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The weather reports looked grim and wet, however, the intrepid paddlers were graced with a nice weather window that allowed for a much less soggy morning on the water in the San Rafael Canal for our Year of the Dragon race. 

Towards the end of the race, our paddlers had a light sprinkle on their faces as they returned to the dock at 101 Surf Sports.

Given the high winds on San Pablo Bay, the decision was made to keep the racecourse in the canal for the safety of the racers. In total, there were roughly 40 willing participants that were composed of surfskis, K-1 kayaks, outrigger canoes, and stand-up paddleboards who were signed up for one of the two distances of two-miles or six-miles. Luckily the short course goes from 101 Surf Sports to the mouth of the canal, rounding the number 7 channel marker that marks the turnaround point for a return trip back to the finish line. The six-mile course was accomplished by doing multiple laps within the canal that made for some exciting buoy turns and lots of action. 

The group start of both the two and six-mile racers is always a sight to be seen, the water goes from smooth and glassy to a white froth of spray from the paddle strokes with the wake of each watercraft turning into small waves that slap and splash into the docks on both sides of the canal.

 

 

Our first paddler across the finish line was one of our junior category paddlers, Sebastian Kauffman from the River Town Racers in his trusty K-1 with a super fast time of 20:16:69. 

The first paddlers across the finish line for the six-mile event in the open category was Albert Szilvasy in a surfski that was followed by a double surfski that was captained by Zachary and Petri Alva. Our outrigger paddlers gave us a good show by posting blazing fast times by two separate OC-2 canoes that were paddled by our He’e Nalu Outrigger Canoe Club darlings Tracy and Deirdre in the first outrigger canoe across the finish line followed closely by Nicole and Vida. Well done everyone! 

Our monthly winter race series is always a much anticipated yearly event that draws some of the best paddlers in the Bay area in addition to first-time racers. With that said, our events are intended to be fun and lighthearted races that allow paddlers of any skill set to enjoy themselves in a safe and well-managed environment. Our paddlers embrace the true meaning of the water person lifestyle, and during the race that was proven to be true by two different paddlers by the name of Thade Hutchins and Tanya Alva who stopped to assist a couple of paddlers who had fallen in the water. 

In the twelve years that 101 Surf Sports has been in business, we have had the opportunity to get to know our customers to the point in which they become our friends and de-facto family. Included in that group is the Banfield family. Keeping the tradition of paddling a family endeavor, there are two members of that family worth mentioning, Josh and his nine-year-old daughter Anuhea Banfield, in a double outrigger canoe.  

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Several participants drove from far and wide for a potentially soggy morning on the water, luckily the weather cooperated and made the trip from Sacramento and Santa Cruz smooth sailing. The two paddlers from Santa Cruz were Debbie and Micki who represented the 831 in a double surfski with a solid performance, especially for Micki as it was her second race! Several of our local lady paddlers are diehard Infinity SUP lovers, each one on blazing-fast Infinity Blackfish paddleboards and trained to the max by their fearless coach, Jen Fuller.

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As per usual, our costume contest was loads of fun with a couple of standout costumes that celebrated the Year of the Dragon properly. Two of our friends from He’e Nalu Outrigger Canoe Club had donned their festive dragon costumes to add some excitement to our event. Thank you so much Vida and Deirdre for dressing up and walking away with a gift certificate for their efforts!

One of the favorite parts of our winter race series events would most certainly be our famously themed lunch menus. One of the many highlights this time was our tangy chicken bites along with egg rolls, Chinese chicken salad along with fried rice, and naughty fortune cookies!

The race season isn’t over quite yet, there are two more exciting races coming up over the next two months. Our next event is our Mardi Gras race # 6 on February 17th which is followed by our final race of the season, our legendary St. Patty’s race #7 on March 16th, 2024. Both of these events are going to be over the top with a delicious menu that is themed for each occasion, so train hard, wear a costume, and join us for the final 101 Surf Sports races of the season!

Mardi Gras Race # 6

 https://paddleguru.com/races/101SurfSportsWinterPaddleSeriesRace6MardiGras2024

St. Patty's Day Race # 7

https://paddleguru.com/races/WinterPaddleSeriesRace7StPattysDay2024