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Race Results….lots of race results

Guess I overlooked the fact that February had so many paddle races. Quite a month given that the weather has just been so spectacular, so why not get on the water and race. We saw the a number of fun paddle races in February, results and some stories are right here on To get you to the results and stories quicker here the posts directly.

Cow Patty Pageant, WaveChaser Ft. Baker, 101 Surf Sports Whole Foods Race#5, River City Paddlers Valentines Day Race and the Marin Parks Presidents Day Race.

2015 Cow Patty Pageant Race Report (AKA:Tour de Manure)


Cow Patty Pageant 2015

A Rivers for Change Event

By Jen Fuller

This scenic and honestly, one of the most stunning, race courses starts in Valley Ford and weaves through an estero (Spanish for estuary) to the Pacific Ocean. The water way was once much deeper and the entrance from the ocean existed in the 1800’s, but since then the beach build up cuts the flow of water off and it is shallower in general. The water way is surrounded by high green hills dotted with cows grazing and some of the fence lines even go straight into the water and across to the other side. Mostly to make sure that when the water is low the cows stay in their home territory. The water was high after the rains so smooth paddling and no hitting barbed wire fences on this trip.

It was impossible to keep your eyes off the hillsides and sky as we paddled along because it is so beautiful. We could have been in Ireland or Scotland! The most joyful feeling in my heart and mind is to know I get to live here, and with some amazing people! We really do live in one of the most beautiful places in the world!

Historically, Coast Miwok inhabited the watershed and then from 1865 to1982 agriculture took over. Corn, oats, potatoes, beets onions and hay were produced in vast amounts. In fact large ships could navigate their way to the same spot we put our vessels in this weekend just to transport potatoes out of the area. A stretch of the imagination as the water way is now narrow, shallow and surrounded by marshland. Oh and did I mention cows? Cows are everywhere and the smell of cow manure perfumes the air, creating the true sense of Cow Patty Pageant.

The race has been going on for about 23 years. I had no idea!

The fore thought of Susan Starbird.

The race starts right on the Valley Ford Road not far from the town of Valley Ford. A little bridge and a dirt road entry and you are there. The race is relaxed and fun. Shanna Upton showed up in the best Cow costume she had made herself the night before, complete with a tail! Adrianna Baca helped run the event and had a full cow suit costume on. Cow hats, vests, you name it, are all encouraged at this event.

The SUP contingent was small but wonderfully present. Michael Melville, Benjamin Sarrazin, Craig Collins, Shanna Upton, Adrianna Baca and me, (Jen Fuller).

Ben, Michael and I charged off the line as usual (can not help it because we must have some genetic defect) and proceeded to do a draft line the entire way. I admit, I “let” (let being the operative word here), the boys pull most of the way. Admittedly I only pulled 2 X. We had a blast as we played with the dynamics of drafting for 11 miles. The end was the most interesting. Ben had pulled ahead and in my attempt to keep Melville on the train I slowed down to make sure he stayed in the draft. (Just a note, Michael has not been sleeping much and well probably had a few too many Redbull cocktails the night before so he started to tank at the very end). So that devil, Michael caught onto my tail and then tried to pass me! Having none of that, Ben helped me by letting me catch up to him, pass him and then as Michael was about to sprint by me, Ben cut him off! What fun! Really I would say we all came in together! Well, ok, Ben would have smoked us. An excellent training paddle for us all!

Shanna Upton won her class on the 5 mile race.

Craig Upton did the 11 miles all by himself and did an amazing job!

Adrianna paddled and oversaw the event as well as served food and prizes!

The awards were so much fun. The old school house is where we register and end the event. An old building I suspect is creeping up toward the 100 year mark. Lunch was served, and in this case 2 beautiful salads, tamales, beans, rice and beer. After refueling, awards were given.

There is a wall set up with a big blue tarp to look like a giant wall of water or a damn where Adrianna and Tom Biglione hid behind. I called them the award fish. (To add to the fun Adrianna and Tom have a fully loaded super soaker that as much as anyone tried to escape getting soaked, forget it!)

