Deception Pass Challenge


Race Photos by Jasmine Speaks

Check photos also from Ivan Storck

Thanks to all the volunteers, safety boaters and all participants for continuing to support racing at Deception Pass!

Thanks a bunch to Mark McAlpin for setting up registration, running Webscorer, doing sign-ups, timing / scribe / spotting and not only announcing our awards, but making the awards stones!

Thanks also to Bill Walker for your insight on running the race (and generator). And to the Skagit Search and Rescue boat!


The 2020 Deception Pass Challenge is Saturday, December 5th and is the same 6 ish mile course as the traditional Deception Pass Dash.

But.. this year, we’ll start on a diminishing ebb and slack. You must go around Strawberry Island and back under the bridge before the flood traps you on the east side!  We’ll have a trailer at Cornet Bay for those that don’t make it back.

Directions to Bowman Bay

DP Challenge Race Details – If we get Phase 3 or 4

The DP Challenge starts on a diminishing ebb before slack. Participants race from Bowman Bay around Deception Island then through the main Pass (south channel) to Strawberry Island and back to the bridge in Canoe Pass before the flood traps you!

The ‘crux point’ is the last somewhat doable eddy on the SE corner of Pass Island and/or in Canoe Pass below the DP bridge.

Challenges on the course aside from tidal currents include boat wakes, progressive standing waves from current bucking wind, reefs and kelp beds around the islands, wind and well.. its December.


9:30 – Sign-in tent open

10:45am – Safety Meeting

11:30 – Race Start (Start of slack tide)

2pm – Awards

Terms and Conditions

NOTE  regardless off circumstances

  • Refunds cannot be issued
  • Tickets cannot be transferred without confirming with DP registration.
  • Tickets cannot be deferred to next year.


Race T-Shirt

Local paddler Ayu Othman designs our sweet race shirts – $15 upon registration.


Percentage of proceeds donated to the NW Straits Commission

Lodging / Travel Info

There’s ample lodging in Oak Harbor and Anacortes nearby. ‘DP’ is a 1.5 hour drive in good traffic from Seattle with no ferry required.

DP Challenge Race Clinics

Find out how to race smarter vs harder in the Pass. We’ll trace the race route in the same currents while showing where to be and when, how to paddle in rough water and make smarter decisions. LEARN MORE



2020 NW Races 

Salmon Bay Paddle Races:

Deception Pass Challenge Spring Race – Sunday April 26th – 6.3 miles. Reverse current – beat the flood!

St Paddles Day Race – Alderbrook Resort – March 14th.

Bremerton Port Washington Narrows Race – Spring or Early Summer. 10 miles in tidal currents. TBA

Lake Crescent Paddling Race – Summer – TBA

2nd Annual Makah Coast Race at Hobuck – Late Summer. 10 miles through the surf into the bay and back.







Skill Prerequisites: Advanced

Must be competent with winter paddling in tidal rapids, waves, wind and rough water. Lifejackets required for all participants and leashes for SUPs.  If you’re unsure of your skill level, contact us to discuss or for additional training.

Deception Pass Challenge Details:

Race Date: December 5 – 2020 – If we get Phase 3 or 4

Location: Deception Pass State Park,WA

Course – Bowman Bay – Deception Island – main Pass – Strawberry Island – Canoe Pass – DP Island – Bowman Bay.

Distance: 6.3 miles

Overall Event Duration: 4 hours (11am – 3pm)

Participant Capacity: 100

Bring your Discover Pass for parking or your CC for a day parking pass. *Please consider carpooling to save parking space. 

DP Challenge Race Clinics Learn More

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