It was truly a battle in fractions of seconds at the 2014 Terrapin Crossroads Long Strange Trip Paddle Race.(All photos Ron Steinau)

Paddle race fleet 2014 lst

terrapin crossroads supports paddleboarding

What a day! With rain all week it was looking like it may be a wet 13 mile race. The weather gods however shined upon us with near windless conditions and a 3 knot floot tide it was as close to a magic carpet ride as you'll ever see on San Francisco Bay. The starting line at San Francisco's Horseshoe Cove was lake like with nothing but mirror flat waters between the racers and their San Rafael finish line here at the 101 Surf Sports Shop.

Today's event was the third annual and by far the most tame in the series. The two prior affairs consisted of big time down-winders in truly winter like temps. By contrast todays paddlers were greeted with balmy 63 degree temps and peekaboo sunshine. As usual the safety factor was front and center and the fleet was well chaperoned. With two protectors courtesy of Mark Guelf and Marcel Houtzager a quick response was a flick of the throttle away. Passage Yachts came through big time with a simply gorgeous Benetau motor yacht running sweeper duties. Helmed by Passage's Dana Paul the fleet was in good hands. Local Paddleboard Tour operator Drew Testwuide on the Barbary Ghost not only escorted during the race but also played water taxi shuttling party goers to and from Terrapin and the 101 shop.


Passage Yachts Supports Paddle SportsTop honors on the day came down to a mere fraction of seconds across multiple divisions. A .9 second difference after over 90 minutes of paddling separated the top two in the fight for line honors. And it was the surfski of Frank Perroneto just barely getting the better of Cory Fitzgibbons to get it done. It was a strong contingent of OC-1 and OC-2's on the water that saw Helen Gallagher and John Green bringing it home first for the two man boats and Charlie Banfield doing likewise for the one man boats overall. On the ladies side of the business it was the 12'6" SUP of Jen Fuller and the OC-1 of Priscilla Mckenney taking the respective division wins. Props has to go out our resident Outrigger Canoe Club He'e Nalu. Friday night the club paddled the six man canoe the opposite direction to the starting line just so a second crew could bring it on back.

We saw some thrilling finishes on the day. While the Perronetto Fitgibbons battle was thriller it was rivaled by battle for the top men's OC-1 spot. The crowd was cheering hard as Tim Cogliandro and Jeff Kay locked horns in a 500 meter neck and neck battle to take it down. Kay had just a bit more left in the gas tank over the last 50 feet bettering Cogliandro by just over one second. A similar engagement played out as Mark Kappa simply broke the will of Brian Thomas to win the 14 prone division again with just over a one second delta between the 2 paddlers.

Top 3 women paddleboarders Shanna Upton, Jessica Fewless, and Mimi Towle

The crowd favorite however was the effort put in by Bojan Benard to break the two hour barrier on his 14' SUP. With the clock racing towards two hours the on-looking spectators were willing Benard to put the hammer down. And hammer he did putting in a spectacular finish line effort clocking in at 1:59.57.5! That 2.5 seconds makes him the first ever to go sub two hours. Nice job BB!

Paddle of the day honors have to go to Shanna Upton and Geoff Sears. Upton took her SIC 12'6 Bullet to a second place finish in her first ever SUP race throwing in an other-worldy 2:33 time. Put this girl on a race board and watch out - NICE! Geoff Sears exemplified the spirit of the 101 Surf Sports race scene putting in a scintillating 2 hour and 10 minute effort in his vintage Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro – Oh My! Just grab what you got and get out there people. (pictured l-r Shanna Upton, Jessica Fewless,  and Mimi Towle)

Whole Foods market supports paddle sports!

The off the water activity on the day was simply off the hook. Event title Sponsor Terrapin Crossroads laid down the red carpet. We are talking napkins and china folks! Don't get used to that. The 3 local Whole Foods Markets in San Rafael, on Miller Avenue in Mill Valley, and on Blythedale chipped in to lay out a simply sumptuous spread. You can get used to that as they do it every time – Thanks Whole Foods. With Marin Brewing Company suds providing the lubrication the Mamie's Pies and Three Twins Ice Cream were sliding down pretty easy. Kind Bar jumped in to the deep end of the pool with their support with more bars than the racers could handle. As usual the Hint Water was on an open spigot and hydration was had by all. O'Neill Wetsuits and Carve designs amped up the prize table big time. Support the businesses that support the sport.

whole foods supports paddleboarding

The day simply wouldn't have happened without the help from all the volunteers. Thanks again to all our support boats and a shout out to Alan for skippering yet again the Guelfi protector on yet another adventure. Luc Cary was first mate on the Barbary Ghost while his mom Sarah manned the grill. The trusty eyes of Renee Hoyer-Nielsen helped make the finish line duties smooth as silk. Thanks to OnBoard SUP Yoga's Leigh Claxton & SUP Currents Geoff James Sprinter in the quest to move both boards and bodies to the starting line. A special thanks to Ron Steinau as well for all the stellar photography. See the day's photo gallery by clicking here.

As for some upcoming events don't forget the trash pickup sponsored by Jen Fuller next Saturday December 13th at Dunphy Park. Bring your paddleboard and give a little back by making the bay a cleaner place. More info click here.

send it foundation helps folks fight cancerThe next race in the Whole Foods Market paddle race series is a charitable affair. All proceeds from the day will be going to the Send It Foundation. The foundation celebrates the memory of local boy Jamie Schou by inspring positivity, courage, and gratitude in young adult cancer fighters through the gift of outdoor adventure and community. Learn more about Send it by clicking here.  Racing is set for January 17th. For safety reasons we do need to limit the events to 101 people so PLEASE sign up on line or risk losing out on the fun. Click here to sign up.

Thanks again to everyone who paddled. Definitely a special day shared with the some special people. Paddle on.

Complete Results

Photo Gallery (Ron Steinau)

Race #4 - January 17th Race Registration Click Here

Race #5 - Saturday February 14th Click Here Click Here

Race #6 - Saturday March 7th Marin Brewing Company San Quentin Break-Out Click Here Click Here

Support the businesses that support the sport


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