You are called up if you placed in one of the race categories where upon you are handed a long fishing pole with a clip on the end. You fling it over the top of the wall and Adrianna and Tom gleefully fill the bag with a combo of gag prizes and useful items and pull on the line while you hang onto the pole for dear life. Finally the bag is thrown back at you like you caught the biggest fish. This is the fun part…what are you going to get? Well, I will leave it to your imagination and you will just have to attend next time to find out for yourself. I might add it is an event well worth attending and supporting!

Here is more information about Rivers of change and the Cow Patty Pageant along with other great events they sponsor.

Thank you to everyone who has their heart and soul behind this event! John Dye, Tom Biglione, Danielle Katz, Matt Palmariello,  Kiki Wykstra, Galen Licht, William Spangler, Chris Koerner, Carter Johnson and so many others! I apologize as I do not know everyone yet and I may not have mentioned you.

Terrapin Station Long Strange Trip Paddle Race Story and Results


The Long Strange Trip Paddle Race……The Race Within The RACE!

Yet another stellar race put on by Cort and David at 101 Surf Sports. Yes there were many folks behind the scenes that made this race one to remember, so we thank all of the sponsors, volunteers and safety support. From my vantage point this race went off without a hitch. Here is the race by the numbers…..

Start Time: 9:12am, yes it started 3 minutes early!

Total on the water scored competitors: 62 according to Paddle Guru (SUP, OC-6,OC-2,OC-1, Prone, SeaKayak, Surfski)

Weather: partly cloudy but mild temps

Water Conditions: Flood tide with a max flood at 10:46am. Water was calm with bit of a south wind bump.

Total Distance: 12:74mile according my SUUNTO Ambit 2 GPS

Total Race Time: 2:04:27

Paddle Craft Raced: Puakea OC-1

Video from the start of race using the Garmin VIRB

Story:  The Race Within The Race

The 3rd Annual Long Strange Trip Paddle race started out on a partly cloudy morning in Horseshoe Cove at Ft. Baker in Sausalito.  60 plus paddlers gathered to race from Ft. Baker to the 101 Surf Sports World HQ on the San Rafael Creek, about a 13 mile paddle.  The original name of this race was the Ride the Tide since we were riding the flood tide all the way into the bay and eventually ending at 101 Surf Sports.  Hopefully  we would have enough tidal push to get us to the finish in a quicker than normal slack tide race. Could a standup paddler finish the race in under 2 hours?  As we sat in the cove awaiting the start I wondered myself how long it would take me in an outrigger canoe. Could I in fact break 2 hours?

It was a mass start with every paddle craft represented, OC-6, OC-2, OC-1, Prone, SurfSki, SUP, and  probably a sea kayak thrown in the mix. All of the competitors pushed out  through the mouth of the cove and hung a left towards Angel Island. The races within the race started to form right from the get go. I marked Fred Andersen who was also paddling OC-1, he was off my front port side. I moved further into the flood tide which seemed to improve my overall speed. As the race went on finding the flood would prove to be part of a winning formula. Bojan Bernard aka BB in the 14ft sup class was taking the inside line towards Raccoon Straits, he was behind me off to port, he was in a race all to himself, breaking two hours was his finish line, I could tell this guy was on a mission. Not too far behind BB was Grant McFadyen also in the 14ft sup class was off to my starboard side staying way outside in the flood tide, he was also pushing hard to catch BB but 2nd place would be his prize for today as BB was pulling ahead of both of us and not slowing down. Two other 14st sup class racers who were a  couple minutes off Grant’s pace were Jean Rathle and Rune Hoyer Nielsen. Jean and Rune were neck and neck all the way to the finish, they finished a with a couple of seconds between them. Charlie Banfield also in a OC-1 paddled out off  front and was going so fast he had a rooster tail off the back of his canoe. Behind me there were other races happening, the race between the men  in the 12’6″ SUP class, Haakon Hoyer Neilsen, John Walsh and Michael Melville were battling and Jen Fuller was in the mix as a vicious game of drafting came into play. At the finish line  the 18 year old Haakon prevailed over John Walsh followed by Melville and Jen Fuller.

