boards made for one of their team riders from a couple of years ago.
As always the relay is meant to be fun but trust me when Kelly French, the beach Marshall yell’s those famous words, “racers are you ready!”, and the horn blows, it’s on. Amateurs and pro’s hit the water, rails bashing, paddles flying and a lot of cheering from the crowds on the beach. Got to love it!
As always, the crazy SUP start!
Byron killing it along with Bruce Brunson.
Waiting for the transition.
We did pretty well, Byron took off and came back into the beach in second place, then it was Dave’s turn, he had a great paddle out and around the bouys. Kelly, bless her heart had never really paddled much but was so filled with enthusiasm and desire she took off and gave it her all. A lot of the teams caught up to her as she enthusiastically navigated around the buoys. I was jumping up and down cheering her on as she paddled back to the beach. We had a pretty good transition and away I went, I paddled as hard and as fast as I could and was able to pass a number of other paddlers. I hit the beach and ran through the chute to finish in seventh place, the last team to qualify for the finals! I was spent, got some water and ran over to check my blood sugars….trending towards a low and not wanting to crash I grabbed a juicy juice and ran back to the water’s edge for the start of the final.
Grippin' it and rippin' it!
The run up the beach!
Again we all lined up and waited for Kelly to start the race. This time though each team had to paddle the course twice! Byron got tripped up at the start and missed getting out in front of the pack, but the guy is like superman and as always he paddled super-fast and managed to keep us in the race. Again Dave and Kelly both took off and kept us in there, I was left with trying to bring it home. Well that didn’t happen, but I did manage to contribute to a very respectable 11th place finish out of like twenty-one or so teams. It was a blast and I would do it again!
Craziest thing ever was that the team that won the relay was led by Brian Hagg, team rider for 404, a good friend of Ryan and mine, and get this, a type 1 diabetic!
Awesome day !
I had lost track of Ryan and his Dad during the relay race, but we met up after and said our good bye’s to everyone and were on the road back home by late afternoon. I ended up having dinner with Ryan and his mother and father. It was awesome hanging out with a super cool family and enjoying a home cooked meal. Ryan showed me all of his stuff and we talked about SUP surfing and racing, having diabetes and living life. By the time I got home I was one tired puppy, within minutes I was sound asleep and dreaming of my next adventure, Hawaii!
Yep, I am moving back to Hawaii! I can’t wait to paddle the clear blue waters of the Islands and experience the pure stoke and Aloha of the SUP community, SUP racing and SUP surfing in Hawaii! Stay tuned......