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ORANGE COUNTY ON THE GO

Outrigger Teams Preparing for Catalina Channel Races

September 07, 2000

The 36th annual Catalina Outrigger Canoe race is expected to have more than 100 boats and 1,500 paddlers this weekend for the tough trip across the Catalina Channel.

There are nine paddlers to a team and six in each boat at one time, above, meaning exchanges are crucial in a race in which the winning time is about four hours. At right, Stephanie Kozowyk of the Newport Aquatic Center practices jumping into the water for such an exchange. Below, the center's women's team practices for the race.

"There's just a ton of energy out there that you feed off of and about halfway through the race, half the energy is gone," said Billy Whitford, the center's executive director. "When you go by in the support boat out there and say, 'Looking good, you're looking good,' they say, 'Oh God, how much longer.' "

The women's and coed races start at 8 a.m. Saturday from Newport Beach. The men's race starts at 9:30 a.m. Sunday from Avalon Bay on Catalina and finishes in Newport Dunes.

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