As all of these racers were battling it out I was battling Fred Andersen, I had a pretty good lead on Fred but I did not mark him for a few minutes and next thing I knew Fred had taken an inside line into San Rafael Creek and was gaining fast. Thats what you get for not paying attention but I was still ahead and finished ahead of him by a mere 2o seconds. As I pulled my canoe out of the water I was listening to the cheers as paddlers came across the finish line. Everyone putting everything they had on the line to finish this race. Paddlers who had never paddled over 10 miles were finishing with huge smiles on their faces, they had ramped their paddling to the next level.

Fractions Of A Second Separate The Top On The Long Strange Trip-story by David Wells @ 101 Surf Sports

101 Surf Sports puts on some of the best run races here in Northern CA. The races always go off on time, the results are usually correct (in some cases Paddle Guru can cause David Wells a headache), the safety factor is always at the highest level and the awards party just rocks it. These guys know how to make sure you have a good time on and off the water. Many thanks to the crew at 101 Surf Sports.

Above Photo Credit: Capt. Ron Steinau

Whole Foods Market/101 Surf Sports Paddle Race #2 Results & Story


This past Saturday November 8th Race #2 of the Whole Foods Market Paddle Race Series happened at 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael on the San Rafael Creek Canal. This particular race was a Charity Race to raise funds for the UCSF Foundation. All proceeds from the race which amounted to $4602.75 will be donated to UCSF Hematology Department. Good on ya 101 Surf Sports and special thanks go to Cort Larned  for sharing his own cancer survivor story. The races at 101 Surf Sports have a magnetic attraction for getting large groups of paddlers together and Saturday was no exception. Registration was closed the night before with 101 paddlers already pre-registered! Still folks came and tried to sign up the day of the race and succeeded, over 116 paddlers raced on a sunny, calm and rather balmy fall day in November. The Kayaks, surf skis, outriggers, standup paddlers and prone paddlers all showed up to take on the both the short (2 mile) and long courses (5.5 mile)  that meandered out through the canal and into San Francisco Bay.

My paddle craft of choice for the long course (the kayaks and canoes had a slightly longer course 6.89mi. to avoid traffic congestion around the island) was my shiny new Puakea Ehukai outrigger canoe (OC-1). Since we are technically in the off season I have decided to shake things up a bit and try some other paddle sports. Fred Andersen just picked up an OC-1 so I figured I had to try my hand at paddling OC-1.

David Wells does a much better recap of the results and festivities so I will focus on my journey on the OC-1. The line at the race for the kayaks and canoes was packed, not sure on the numbers but something like 15+paddle craft were on the line. Keep in mind that this was my 5th time paddling my OC-1 and by no means is it easy to paddle. So we started and went down the canal, I watched Fred Andersen pull ahead of me just like he does in the SUP Races, he was wearing bright orange shorts so I could keep a third eye on him at all times. Ok first rounding mark was the #17 channel marker which is pretty much in the middle of the bay. Did I mention that this was my 5th time in my OC-1? North wind came in and things got a little bumpy and paddling on the right side (non-ama) was super tricky. Almost went over a couple of times but kept it together around the channel marker. Cary Fergus also in an OC-1 was incredibly patient with me as I think I cut him off a couple of times due to the fact that I don’t steer all that well. Thanks Cary! We cranked around the Marin Islands and made our way back to the calm waters of the canal for the final mile sprint. But wait no so fast, my inner animal instincts took over as I was digging deep to make the canoe go faster and then I was in the water! Flipped the canoe in the perfectly calm waters of the canal, embarrassed and struggling to get back on the horse I remounted the pony and finished the race. Finished a respectable 3rd place in the 50+ masters division with a time of 1:23, total distance was 6.89 miles.

Super fun day, great food and beer, and a  carnival like atmosphere @ 101 SurfSports. Thanks Cort, Dave and the entire 101 Surf Sports Crew on another phenomenal race.

Next up is the 13 mile Long Strange Trip-Ride the Tide Race on December 6th.

