Deception Pass Challenge

Deception Pass Challenge – Dec 11, 2021

We’re going back to the original course starting in Bowman Bay!  Beat the ebb at Pass IslandStarts at 9:15 AM

This is an epic winter paddling and rowing race through the tidal rapids of Deception Pass!  Started by Bill Walker and Don Kiesling in the late 2000’s, the race has been a popular winter activity for experienced paddlers.

Awards – Drawing for $150 from KAVU and $75 from Seattle Sports Co and overall winner gets a Deception Pass Jet Boat Tour (For 2 – $70 value)! 

The Route:

  • Launch adjacent to the dock in Bowman Bay approx 20 min before slack (before ebb)
  • Counter clockwise around Deception Island
  • Through main Pass to beat the ebb at the ‘Crux’ on the SE corner of Pass Island
  • CC around Strawberry Island (Watch for kelp)
  • Down Canoe Pass
  • Clockwise around Deception Island
  • Back to Bowman Bay finishing adjacent to dock

Approx 6.15 miles.

Donate to the Skagit Search and Rescue who will be providing safety boats

Take our Tidal Rapids Training classes in Deception Pass pre-race!  Know before you go. For SUP, kayak and surf ski.

Sponsored by Hammer Nutrition!  and KAVU!









Start Protocol for Current Phase Guidance:

Will Update for Fall 2021 Guidance


VERY IMPORTANT – Covid-19 Safety Measures in Place.

  • Per State Guidelines we will have a Covid-19 sanitation and hand cleaning station at the start.
  • Masks will be required to be worn in the parking lot and shore areas and by safety crew on-water when in close contact with participants.
  • You will be assigned a start time for your heat.  Aside from the first (slower craft heat), all heats will be set by type of water craft.
  • Please follow our onsite guidelines to stay distanced on shore and when entering the water. Stay clear of the start area if your heat isn’t immediately.
  • Do not attend if you’re feeling sick and/or have a temp. No refund permitted if so.


Who Should Attend

  • Open to all human powered paddling craft – Row, SUP, kayak, surf ski, outrigger, prone, peddle.
  • PFDs required to be worn for all craft except prone paddle boards and rowers (rowers should have one on board). Also waist leashes for SUPs.
  • Advanced paddlers who are familiar paddling in tidal rapids at Deception Pass. Never paddled DP? Take my DP class for learning how it works!
  • Must be able to finish course in 3 hours.
  • Seeking experienced Safety Boats to be stationed along the course. Must know how to use a VHF, tidal current and can rescue in rough water.
  • Following current Covid Phase Guidelines


Terms and Conditions – NOTE  regardless off circumstances:

  • Refunds cannot be issued – Your cancelled fee will be donated to Skagit Search and Rescue
  • Tickets cannot be transferred without confirming with DP registration.
  • Tickets cannot be deferred to next year.
  • Masks and distancing are required on shore. Non-maskers (on shore) will be disqualified
  • $500 no-refundable protest filing fee



Race Photos by Jasmine Speaks

Photos from Ivan Storck




Sound Rowers

Seattle Outrigger Club


Ballard Elks Paddling Club – Summer Monday Night Fundraiser Series

2020 Course
2019 Race Start
2019 Race Start

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