San Francisco is known for its liberal politics and chilled out vibe, but from the 18th of October, the ‘City by the Bay’ will transform into an adrenaline-filled venue for one of the most extreme race events in the SUP calendar – The Red Bull Heavy Water.
The Bay Gets Crackling
The iconic Golden Bridge provides the perfect backdrop as 40 of the toughest SUP athletes go head to head to prove to the world who is the best. One look at the course, and you will know just why this event has got even the best athletes training hard to turn out in peak physical condition.
The event kicks off at Ocean Beach, or rather, with the rising waves of the landmark white beach. The frigid and harsh undercurrents are known to many an experienced surfer. And this is exactly what the racers will navigate, for a start. After all, this is Red Bull Heavy Water.
Once the waves of Ocean Beach have been dealt with by some skilful paddling and tremendous concertation, the athletes then have to have to navigate the open ocean. Think treacherous waters that are usually occupied by towering steamers and giant freight carriers. The racers need to maintain their concentration and keep pushing the paddle to stay ahead. The true test of their stamina and SUP credentials lie ahead.
The open ocean makes way for the final leg of the race at the San Francisco Bay. With the Golden Bridge lining the sky, the racers will dash through the protected waters. The final sprint takes them past the beaches of The City with the finish line at the St. Francis Yacht Club. The total distance covered by the athletes and their SUPs will be 12kms or 7.5 miles.
The racer who crosses the finish line first truly deserves to be called the best SUP Racer.
A Complete Test
What sets the Red Bull Heavy Water apart from other racing events is its mix of endurance, skill, and speed. It is more than just ‘paddle as fast as you can in a straight line’ and win. The racers need to conquer the conditions, which range from riding waves to navigating ocean waters before sprinting on the flat water stretch. The event is truly a test of all the skills that make a SUP athlete, and the racers be better prepared for it.
A Bright Future
When a company like Red Bull is associated with SUP, it can only mean good things for the water sport. Everyone associated with the event is talking it up as an experience that will achieve legendary status in the years to come. Personally, I will not be surprised if it gets there sooner. The best athletes in the sport are already drawn to it. The sky is the limit from here on.
Head To The Bay
Mark October the 18th on your calendars. San Francisco will bear witness to the best that SUP has to offer, in terms of its athletes and their skills.