SAN FRANCISCO, California - With just two weeks to go until the Holding period officially opens for Red Bull Heavy Water, an Official Stop on the 2016 Stand Up World Series, anticipation is mounting for what will be a dramatic and sensational event in every respect.
- Ocean Beach is famous for its powerful and relentless surf, cold water and intense conditions
- Land's End has been a hotspot for shipwrecks over the past few hundred years, with the currents going in and coming out of the Bay a challenge for even the most experienced seaman
- Fort Point is an iconic surf spot that breaks right under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Bay
The combination of these 3 hazardous obstacles, that stand in the way of a direct shot from Ocean Beach to the St Francis Yacht Club for the Elite 40 athletes, will no doubt create one of the most spectacular races ever witnessed. Check out a preview for the event with words from some of its key contenders in the video below.
Given the tides and surf requirements for the Red Bull Heavy Water event, we anticipate a green light towards the middle to second half of the month, although we will be monitoring conditions closely to ensure we choose the best possible window for this groundbreaking event. The race course will be the most challenging yet and the location, intimidating to say the least, but beyond nature's challenges, the caliber of athletes invited to take part in this all new event format is staggering, so competition will be fiercer than ever before.
As you would expect, Kai Lenny (Naish), multiple times Racing and Surfing World Champions and a favorite in any kind of surf race will be a headliner in this unique event, but he will have his work cut as he comes up against a list of Champions with both talent and proven track records. Here are just a few of the names to watch out for:
- Casper Steinfath (Naish): Current yellow jersey / #1 on the 2016 World Series and looking stronger than ever - for this dynamic Dane, the cold will not be an issue, and his performances so far this year have been mind blowing, so expect great things from the Viking
- Connor Baxter (Starboard): 2014 World Champion and current #2 in 2016 is just inches behind Casper, as he will be looking to take advantage of his exceptional ocean knowledge and abilities to take the yellow jersey for himself here in San Francisco
- Zane Schweitzer (Starboard): while Zane hasn't been as competitive in 2016 as in previous years on the World Series, there is no doubt that he is one of the world's best surf racers, so he will be looking to take advantage of the opening section through Ocean Beach to carry him through to a solid result
- Mo Freitas (Focus SUP): like Zane, Mo is one of the very best surf racers in the world, with catlike reflexes and unparalleled balance. Mo is also on a tear this year, posting serious results and will certainly be one of the favorites coming into this event
- Travis Grant (NSP): well renowned as one of the toughest and most successful paddlers in the world, Travis will be looking to transfer his open ocean skills to navigate the surf and read the bump through to Golden Gate Bridge and into the safety of the Bay - another solid bet here at Red Bull Heavy Water
- Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic): a fierce competitor who put on a stunning performance at the last stop in Germany and is looking fit and strong. He also has fared well against the likes of Kai Lenny and company in surf focused events such as Turtle Bay, so this talented young French athlete will no doubt be a serious contender
- Leonard Nika (Starboard): the Italian Stallion loves surf racing and while Italy isn't known as a hot spot for surf, his time spent in Portugal over the winter time will stand him in good stead in San Francisco, where cold waters and relatively warm air temperatures are normal, together with powerful and unpredictable surf.
- Jake Jensen (Fanatic): Jake is one of the most talented racers on Tour, but has seen his fair share of bad luck over the past year or so, but has always excelled in the Ocean based events such as Huntington Beach and Turtle Bay. With a solid lifesaving competition and surfing background, Jake has all the fundamentals to put on a stellar show in San Francisco
There are so many more talented athletes to mention, from the likes of Australians James Casey (JP Australia), Michael Booth (Starboard), Kelly Margetts and Paul Jackson, to a solid US contingent featuring Slater Trout (Infinity), Josh Riccio (Rogue SUP), Chase Kosterlitz and Noa Hopper, not to mention the likes of Fernando Stalla (Rogue SUP), our Brazilian star Vinnicius Martins (JP Australia) and so many more (see the full list HERE).
Finally, we are expecting some of the most exciting performances from the underground wildcards, as we anticipate breakout performances from the likes of Bullet Obra, Andrew Logreco (SIC Maui) and Bernd Roediger (Naish), all exceptional surfers, but also endurance athletes, as they look to combine their skill sets to make waves in San Francisco. With $50,000 at stake and a staggering $20,000 for the winner, this year's Red Bull Heavy Water will be an event to remember, so make sure to stay tuned for the build up to this historic race over the coming weeks. To learn more about the event, click HERE.