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Ceremony Honors Catalina Classic Founder

Jan 04, 2016 07:14PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Bob Hogan, the founder of the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race, was remembered as an inspiration to paddlers, lifeguards, and ocean lovers at a paddle-out ceremony honoring his memory on Jan. 2.

Hogan passed away in November at age 83. He was known as a pioneer waterman who was a champion of paddleboarding, boating, and other ocean sports.

Family members, neighbors, and friends including longtime watermen Hap Jacobs, Jim Piper, and Roy Bream were among those gathered at the ceremony on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier. Friends recalled him as an inspiration and an idol to many young paddlers and surfers.

At the ceremony,
two Los Angeles County Lifeguard Baywatch rescue boats came in close to shore for a moment of silence and dropped a wreath into the ocean. With the chime of a bell, the boats then took off out to sea with one veering off signaling the passing of one of their own.

In 1955, Hogan founded the International Paddleboard Competition from Catalina to the Manhattan Beach Pier. It ran until 1961, when it was canceled due to bad weather and it "went into hibernation" for almost two decades. The race was revived in 1982 by Gibby Gibson and Buddy Bohn, according to race historians.

Now known as the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race, it is the oldest and most celebrated endurance paddleboard race in the world. The 32-mile marathon, which begins at Catalina Island's Isthmus and ends at the Manhattan Beach Pier, attracts paddlers from all over the world and is known as the "Grand-Daddy of all Paddleboard Races." Many elite paddlers use the event, which draws hundreds of spectators, to raise money for their favorite charities.

The race is held each year at the end of August. The August 2015 race marked the 33rd consecutive running of the Catalina Classic.

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