For those who have paid attention to the blog posts for the last couple of months, you’ll have seen the surfski training I’ve been doing and writing about. The opportunity to test out that training came up with the 6 mile Deception Pass Dash on December 11th down on Whidbey Island, Washington.
I had been to Deception Pass just as a tourist to visit, and driven over the very high bridge that goes over where we’d be paddling. I’m not scared of moving water…but what I had seen before did make me a bit nervous! This video shows how strong the currents can get through the pass. Scary.
However, I had been assured by Mike D that they arrange the race for when the current is not so strong, and this proved to be so. The most challenging part of the 10km course was around the first island, where side-swiping waves threatened to tip the Epic V8 Surfski I was paddling, however it is such a stable beast that I kept my seat and paddled past to the calmer waters beyond. The 100+ field spread out after the island, and it was awesome to see so many sea kayakers, OC1s and paddleboards around.
The water itself was gorgeous – really turquoise even in the overcast weather. AND – crucially, it wasn’t too cold. I was wearing my Kokatat Lightweight Paddling Suit which kept me toasty – perhaps a bit too toasty but I knew that if I did go in that I would be grateful for keeping dry. I did ditch the pogies and toque that I warmed up in though, and after I did get warm, I stayed warm.
One of the other great things about the paddle was all the people in support boats around you! There were sea kayakers and motor boats all close enough to help should you need it, and to cheer you on if you looked like you were struggling. It made me proud to be part of such a supportive community. I was REALLY pleased with my 10th place finish, and time of 1 hour 3 minutes. Mike was just behind on his 14′ SUP in 1 hour 6. We felt good at our strong representation of the Deep Cove racers!!
Thanks to Outdoor Adventures for putting on such a great race, and such a delicious post-race pulled pork meal too! Just what you needed to warm up. I’m definitely planning on being back next year to race, and to try to beat my race time for this year. And for more pulled pork.