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
Red Bull Heavy Water (Balazs Gardi/Red Bull Content Pool)
In brief: The big-wave destruction derbyrace 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 $75k prize purse.
Such a record-level of prize money is sure to attract plenty of top talent, led by defending champ Casper Steinfath and for the first time also including female paddlers after last year’s “Paddle for Equality” protest.
The race is set for 10am Friday California time so look for updates and results on Friday afternoon.
“It was f#$%ing nuts! I’ve never felt so alive and focused in my life…”
That’s how Casper Steinfath described today’s epic Red Bull Heavy Water race to me shortly after he triumphantly crossed the line in San Francisco Bay, with the Danish Viking surviving massive surf at Ocean Beach to claim victory in what is surely the craziest SUP race ever witnessed.
Casper picked up a record $20,000 prize money after beating home a small but all-star field of paddlers, many of whom didn’t even finish after the event lived up to its name and delivered arguably the biggest waves ever seen in a SUP race. → READ MORE
While the off-season unofficially began two weeks ago at the Pacific Paddle Games closing ceremony, let’s face it: the SUP racing season never really ends. There are still a handful of significant events left on the season schedule between now and xmas, and that includes the second-richest race of the year: Red Bull Heavy Water in San Francisco.
In a format befitting a company company that single-handedly created the energy drink industry before going on to redefine extreme sports coverage, Red Bull Heavy Water will see paddlers race through the waves at San Fran’s iconic Ocean Beach only when the surf hits 10ft. → READ MORE
Connor Baxter took out the much-hyped Red Bull Heavy Water event in San Francisco last week, surviving the solid waves at Ocean Beach to edge out arch-rival Kai Lenny and pick up a record $20,000 prize.
Zane Schweitzer crossed in third to make it a clean sweep for the Maui Boys, with Casper Steinfath having to settle for fourth place. → READ MORE
These are interesting times for the Waterman League. The fledgling company that’s been trying to establish a professional, global racing tour for the past half a decade is now on the brink. On the brink of finally going big, but also on the brink of going totally bust.
For the fourth year in a row, and despite months of promises to the contrary, the Waterman League has begun a new season without having paid for the last one. Athletes are owed tens of thousands of dollars from season 2015, while there are serious doubts about several of the proposed events on the 2016 Stand Up World Series schedule.
But despite all the problems, the Waterman League is confidently talking up a big future. And in some ways they have a good reason to be. Here’s what we know so far… → READ MORE