Suunto Ambit 2 Course Data

Race Results

Photo Gallery by Capt. Ron


(SUP) and the US Coast Guard Regulations: The Story Part II

Jen Fuller authored this follow up article to her original post called Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) US Coast Guard Regulations: The Story from October 21st. There is very good information in her post about the different types of PFD’s for paddling  and of course wearing a leash whenever you paddle.

My intention in sharing the information gained from the Coast Guard in the last article was to include, first and foremost that the leash on your board, when connected to your leg, offers one of the very best and largest PFD’s available to you! As David Wells says from 101 Surf Sports, “it is the best assurance against hypothermia you have”.  I hope that in the updated regulations that leashes are required, rather then simply bypassed as the most obvious safety feature available to SUP.

Another fact I learned (thanks to David Wells) after writing the last article, is that a Type III PDF comes in a few different forms but most SUPers use the waist version. The key is to know what you have so make sure to check the inside of your life jacket. When inflated the higher quality inflated life jackets are shaped to go over and around the back of your head with flotation. This in turn keeps your head above water, a desired feature if you were to go unconscious. The type III designation means that to be compliant you need only have the life jacket with you, not actually wearing. it.

A type V PDF (waist pack version) may or may not have the same robust life jacket inside but more importantly type V means you must wear the life jacket at all times. Stowing it away on your board is not an option. Less expensive inflatable life jackets, whether type III or type V, when inflated may have a simple pillow with no around the neck flotation.

So while I hope none of us ever need to use a it in an emergency, saving $15 may not be the best idea. Again know what you are buying because finding out what you have when you need it most is not the best call.

Again, at all times, it makes more sense to have a leash because your board is the most effective PFD!

So, which inflatable PFD do you have? If you have a waist pack and it has a window then you likely have a type III. No window, then you are likely type V. The window shows you if the cartridge is charged or not by showing green if it is and red if it is not. Know what’s inside that tiny pocket. (A full jacket or just a front pillow)?  For example the inexpensive and popular Stearns SOS Suspenders are Type III but only have a simple front pillow.

Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) US Coast Guard Regulations: The Story

Jen Fuller penned this writeup recently from an exchange with a couple of US Coast Guard personnel she had out at Ft. Baker (home of the US Coast Guard Station Golden Gate). Suffice to say that the Coast Guard is enforcing their standup paddler safety regulations for a PFD and other safety gear while paddling on San Francisco Bay.

Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Coast Guard Regulations:

Yes indeed, the rules and regulations from the United States Coast Guard are real in the San Francisco Bay Area! The message was delivered loud and clear from two different Coast Guard gentlemen right here in our back yard of Sausalito.

It used to be many of us would paddle right out of Richardson Bay with or without a leash, PFD or whistle. The Coast Guard never took notice of me while I paddled leash-less and PFD-less around their big CG ship anchored out near Richardson Bay in Sausalito, that is until recently.

Early one morning last week, a student and I went paddling out of Fort Baker where the Coast Guard is located (Station Golden Gate).

We were on the water at 6 am, so it was still dark. Leashes and PFD’s attached we started off in the dark and paddled a most amazing course out into the bay returning to the launch area after the sun had risen.

Two different Coast Guard representatives came up to us, unbeknownst to the other, and let us know that SUP folks now need to have a PFD, a whistle and, if on the water before or after sunset, a light. They also both said that they would “board our vessel” if there was a question if any of these items were not on board. This last statement brought a smile to our faces because of the image of a Coasty boarding a SUP. I guess swimming is part of the drill?

I do not in any way want to portray that the Coast Guard guys were being pushy or harassing. In fact they could not have been nicer. They simply wanted us to pass the information on to others to educate and help make safe a sport that is putting more and more people on the water and one that they expressed is hard to find the man power to help keep up with rescue efforts. So, with that:

Here is the write up on SUP from the Coast Guard:

“The Coast Guard determined that SUPs (standup paddle boards) are “vessels” when operating “beyond the narrow confines of a surfing, swimming or bathing area.”

A vessel, according to 1 USC 3 “includes ever description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used. Or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”

What does this mean to a boarding officer?:

It means that if you (officer) see an SUP operating:

A. In the surf or swimming/bathing area, leave it alone.

B. On other waters, treat it as a kayak or other paddlecraft.

What Boating Safety regulations apply to a SUP?

