Kayakers bring the love for Steve Green tourney

Paul presents Steven Green with a custom trophy plaque courtesy of Ric Hawthorne and

Paul presents Steven Green with a custom trophy plaque courtesy of Ric Hawthorne and Ten Crows Forge.

A chilly morning at Dana Harbor’s Baby Beach could not keep kayakers from showing up to support one of the family Saturday, Dec. 5.

“The fact that 93 people registered for the Shootout for Steven Green Kayak Fishing Friendly tournament on just a few weeks notice is testament to the community and a loving tribute to our friend Steven Green,” said tournament organizer Paul Lebowitz, who now works with Hobie.

Green was recently diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer and is facing an aggressive treatment schedule with determination.

“Steve started kayak fishing 16 years back,” Lebowitz noted. “Ever since, he’s always been around whenever the community needed a hand. He’s pitched in at countless tournaments, volunteered with Heroes on the Water–SoCal Chapter, and worked tirelessly in the background to keep our kayak fishing access during the Marine Life Protection Act. It was great to see the community return the love.”

Sand bass (pictured) and barracuda made up most of the catch for the 45 kayak anglers.

Sand bass (pictured) and barracuda made up most of the catch for the 45 kayak anglers.

Some of the saltiest of the kayak crew, including the original Hook1, Mark Ezell, showed up.

“Thank you for from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of love and support,” Green said. “We're right about there. The tournament raised quite a bit of money,” he added.

About 45 kayakers fished through a day that dawned cold and quite a bit windier than hoped. Kayak fishing stalwart Dave Easton won the Catch Photo Release bass category with a 21.5-inch calico. The waters off Dana Point usually are good to kayakers targeting halibut, but didn’t cooperate this day, possibly due to the heavy swell that rolled in overnight before settling down for tournament day.

Several anglers who released rockfish and legal barracuda slapped their foreheads in frustration when they heard. No fish came to the scale, so Easton doubled up and took home Big Fish too, earning $465 in jackpot cash. Between tournament entries, an auction, the raffle and direct donations, an estimated $5,000 was raise for Steven Green’s cancer treatments.

Lebowitz said special thanks go to cancer survivor and long-time restauranteur Yanni Hassircoglu of Fisherman’s Belly who served fish tacos and fresh guacamole and salsa to the crowd, with props as well to his volunteer prep crew.

“The food prep and presentation was just amazing. One of the highlights of the day. He really worked hard on it and it showed,” Green said.

Several companies and individuals volunteered prizes for auction and a raffle (Lebowitz said they weren’t asked, they offered), and the community spent generously to help Steve.

“Thanks go out to all,” said Lebowitz. “In particular, appreciation to Ric Hawthorne of Ten Crows Forge for the most impressive trophy plaques I’ve ever seen. They wowed the crowd. We presented a specially customized version to Steve. Also to Davey of Okuma Fishing USA for the Savage Gear baits, Water Wolf underwater camera and Komodo baitcaster. OEX Sunset Beach and Andrew Allen; The Kayak Fishing Show with Jim Sammons and Raymarine; Morgan and Kevin from Hobie Fishing; Charles Belñavis, epic fish artist and tattooist; Mark Olson of Ocean Kayak; Tim of Dana Point Jet Ski and Kayak Center; Kayak Fish Magazine; cancer survivor John Upchurch of Mad Frog Gear and many more. All those companies are staffed with authentic kayak anglers, people who came up through the grassroots. They are family. Keep it in mind when you have money to spend.”

Assisting with the organization of the event were Ed Keil, Edward Warren Pelissier, Tony, Allene and Jim Sammons, Tman and many more of the Baby Beach tournament HQ crew who pitched in with selfless help. “Much love and respect!,” added Paul.

Baby Beach in the back of the Dana Point harbor was headquarters for the Saturday fundraising kayak fishing event.

Baby Beach in the back of the Dana Point harbor was headquarters for the Saturday fundraising kayak fishing event.

Photos courtesy of Big Waters Edge poster Bowhunter.