Davenport to Santa Cruz, Ca. downwind race May 18

3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #34124 by Fath2o
Some claim that this is the best 14 mile (22.5 km) downwind run in California.

https://www.paddlesignup.com/Race/CA/SantaCruz/SantaCruzDownwindRydersCupPaddleBoardRace

Unfortunately I am in no condition for it. But, my son will be competing on a 14' traditional (prone) paddleboard.
So proud of that boy!

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3 months 2 weeks ago #34127 by MCImes
Kirk, whats the longest Prone paddleboard race/event you have done? 14 miles in Prone position seems like a long time to me! but i've never done prone so maybe its not as long as it sounds. 

Hopefully they get a good southerly blowing wind for the event!

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #34131 by Fath2o
I have only competed in sprint course lifeguard competitions.
I did escort a lifeguard buddy of mine in the 32 mile Catalina Classic race.
 A grueling race with the last 3 miles or so usually up wind.
My buddy got third overall and fist in the 12' division - kicked ass. The unlimited class boards that beat (and lost to) him were up to 18' long.
His time was around six and a half hours. I had never participated before and was told after the race that I didn't know what I was doing.  Just seems, that maybe, the results  suggest other wise.
Depending on your board and your talent level, a paddler can alternate between prone and knee paddling.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #34139 by Cryder
I did the race last year, and I have to say this event does not disappoint. And the after party on the beach / peer is as good as it gets. As far as I know it is the only open ocean downwind race in North America* and the course is absolute classic. We had perfect downwind conditions, 20 to 30kts wind running with the swell. There are others who know this run far better then myself, Carter and Kenny in particular have it dialed and have been doing it for years - but when it's big it's a white knuckle ride worth the windshield time. I think the tighter you run the cliffs the faster the line, but buyer beware because the rebound and kelp beds are hungry. Do this race while you can, it won't last forever and it's special. 

*Excluding Hawaii and the former US SS champs run. Please note key words: Open. Ocean. Downwind. 

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3 months 1 week ago #34148 by MCImes
To Cryder, kirk, or anyone else familiar with this race, I've been watching the wind and waves for this course on both surfline and Windy.com. Im tempted to drive up there next week and give this a shot.
Surfline seems to indicate a rockin' run with near-perfect 5' @ 8 seconds wind swell from behind, plus head-on long period swell. 
Windy seems to show side-on swell the whole way which would make for a significantly different (and less fun) run. 

I know you cant predict conditions next week. but to anyone who knows this area, do you commonly have Northwest wind waves pushing you down the shore most of the course? Or is the swell commonly more west or southwest like windy shows, which means taking beam waves until you round the point. 

I watched the videos from 2017 and 18 and it looks like the paddlers all have some good swell from behind, but video editing is very selective and no promo video would show people  slogging through side-on swell for 10 miles before they round the corner and get in line with the swell. 

Very tempting though

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
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3 months 1 week ago #34150 by Fath2o
Unfortunately, I have never done the race or the course. I believe it is typically mostly straight downwind course. I have surfed Steamers lane at the end of the course and the spot is protected from the prevailing offshore WNW winds.

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3 months 1 week ago #34170 by coastbouy
I've done this race  4 times. Wind seems to like to blow along this stretch of shoreline. Having wind has never been a problem! The first section of the race the water tends to more mixed up / sloppier. If you follow the wind and waves straight this will take you in closer to the kelp and problems! I've seen some very good paddlers take a wider line and do very well. The second section of the race as the shore turns in, the waves become more groomed ( less sloppy ). The last section of the race the course takes you around "Steamers lane" (a well known surf spot). At this point the water flattens out. You paddle around to the other side of the Municipal Wharf and land on the beach. If you are close to some one ahead of you here there is a chance for redemption and die a little in the flat water and sprint your heart out to the finish. At the beach you hop out of your boat and run up through the finish gate. A couple of years ago I managed to catch up to some one (who had landed on the beach before me), right at the  gate for a photo-finish.  (I was quicker scrambling out of my boat) The finish has always been sunny, warm and out of the wind, which is very nice. The best place to park the car at the finish is across the street at a surf shop ($20.00 a day last year, get there early for a spot) Most of the paddlers in this race are on paddle boards (prone and standup) and they really know how to use the water! This race course is for people with very good re-entry skills as the water can be rough. I went for a swim last year. I got distracted because I realized that at mile 4 I was just behind a friend of mine who is a very good paddler (he never saw me!)  Even though the swell could be from the west,  I've always had a great time! ( good place for a longer rudder ) The organizers typically have one safety boat. Here is a link for the registration:  https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/SantaCruz/SantaCruzDownwindRydersCupPaddleBoardRace?fbclid=IwAR0ZGGDK_VGbDZx5tA_SqpAZ7BBCqBeen1y8ko58kgW4Xaf-ve4XxefEwRQ

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