Battle of the Bay means paddling around one of the most Iconic and famous locations. Cross below the Golden Gate Bridge past Alcatraz looking at the San Fran backdrop. I am super stoked to have competed in this race, with a pretty impressive field of elite paddlers. I was lucky enough to get into the state the day before the race, so I went for a paddle with one of the locals, Bernard (shoutout!). This allowed me to scope out the course and pick up on some local knowledge.
Finding some eddies
Race day offered some pretty amazing conditions, we had beautiful, sunny skies and not much wind, that made for flatter conditions. There were some small rolling bumps up to the bridge on the first leg of the lap course, making it hard to draft. As we rounded the foot of the left tower it was tricky to try find some eddies in the tide that was pulling against us back out to sea. At this stage Michael Booth had already made a break, so it was my turn to try catch up.
One of the toughest parts of the race was the side chop and boat wash, rebounding off the rocks creating tough conditions. I had to find a rhythm that worked in with the side bumps, surprisingly the board I secured (big thanks to Jeramie Vaine) rolled very smooth over the top of each little wave.
A strong pack of Connor Baxter, Enzo Bennett and Georges Cronsteadt were hot on my tail. As I began to stress, I turned up the pace again, to try keep them from catching up. We were only 2km out from the entrance heading back into the enclosed waters to the beach at the finish line.
I was riding the Carolina at 21.5 inches wide, the board punched through everything that the bay could throw at it. Even when a huge ferry wake would roll through, the board would float over the top and ride down the back.
Coming closer to the beach, I could see the finish line, I could see Michael and when I turned to look back I could see the pack chasing us. To secure my 2nd spot, all I had to do was put on one last semi-sprint and run under the archway, which seemed to be pretty straightforward… Apart from the jump off the board.
Unfortunately I tripped running up the beach, and luckily enough I still had enough time to keep my 2nd place as the chase pack couldn’t catch up.
That little error made it extra special to come away with a second and paddle at such a great event along with all the other competitors. Huge thanks goes out to Jeramie Vaine from NSP North America for sorting out all the board logistics and allowing me to compete in the race.
Congratulations to Michael, Seychelle and everyone who finished – I’ll be back next year!
Full results here, main picture by @georgia S Photography