Aquaplane History

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The sport of Aquaplaning became popular on the West Coast in the 1920s as a precursor to water skiing and knee boarding. The hardwood aquaplane, similar to that of a toboggin sled was pulled by a boat allowing the rider who held onto a rope to "aquaplane" across the surface of the water.

Starting in 1935 the Aquaplane Race Association held an annual aquaplane race of 44 miles from Catalina Island to Hermosa Beach. The race was endorsed by the American Powerboat Association. According to the 1947 Race Rules, the course ran between Abalone Point, Santa Catalina Island and Hermosa Beach. The entry fee was $1 for each driver, rider and crew member.

 

This aquaplane on display at the Hermosa Beach Museum belonged to the well known local athlete Bunny Seawright. The accompanying picture shows her win of the women's division at the 1939 race. She is shaking hands with the winner of the men's division, Bob Duntley. Bob's time from Catalina to Hermosa Beach was 1 hour, 23 minutes and 23 seconds. Bunny's time was 1 hour, 50 minutes and 52 seconds. Seawright went on to win many more races, in addition to being a track runner.

 

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