Yesterday afternoon I paddled on the course of the US
Surfski Champs from the start at Fort Baker, out as far as Pt. Diablo and back
to the race finish at Berkeley Marina.We hit the wildest currents I've ever seen.
I'm totally blown away by San Francisco... In the first 36
hours I had done two 20km downwind paddles, I'd played in the currents under
the Golden Gate bridge - and man, the hospitality of these people has to be
experienced to be believed...
The U.S. Surfski Championships are set for August 22 & 23. This year's venue includes a new course that will be 80% downwind. This newly designed course will take paddlers out the Golden Gate and around the infamous Point Bonita Buoy where the course then turns downwind for a 13 mile run to Berkeley. The run from Point Bonita to Berkeley is one of the best downwinds in Northern California.
Speculation was rife before the race – what tactics would the top paddlers employ in the tricky currents of San Francisco Bay? South Africans Hank McGregor and Dawid Mocke, the race favorites, both have a reputation for charging off the start line.
US Surfski Championships women's champion Nikki Mocke (Pic: Robin Graham)
20 Sep 2008 San Francisco: "It was a tight tactical race, right from the beginning," said an exhausted Dawid Mocke. He'd just finished the 2008 edition of the US Surfski Championships... coming second to a rampant Hank McGregor.
Hank McGregor on his way to win the 2008 US Champs (Pic: Judy Barker)
Our contact Judy Barker is down at the start area right now - and she's sending us pics & video clips from her mobile phone.Over the next hour or so we'll be collecting and editing them.Then we'll upload them to blip.tv and you'll be able to watch them - near real time.Cool, hey?