Peter Steinfath oregon to baja by paddleboard

Peter Steinfath is his name and his journey is incredible yet remarkably simple. All he wanted to do is get salty.

6/11 Update Peter just passed San Simeon

6/7/23 Update. Peter is in Carmel.

5/29/23 Update. Peter paddled past San Franciso and is headed south!

His home is Klitmøller Denmark, also known as “cold Hawai’i” by those that flock there to enjoy a beautiful warm Summer as well as to enjoy the ocean for its powerful waves and many opportunities to enjoy wind sports. From a young age he was known to learn how to problem solve and wasn’t afraid to try out something new. Apparently, that childhood sense of no fear and quest of adventure never left him.

SIC RS Touring SUPAfter his travels from Denmark to San Francisco, I got a phone call from a number that I didn’t recognize and was quite surprised and happy to hear from Peter again. He was rather excited about a fun trip he had planned and wanted to know if he could rent a board from us at 101 Surf Sports. After some more chatting, Peter then told me a little bit more about his upcoming trip.

His upcoming mission was to start paddling from the Oregon border, down the California coastline, finishing up at the Baja Mexico border.

We met up a few days later at 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael to get him all kitted out and on his way. As Peter walked through our door he was all smiles and giggling, completely stoked out for his adventure thanks to Cort Larned, the owner of 101 Surf Sports who let Peter walk out of his shop with 4k worth of goods that are essential to his journey.

Peter needed the perfect board for his extremely long hours in questionably dangerous waters filled with fierce, dangerous creatures. My number one vote was for the SIC RS 14 x 24.5 stand up paddleboard. It’s by far my absolute favorite board for every single condition and it has never disappointed me.

Our next step was to get the board ready for this expedition by adding a bungee cord and netting to hold three SealLine 40L dry bags. So our favorite go-to for securing the deck rigging is the Vamo universal deck bungee kit.

Setting up SIC Maui RS 14 x 24.5 for expedition

We then took some extra time to remove the deckpad areas where the Vamo deck mounts were going to be placed as the durability of our install is paramount to the gear not heading on its way down to Davey Jones’ locker! We mixed up a few pots of epoxy and got straight to work and everything came out nice and clean.

Now is the time to talk about what exactly would be carried in those dry bags. Imagine, you are about to set off on the trip of a lifetime, what would YOU bring? Let that sink in for a moment. How much gear and supplies would one person need for a month-long, give or take 1,000 mile paddle on the ocean?

It turns out that Peter’s intention was to keep it light and minimal. As in, beyond minimal. Peter rattled off his plans for gear and rations, as myself and the staff stood there with our mouths agape, he giggled like a schoolboy.

Apparently, his Viking ancestry is coursing through his veins, and that icey blood can withstand frigid ocean water and skin-burning high winds. The mere thought of an ocean voyage is so imprinted in his DNA that he can exist on the slimmest of food and supplies. Peter said that he’s definitely taking a compass, a couple of gallons of milk, some orange juice, a tarp for some cowboy camping and in the food department a slingshot to score a squirrel or two as well as some dates and other fruits. Totally bonkers!

Over the past 14 days Peter has kept in touch with me by texts or phone calls to keep me posted on his progress and each story is absolutely enthralling. One such story was a pack of over 50 sea lions that cleared off some large rocks and charged in Peter’s direction. Then there is the fog that rolls in so thick that he can’t see anything, using his ears to navigate far enough away from the shore pound and jagged rocks that dot the rugged coastline.

As the crow flies, that might be roughly 220 miles or 354 km. Either way one looks at it. It’s completely bonkers. How and why might a human decide to do this? Apparently to get salty in Peter’s case.

Over the course of Peter’s journey, he would send me daily texts with pictures or an occasional phone call to check in and catch up on his travels. Then, the texts stopped on Sunday, May 21st. The last text was on that date with a beautiful picture of a rugged cove and the message said “Mendocino”. Then the communication went dark for a solid five days. My thoughts ranged from “he’s perfectly fine” to “When should I contact the Coast Guard?”

Steinfath SUP to mexico

After several days and as many restless nights, I decided to make contact with the Coast Guard. It was somewhat comical telling them “ummm, so, yeah. My buddy is paddling from Oregon to Baja, and I haven’t heard from him in 5 days”. After chatting with several amazingly professional petty officers, I received a call from the section commander. The big shot.

After a thorough questioning by Commander Suchanek, he and I started trying to pinpoint where the daring Dane might have possibly ended up after 5 days of travel along the California coast. We focused on the areas from Point Arena to Sea Ranch. Then came the tough question from Commander Suchanek. “Do you want us to deploy assets and find Peter?”

So my feelings were crossed. If we don’t deploy water and air assets, if Peter is in danger I might have failed him. Then my mind wandered to the thought of Peter relaxing on a rugged beach, enjoying a warm fire and him pondering his next day of paddling. Did I want to screw up Peter’s idyllic adventure because of panic? My heart told me that he was in a bad cell reception area or out of battery strength on his phone. So I told Commander Suchanek, “Let’s wait one more day.”

My next move was to contact Peter’s brother back in Denmark. So I fired off the email and voicemail. And waited. And waited some more because of the time zone difference. Finally, I got word in the early evening from Casper Steinfath that he had spoken to Peter just the day before and that he was in Gualala, safe and good.

A wave of relief washed over me and I happily called Commander Suchanek back and reported the good news. He shared the same amount of relief and promised me that there would be more eyes looking out for young Peter as he gallops down the coastline. He also asked for better communication from our happy-go-lucky paddler, and his brother Casper told me that ole Peter got an F in the communication department. As soon as Peter clears the remote coastline, he’ll be back in reception and able to keep in touch with me as his journey continues.

He will be arriving in the San Francisco Bay area within the next week and a half, if we can pin down his location, perhaps he can get some on-the-water encouragement.

We’ll keep you posted as this salty adventure continues.

Be well and paddle on,

Tom Nadzam and the team at 101 Surf Sports

Small Photo Gallery Of Peter's Trip So Far

Peter Steinfath