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.