Red Bull Heavy Water Promises to be the Toughest SUP Race in the World

KaiandIzzi Servias2
Courtesy of Tom Servias

Red Bull is no stranger to putting on tough athletic competitions. From mountain biking to trail running to adventure racing, the company best known for its energy drinks has organized some of the most grueling events imaginable. Later this year, it will also put on one of the toughest stand-up paddleboard races ever conceived as well.

Red Bull Heavy Water will take place at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, California and will pit 36 of the world’s top SUP boarders ––both men and women–– against one another on a course that is tough and demanding. The open route covers 12 km (7.5 miles) and competitors are expected to face 3 meter (10-foot) tall waves while battling the unpredictable weather that is common in the Bay Area.

The course begins in San Francisco Bay with racers paddling out into the open water, and under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Once they have completed the open water crossing, they’ll then turn towards Ocean Beach, where they competition will turn into a surf battle instead with the athletes racing towards the finish line along the shore.

“Red Bull Heavy Water was hands down the most extreme and challenging SUP event I have ever competed in,” 2017 Red Bull Heavy Water champion Casper Steinfath says. “The conditions last year pushed me to new limits both mentally and physically.” 

Now in its third year, the 2018 edition of Heavy Water is attracting an even bigger field of top SUP athletes, including some of the best female paddlers and surfers in the world. Amongst them is Candace Appleby, whom ESPN described as “Abby Wambach, Serena Williams, Brittney Griner and Danica Patrick all rolled into one.” She’ll be joined by the likes of Nicole Pacelli, a top Brazilian SUP racer who plans to be in the San Francisco area the entire month of October to prepare for the event. 
The Red Bull Heavy Water event is scheduled to take place from October 15 – November 2. To find out more, visit the event’s official website
Kraig Becker