Wanda Fuca Downwinder

Influenced by Bill Walker’s Da Fuca Downwinder, the Wanda Fuca Downwinder is the same course but named after a favorite (former) beer brewed near Port Angeles, WA. The Da Fuca Downwinder was a 13.5 mile race which started before the Elwha Dam removal and ran for a few years.

Post dam removal, the Elwha River mouth has since extended out several hundred more feet and the mouth is alive with rich marine wildlife.

The mouth is also known for having surf which may influence the race if the swell is firing. Check out Port Angeles marine scientist Ian Miller’s blog on the changing river delta during dam removal.

DATE: June 13th 2021, 10:30am Start on the beginning of the flood.

DISTANCE: 13.5 miles from the Freshwater Bay Boat ramp to Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles.
COURSE DETAILS / PARKING / DIRECTIONS.  (Note: Must have your own shuttle option during Covid)

The race route starts from the Freshwater Bay boat ramp and goes down the Strait of Juan de Fuca to finish in downtown Port Angeles.  The course will be reversed if wind is going the opposite direction. West and East winds are both common on the Strait. **Plan for your own shuttle to FWB.

The race occurs during the Port Angeles Maritime Festival.  Sponsored and Awards Swag by Sound Bikes and Kayaks in Port Angeles. 

The Port Angeles Red Lion Inn is offering racer lodging Discounts and a Gear cleaning station. Discount available at registration. 

Check out my PA Travel Guide for Directions, Camping, Food and Travel Tips for Port Angeles.


The Wanda Fuca Downwinder can be an epic run if swell and westerly wind are working together. The Strait’s tidal current runs fast like a river on larger exchanges.






Some proceeds donated to the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles. 
WATERCRAFT – All human powered paddling and rowing craft comfortable with open water, wind and waves. Must be able to finish the course under 3 hours.
PFD, leash for all craft, tethered VHF radio, dress for conditions, hi-vis clothing and downwind and open water skills. *Must have experience in open water and ocean conditions.

Start Protocol for Current Phase Guidance:

Following current WA State Outdoor Rec Phase Guidance, we are allowed to launch a wave of 10-15 racers every minute for 100 racers. Slowest craft start first.

VERY IMPORTANT – Covid-19 Safety Measures in Place.

  • Registrants will be given a link for our Pre-Race Zoom Safety Meeting
  • 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.
  • Life jackets required to be worn by all participants. Leashes as well for SUPs.  Recommend a reliable communication device and hi-vis colors.

Who Should Attend

  • Open to all human powered paddling craft – Row, SUP, kayak, surf ski, outrigger, prone, peddle.
  • Advanced paddlers who are familiar paddling in open water, wind and waves.. *See Participant Requirements below.  Must know how to swim.
  • Must be able to finish course in under 3 hours.
  • Seeking experienced Safety Boaters (power or paddle) to be stationed along the course. Must know how to use a VHF and can rescue in rough water.
  • Per Phase 1–2 Guidelines, no spectators at the starting line area for distancing.


Get Downwind and Open Water Paddling Skills on surf ski, kayak and SUP:


Races in Production: Hammersley Inlet to Hope Island and/or Fox Island. May?


Sound Rowers


Ballard Elks Paddling Club – Summer Monday Night Fundraiser Series Starts May 3rd.

Skill Prerequisites: Advanced

You should have proven skills in ocean and open water paddling, surfing and rough water skills.  You should know how to swim. This is not a race for beginners. Ocean swell could range from 2′ to 10′.  We will not hold the race if the wind is over 30kts.  

Lifejackets and leashes required to participate as well as a VHF radio and hi-vis clothing. We recommend cold water clothing as the Strait runs colder than Puget Sound. 

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