OnIt ProPaddling Community Headline News Matt Chebatoris February 23, 2018 News Paddling headlines from the world of SUP and beyond Downwind time in Malibu! Registration opened this week for the 16th annual Malibu Downwinder. The Malibu Downwinder is hands down my favorite regional paddling race here in Southern California. The event affords you the opportunity to go paddling offshore along a spectacular stretch of coastline, it is always well-organized with a great local vibe and consistently has a fantastic BBQ and beer at the finish where everyone huddles together on a cluster of picnic tables while longtime organizer passes out handmade awards to the top finishers. Competitors are a fair 60/40, maybe 70/30 on some years, mix of prone and standup paddlers and the proceeds – just $45.00 to enter – support the Friends of Leo Carrillo Junior Lifeguards. Maybe we can get some outrigger and surfski paddlers out there this year? Pro Tip: if you are a fan of WindFinder or another mobile app used to forecast the wind, I recommend ditching the tech for this event. Wind conditions are always variable along this stretch and subject to change with little notice. Just come out and race! In 2017 the wind was blowing steadily from the southeast right up until about 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. Then, as if on queue, the wind direction shifted 180 degrees and delivered a smoking hot downwind run. Gear up! Vaikobi is set to release their new VCold Flex range in March. I’ve been using Vaikobi’s gear for several years now and would not have become as active in the Southern California outrigger scene were in not for their support. Vaikobi’s VCold range is truly the most comfortable paddling gear around, their VOcean range is the perfect complement for summertime paddling and their Ocean Racing PFD has revolutionized safety performance for all paddling disciplines. While based out of Australia, Vaikobi has a number of retail outlets around the world, many of which process online orders. Vaikobi also offers an extensive range of team gear and is able to add your logo to any item in their range. If you have not tried their products, you are missing out. Sydney Harbor Challenge The 2018 Sydney Harbor Challenge kicks off on 24 February (today, remember that whole International Dateline thing!) Started by Pacifica Canoe Club, it is currently the largest OC-6 race in the Southern Hemisphere. The paddling festival has expanded beyond its original regimen into a two-day festival encompassing a series of races through Sydney’s iconic harbor. Here’s a teaser of the action: Paddling events on the horizon 24 February – 3 March: Infinity SUP Skills Camp – Costa Rica 24 February: Lanakila Classic – Seaside Lagoon – Redondo Beach, CA 24-25 February: Sydney Harbor Challenge – Sydney, Australia 25 February: Bridge to Beach – Sydney, Australia Is your event on the SUP Examiner calendar? Listings are free and always will be. And one more cool video just to get you pumped up for the weekend! Comments Matt ChebatorisMatt is a former national security professional and lifelong adventurer. He has published material on a variety of topics in the foreign policy arena and created PaddleXaminer™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. When not on the water, Matt can be found hiking along rugged mountain trails in the California wilderness. Matt resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California.