17th Annual Waterman Challenge

The 17th Annual Waterman Challenge Traditional Paddleboard Race was held on Saturday, June 30th, and Reno and I decided to represent.

Apparently, neither of us took a looked at the sign-up form very closely because, the day before the race, we were horrified to learn that the race STARTED at 7:00 a.m.(?)!  That’s a 3:50 a.m. wake up call to make it down to Encinitas, sign in, and warm up (warm up, right…).

Nevertheless, we made it on time and in good spirits and the weather seemed to be cooperating for a nice paddle — flat water, but not too hot, nor too windy.  We were ready to go.

The start…wasn’t.  We were 40+ paddlers making our way through the kelp when the gun/horn just sort of went off.  Those fortunate enough to be on the outside got a good jump.  The poor folks stuck in the kelp went immediately to the back.  Some, like Reno, would eventually claw their way to the front (he eventually finished 3rd), while others (*ahem*) would stay put for the remainder of the training paddle race.

As I said, the race drama was out in front but not all of between guys on boards.  Apparently, “The Man in The Grey Suit” showed up and took interest in a fast moving paddler.  The water was exceptionally clear on Saturday, so seeing a shark off of the tail of your board would have been akin to seeing it through a dirty sheet of glass — heart stopping no matter how it happens.  I saw a couple of nice yellow tail and was amazed at how pretty it was in La Lolla; perfect diving conditions (if you don’t mind big predators swimming around).  Here’s me doing the look-around for critters 🙂

Reno killed it, I finished, and fun was had by all.

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