December 12th is the annual Deception Pass Dash, a six mile race through the tidal rapids of Deception Pass State Park in Washington State. Last year high winds and ocean swell created six foot standing waves challenging the paddlers even more. Traditionally the Dash has been sea kayakers, surf skis, and outriggers. This year, SUPs are allowed. These images were from a test run where the race organizers wanted to see how SUPs could do in the race. The 6 SUPs and two paddle boarders did well, although the conditions were glassy and nearly calm. Many are curious how they will perform in gnarly winter conditions.
Other Links from yesterday’s test paddle at Deception Pass from the racers themselves..
Random Tips on training for a winter tidal rapids race:
– Practice going upwind (or up current). Everyone talks of down winders, but how about going upwind? Where I paddle on Puget Sound, in order to go downwind, you have to go upwind first, which is great exercise and training for inclement weather. And if you happen to get caught in unexpected weather, then you’re good to go. Try kneeling to cut wind Resistance and feathering your blade. Sitting works well too if you have a double bladed paddle. Possibly store a kayak paddle on your board with bungis.
– Take a whitewater kayaking (or SUP?) class to understand how current works and how to negotiate and read current or a river. Learn how to paddle up current using the eddies, how to peel out, ferry across current, and how to paddle in whirlpools, boils, etc.
– With a buddy, go out on rough water days in wind, funky current, tide rips, or in surf to gain your sea legs on bumpy water.
– Wear a full surfing wetsuit or dry suit in water colder than 65 degrees. I try to avoid getting on the news.