Deception Pass Challenge

The Deception Pass Challenge is the same 6 ish mile course as the Deception Pass Dash. The DP Challenge is the new official version of this classic NW winter race in the tidal rapids of Deception Pass but under new management.

The race starts at slack (before ebb) where participants race from Bowman Bay around Deception Island then through the main Pass (south channel) before the ebb current becomes too strong to paddle against. The ‘crux point’ is the last somewhat doable eddy on the SE corner of Pass Island before open water leading to Strawberry Island. Many don’t make it past this point. If you do, you’ll go around Strawberry Island, then through Canoe Pass (north channel) back towards Deception Island then finish at Bowman Bay.

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.

Race Dates

December 7 or 8. The final day will be called a few days to a week prior once we know the conditions. Race start at noon Saturday or 12:30 Sunday.

*Due to our insurance, only 50 participants will be allowed to compete in the 2019 Challenge. This will open up to a larger number in 2020.

Who Should Race?

Open to all human powered paddling craft who are competent in tidal rapids, waves, surf and possible wind. Common craft include SUP, surf ski, OC, sea kayak and rowers.

Race T-Shirt

Local paddler Ayu Othman designed a sweet shirt for the race which is available for an additional $15 upon registration.





Percentage of proceeds donated to the NW Straits Commission

DP Challenge Race Clinic

Learn how to paddle in Deception Pass and find the fastest line on the race course. Open to all paddling/rowing craft, take this clinic to rock the Challenge! Date: Nov 23, 11am. Alternative dates for custom clinics: Oct 27. Nov 2, 9. Contact me for rates and/or to save your spot. 

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.

Seeking Volunteers

Registration, competent on-water safety paddlers, timer assistants, photographers. Contact me for info.

Upcoming October Race to Check Out

Ballard Elks Halloween Race and Costume Contest – Sept 26th 10am. 3 and 6 mile race open to all craft.

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.

Event Details:

Race Date: December 7 or 8 depending on conditions. Confirmation made a few days prior.

Location: Deception Pass State Park,WA

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

Distance: 6 miles

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

Participant Capacity: 50

Bring your Discover Pass for parking. Or $10 cash. 

Register Here

Race ClinicNov 23, 11am. Alternative dates for custom clinics: Oct 27. Nov 2, 9Contact me for rates and/or to save your spot. 

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