Like any paddlecraft, a SUP operating outside a surfing or swimming area is subject to the NAVRLES, carriage requirements for PFDs, VDS, sound producing device, navigation lights and accident reporting.

What Kind of Lifejackets are required on a SUP?

Just as with other boats, children (12 years old and under in CA) must wear a lifejacket. Adults must have one onboard. PFDs must be Coast Guard approved and either Type I, II, or III.

Note: For people 16 years and older, who can swim and are comfortable in the water, a good choice is an inflatable lifejacket. They are less cumbersome and come in suspender style and belt –pack style.

What kind of sound producing device is required on a SUP?

A whistle will suffice for a sound-producing device.

What about Navigation Lights?

As with any rowboat, kayak, or other paddlecraft, the operator of a SUP need only carry a flashlight that can be shined in enough time to avoid collision. They are not required to have installed navigation lights.

What about Visual Distress Signals (VDS)?

 For boats in CA, VDS are only required when operating offshore. If a SUP is operating offshore it would be required to carry VDS under the following circumstances:

A. It the SUP is less then 16 feet long the operator need only carry VDS if operating between sunset and sunrise.

B.If the SUP is 16 feet longer, the operator needs to carry both day and night VDS anytime it is underway (33 CFR 175.110 (a).

Do SUPs have hull ID numbers (HIN)?

No, the Coast Guard waived that manufacturer requirement.

So SUPs have to have registration numbers?

No, State D11 do not require registration of paddlecraft (CA, AZ, NV, UT). However, other states might.

What about “traditional” paddleboards that don’t use a paddle but are powered by hand, kneeling or laying down like a surfboard?

 “Traditional” paddleboards have been around for about 100 years. This style of paddleboard is typically long, pointed and does NOT use a paddle. The operator “paddles” with his or her hands like on a surfboard. These were not considered in the Coast Guard’s “vessel” determination, which said, “The sport involves a person standing on a board similar to a surfboard and propelling themselves through the use of a paddle.” Even if a traditional paddleboard had been classified as a “vessel” it would be exempt from lifejacket carriage requirements because it is powered by hand rather then “by machinery”, sails, oars, paddles, poles, or other vessel.” (33 CFR 175.11)

Where can I find these regs in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)?

Most recreational requirements can be found in 33 CFR, between 173 and 187.” Just FYI this is like trying to find a needle in a haystack so I was quite happy when the CG gave me the sheet they had written up for all of us SUPers.

Link to the US Coast Guard SUP Regulation from 2011 is here.

What’sup News and Events for Sept 18


September News and Events

September 18, 2014

Good Afternoon:

It’s Thursday and what’s happening this weekend is the 4th Annual Battle of the Bay Paddle Race. The Battle of the Bay will be testing out its new venue at East Beach on Crissy Field in the Presidio National Park of San Francisco. This will be a fabulous weekend of racing in the City by The Bay. Weekend weather is suppose to be classic San Francisco fall weather with some morning fog giving way to sunny in the 70’s afternoons. Online registration is closing tonight so if you want to save some money on your race entry register today

And on the casual paddle side of things, check out the Indian Summer Raft Up happening late Saturday afternoon with the Barbary Ghost out at Marin Islands.  All starts at 5:30 with a leisurely paddle from Loch Lomond Marina out to the Marin Islands where the Barbary Ghost will be anchored. Sounds pretty fun!

Cannot forget to talk about the epic Tahoe Fall Classic Paddle Race last weekend on Lake Tahoe. The race or lets call it a crossing was from  South Lake to North Lake Tahoe and covered the complete 22 miles end to end of Lake Tahoe. Congrats go to NorCal paddlers Jay Wild (Mens Elite Winner) and Ben Sarrazin (2nd place Elite) and for the ladies Jen Fuller took first place for the Elite Woman followed by Nina Oakley in 2nd and Wendy Ackerman in 3rd. Complete story on the Fall Classic is here. If you don’t want to read and just see a video recap then click here.

Hope to see everyone at the Battle of the Bay this weekend!

Keep paddling!


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