The Paddle segment put on by Surftech offered a new twist to the “The Oyster”, what many consider the coolest race you will ever do. Billed as the Ultimate Urban Adventure Race for its uncanny ability to provide pure athleticism with thought-provoking strategy, the course was a carefully guarded secret prior to the event. Oyster Director, Jason Ornstein’s warning “We reserve the right to get you wet”, was the extent of the information teams received regarding the 5th leg of the course being a paddle segment at Crissy Field.
The ‘08 SF Oyster Race required the 58 three and six person teams to engage in a multitude of different activities. Biking, running and skating through S.F along with random stops and challenges lead them to Crissy Field where they faced arguably the most unexpected challenge of the day as a multitude of Surftech’s prone and stand up paddle boards awaited them.
"After completing 4 legs of the race and covering close to 45 miles in overall distance, the Surftech leg of stand up and paddleboarding certainly stood out as one of the favorites,” said Ornstein.
Originally planned as a stand up paddle race, the 20 knot winds created a very challenging 250 yard course. Recognizing the conditions, Surftech broadened the board options, allowing competitors to choose from prone paddleboards as well. With the wind steadily gaining power most teams opted for the 12’ & 14’ Joe Bark traditional paddleboards to paddle the cold and windy course. Other teams got creative, grabbing stand up paddleboards and paddling the course on their knees using a paddle. Competitors equipped with little more than board shorts and t-shirts or spandex triathlete suits, wasted no time braving the frigid San Francisco Bay waters before drying off and completing the last segments of the race.
The unexpected nature of the Surftech leg of the race proved to be resoundingly well received by competitors and event organizers alike. “The Oyster racing series has so many facets to the race and introducing new sports and integrating it into the course is definitely a highlight that our competitors enjoy. They will be talking about this leg of the race all year long and I expect that we got a handful of them hooked on stand up paddling and paddleboarding” remarked Ornstein. “We’re looking forward to seeing how we can include them in more races next year”.
No matter what the Oyster brings, wind, waves, rivers, lakes… Surftech will be ready to push the competitors to their aquatic limits and beyond!