“I was so scared.” Danish Viking Casper Steinfath survives fog and chaos to defend Red Bull Heavy Water title in San Fran; Terrene Black women’s winner (UPDATED)

The “Danish Viking” Casper Steinfath has defended his Red Bull Heavy Water title in San Francisco today after surviving what is surely the gnarliest and most chaotic race the sport has ever seen.

The event certainly lived up to its name as the small but highly-elite band of competitors battled stiff headwind, strong ocean currents and 6-8ft waves. But the biggest obstacle was the fog, which rolled in mid-race and reduced visibility at the Ocean Beach finish line to virtually zero.

The athletes couldn’t even see the beach when they were turning the first outside buoy, nervously paddling like “gorillas in the mist” through one of the heaviest surf breaks in California.    → READ MORE

OLYMPIC PADDLETICS UPDATE: SUP has its day in the ‘Supreme Court of sport’ as the ISA vs. ICF saga continues

Remember that whole political saga surrounding the fight to get SUP into the Olympics? The one between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and International Canoe Federation (ICF) over who has “control” of Olympic paddleboarding?

The one I referred to last year as the selfish parents debate — a story that even made the New York Times (as well as some great April Fool’s joke material).

Paddletics.   → READ MORE

WATCH: Connor, Zane weigh in on the Olympic debate

Seems like it’s the month for paddletics.

First I posted about the ISA’s last-minute decision to host a World Championship in El Salvador next month, a move that left many paddlers scratching their heads. Then just last week it was revealed that several top athletes would be competing at the inaugural ICF Worlds in China. Oh and the whole political shit-fight apparently had its day in court in Switzerland recently.

Now we get to hear some unfiltered views from a couple of the top athletes about the whole idea of paddleboarding in the Olympics and which federation would best serve the sport. Connor Baxter and Zane Schweitzer chatted with Mike Jucker from Stand Up Magazin on Maui recently. Mike has been pushing this debate forward better than just about anyone, and he always tries to get an unbiased look at what’s happening.

The entire video is well worth a watch but if you want the quick summary: The paddlers think both federations need to lift their game.

The big-wave racing extravaganza ‘Red Bull Heavy Water’ has been called on for this Friday

Red Bull Heavy Water (Balazs Gardi/Red Bull Content Pool)

In brief: The big-wave destruction derby race known as ‘Red Bull Heavy Water’ has been called on for this Friday, October 18 after conditions were deemed gnarly enough to run what is arguably the most extreme event in the sport.

A few dozen bold paddlers will take to the waters off San Francisco’s Ocean Beach for an event that is part-race, part-battle for survival in a quest for a share of the $75k prize purse.

Such a record-level of prize money is sure to attract plenty of top talent, led by defending champ Casper Steinfath and for the first time also including female paddlers after last year’s “Paddle for Equality” protest.

The race is set for 10am Friday California time so look for updates and results on Friday afternoon.

The ICF Worlds are shaping up to be a pretty big deal as top athletes sign on (…but I still have a few questions)

As soon as the International Canoe Federation (ICF) announced it would be hosting a SUP World Championship in China this year, the messages started hitting my inbox.

“Who’s going?” “You reckon everyone will support it?” “Is such and such racing?” “Should I go?”

While running a successful SUP race involves far more than simply attracting a few big names, it certainly is one of the easier metrics to gauge interest in an event–especially when that event is billed as a “world championship.”

With the inaugural ICF Worlds just 10 days away (Oct 25-27), we can finally start to answer that question. As of last week, entries for the ICF SUP World Championships stood at 122 athletes from 35 nations.   → READ MORE

The sport lives on in SoCal: ‘Dana Point Harbor Hoot’ is carrying the torch for the original home of SUP

While many of us got misty-eyed and nostalgic over the BOP anniversary last week, some might have been left wondering whether or not the SUP scene was still alive in Southern California. While there are still a string of local events, we haven’t heard much out of Dana Point — the “spiritual home” of the sport since 2008 — after the BOP’s successor the Pacific Paddle Games was put on ice earlier this year.

But Dana Point ain’t done yet, and neither are many of the original paddlers that helped light the flame over a decade ago.   → READ MORE

WATCH: Beautiful recap of the unique new “Paradise Race” from the Alpine Lakes Tour

Here’s a beautiful recap from the latest round of the Alpine Lakes Tour in Europe.

A few weeks ago, the Tour premiered a new concept called the “Alpine Paradise Race” high up in the Italian Alps. Competitors had to hike through the wilderness just to get to the start line, with the pre- and post-race festivities taking place in a mountain refuge hut.   → READ MORE

Foil vid of the week: “Downwind Danger Zone” 😂

Jeremy Riggs or Tom Cruise? Check out this great little clip from one of Maui’s original downwind supremos and now a fully-fledged foil fanatic. Filmed recently along the classic “Kihei” downwind run on Maui’s south side.

Must be watched with sound on 😂

(If you don’t get it, you’re too young.)

WATCH: “That” wave from the BOP Salt Creek (five years ago today)

It’s exactly five years to the day since the Battle of the Paddle took over Salt Creek and gave us one of the most memorable races in the sport’s history.

After I posted that flashback photo this morning, I dug through the archives and found the video of the same wave. Oh the carnage.   → READ MORE

FLASHBACK: The crazy “Battle of the Paddle” at Salt Creek was exactly five years ago today

Giving new meaning to the term “Flashback Friday,” today marks the fifth anniversary of perhaps the most famous (or infamous) race in the history of SUP.

The Battle of the Paddle at Salt Creek was one for the ages. Not only was it the final edition of the event that single-handedly kickstarted the sport but it was also held in some of the craziest conditions we’ve ever seen.

There was carnage, there was chaos and there was no shortage of drama as perfectly-clean, six-foot swell rolled through Salt Creek in Southern California on the weekend of October 4th and 5th, 2015. Virtually every single top athlete in the sport was there and a good chunk of them are in this photo.    → READ MORE