[ This article is part of a series of Race Previews where we spotlight and showcase different racing opportunities for us to enjoy. ]
With a storied history, the WaveChaser Series is a wonderful part of the NorCal Race scene. Much like the SoCal Winter Racing Series, this group of races lasts from Fall until Spring, and gives paddlers the chance to race each other at various locations. With multiple courses at each to ensure each paddler has something they can tackle, you can't go wrong when you register and attend. Plus, the social scene is a big part of the community and you will certainly go home with more friends than when you arrived.
Today we spotlight the Benicia Race. Outrigger Canoe, Surfski, Kayak and SUP categories are offered with 3 courses (Novice, Short and Long). Considered by us to be home waters of "da gorilla", the late, great Charlie Banfield, know that you are sharing some sacred waters with your paddle family out there. Plus for those of you not from NorCal, the Carquinez Strait funnels a ton of water. It is where the Sacramento River narrows and joins the upper San Francisco Bay. Based on the flow, your speed in one direction is not guaranteed to be the same in the other. :) If conditions are right, get ready for a fun ride! Also keep in mind shipping boats may be present. They tend to be bigger than us. Also keep an eye out for really pretty scenery as there are protected wetlands and coastal bluffs all around.
Course Maps and Info
NOVICE Race Start 9:00 AM. Approx. 3 miles. $18 pp.*
No age divisions except for Juniors.
SHORT Race Start 10:00 AM (or after Novice race finishes) Approx. 5 miles.
$33 pp or $18 pp for Juniors*. No age divisions except for Juniors.
LONG Race Start 12:00 PM (or after Short race finishes). Approx. 10-12 miles.
$33 pp or $18 pp for Juniors*.
Know the tides, but specifically check the currents and wind that day. With 4 rivers dumping into our area (Petaluma, Napa, Sacramento and San Joaquin) a heavy rain will impact the Carquinez Straits despite what your app might say.
“9am at the green can” was Charlie’s “thing”. Be there or get left behind! 😆
Hint: If you are waiting by the buoy see if you can spot a small "gorilla sticker" placed by one of us.
Long course: Based upon the currents and winds, use the Green Can to "mark your line".
The race organizers know rough water, and the bay can certainly be challenging. Therefore they are strict about safety and we applaud their efforts. All racers are required to wear a PFD and carry a Wavechaser-issued Storm whistle. $3pp added to reg fee for whistle and to be issued at check-in. Leash recommended.
Location and Parking
There is plenty of parking, but please save the trailer parking to the locals who are fishing : Ninth Street Park Benicia, CA 94510
Remember to pre-register! Doing so helps the race coordinators keep to schedule and helps the registration check-in volunteers.
* Avoid a late fee of $10 for registering on race day. If you register in advance and then choose not to race, we will refund your registration (less Paypal fee) or receive a credit for future race. How cool of them is that?
Per the website, it is cash only on race day.
2018 Registration and Information Links:
- Long course: https://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=155412
- Short course: https://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=155411
- Novice course: https://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=155421
- WaveChaser On Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/WavechaserNorCal/
Team Writer Amy Marshall - Amy and her family epitomize the aloha spirit in the NorCal paddle scene. You can find her in Benicia launching any paddle craft she can pry out of her two paddle daughters' grasp, and traveling the region to support the WaveChaser and NCOCA paddle seasons.