Catalina Island News

Catalina Ski Race

Catalina Ski Race

Twenty-one years before the Santa Catalina Ski Race, George Young of Toronto, Canada won the first Wrigley Ocean Marathon Swim, sponsored by William Wrigley Jr. His swim was one of the first water sporting attractions to the island, something that assuredly inspired the onset of the Catalina Ski Race, a marathon for skiers in its own right - the distance, an unyielding 62-miles.

While his unbelievable swim took him from Catalina Island's Isthmus to Point Vincentes, the Ski Race, where racers once started from Redondo Beach Pier, will now take competitors from Long Beach to Avalon and back around. The grueling event, sponsored each year by the Long Beach Boat and Ski Club, includes approximately 90 boats ranging in size from 18- to 43-feet. The race starts at Long Beach at approximately 9 o'clock in the morning, so be sure to bring a café or espresso for this early-riser venture.

For most of the race's history, the clear summer skies amplify the elegant blue hue of the surrounding water and make for a memorable event. And, as diverse as the island's history and scenery, so continues the diverse group of racers . Cal Mison has been in the competition for 25 years and has not only used the same boat, but the same driver, observer and skier each race. And, if you thought age was the essence of experience, participants have ranges from ages 12 to 77.

After viewing the islands scenic backdrop on the surrounding gray-blue hills, islanders, first-time visitors and returning fans can all view the racing events best from one of several places: Descanso Beach (the turning point), from Casino Dive Park or even from Hamilton Cove. And, if you've got a private boat or dinghy, you'll probably have the best seats in the house, aside from the news helicopters swooshing around the sky. After the Ski race, you'll have plenty of time to experience Avalon, as the last boat will predictably round the final buoy by 10 o'clock in the morning.

Check's Calendar of Events for the race's exact date.