Back in July I met Stephen Pugh from Bluerush Boardsports at the Molokai to Oahu race.  Stephen had sponsored my friend Jeff Chang and his team and was riding along for the adventure (you can read about it here).  The night before the race, he was telling me all about the Battle of the Bay, a standup paddle race that he was planning on hosing in San Fransisco at the end of October.  Not wanting to be left out, I started working with him on a way to get out to it, and I am so glad that I did.

Stephen on the left and Barrett on the right

Held at Mc Nears Beach in San Fransisco, the Battle of the Bay had something for everyone.  There were exhibitors, open, kids and SUP surf class races, a relay, and an elite race that drew some of the sports big names.  On the men’s side, guys like Chuck Patterson, Jay Wild and Dan Gavere showed up and some formidable women were there as well.  To be honest,  I went in to this race not expecting it to be as competitive as it was.  It was fun though, to be able to race such a stacked field of competitors including Krisztina Zur (the Hungarian wonder child ha ha), Jenny Kalmbach (you can read her race recap here), Gillian Gibree (who, had promised me she wouldn’t be there and hadn’t been training.  I ended up staring at her butt for quite a bit of time during the race), Karen Wrenn and Talia Gangini.  In retrospect, I probably should have spent a bit more time training and a little less time surfing in the weeks leading up to this, but I digress…

In addition to the competition factor, the elite course itself was challenging.  It covered four laps of numerous buoy turns; and any time that you throw buoy turns into a race, things tend to get interesting.  It seems that most people are fairly proficient at paddling in a straight line, but things sometimes get ugly when people are pivoting around a buoy.  The ability to turn around in a timely manner will make or break a race, and it gets difficult when you are trying to turn at the same time as 6 other people.  It’s all fun though, and these types of races make for really fun spectating.  Click Here for  full results from the race… and Click Here for the official event recap.

Negotiating the buoy turns

After all of the races were over, everyone had the opportunity to hang out and have a good day by the water at Mc Nears Beach.  San Fransisco offered up perfect fall weather that felt more like summer, and I don’t think that anyone stopped smiling throughout the day.  I was so impressed by how smoothly the event was run and how much fun everyone was having, I absolutely can’t wait to get back for this one next year.  I want to thank Stephen Pugh so much for making this race possible for me.  I had such a great time in San Fransisco, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without his generous support.  I want to take a minute to thank Duke and Sean from Surftech for bringing me one of the Carbon BARK Competitiors.  I wouldn’t have had the chance to compete without you guys.  As always, thanks for a fun day of paddling and hanging out and I appreciate it whenever I have the chance to spend some time with you both and am so glad you were able to make the drive up from Santa Cruz.  I hope to see you both again soon!

Sean is the best, and not just because he brought the beer.

Duke chillin with the ladies at the race.

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