G. Niblock on the L41 TipSUP Noserider. Photo: J. Chandler

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Inaugural Covewater Classic Astounds

The inaugural and first ever Covewater Classic SUP races was an astounding success. Mega kudos to Scott and Leslie Ruble for creating this event which was enjoyed by over 80 participants in one of the best venues our state has to offer.

Capitola-By-The-Sea, the name this little classic beachside community has been marketed under since the town's inception over a hundred years ago, is perhaps the perfect SUP venue. Located deep in the Monterey Bay there is something for everyone. Surf? Got it. An esplanade with great restaurants and bars? Got it. Shopping for those not surfing or SUPing? Got it. A clean, huge, well groomed beach for the kids to play on? Got the ton. Deciding on Capitola for this contest (and for the Jay too for that matter) was simply a stroke of genius.

But the real award goes to Scott, Leslie and Surftech (the Jay and Covewater Classic corporate sponsor) for doing the grunt work that it took to secure all the permissions needed to use Capitola for a contest site. Just getting the nod from Fish and Game to use Soquel Creek could get Scott elected to higher office. Not that he'd want it.

From set-up to tear-down to after party, the Covewater Classic ran like a perfectly tuned machine. From registration to course instructions, a fast and furious beach start for the 7 and 7.5-mile elite racers, the run through the chicane or the beach run and creek paddle for the elites, the whole contest went down without a hitch. Smooth as Kentucky moonshine with just as much punch.

Conditions started out nearly perfect with a glassy sea surface and barely any wind. But halfway through the long straightaway from the cement ship back to the Capitola Pier, a niggling southwest wind sprang up which only got worse as the day matured. This just threw in an additional challenge by ruffling the formerly glassy water but on the upside gave everyone a bit of a downwind run at the turnaround buoys.

The sun broke through during the final legs of the race and cleared the way for a warm and sunny after party which was enjoyed by the enthusiastic and totally stoked racers, friends and families in "downtown" Capitola.

I think everyone went away happy and satisfied and looking forward to next years race. I know I am cuz the Srfnff even won a second place trophy! Will wonders never cease?

A special thanks to Surftech who have proved to be a model of what a corporate sponsor should be. Surftech is intimately involved in our local area and genuinely cares about the place they live and work and run their business. There are a lot of "mom and pop" surf shops and businesses in Santa Cruz who make up and support the core paddling and surfing family of Santa Cruz. Props to Surftech for jumping right in as an involved and equal partner in our community.


  1. Gary, killer review! Glad you had a good time. It was great seeing you at the 10th Annual Jay Race and the Covewater Classic, and congrats on your success! We love to partner with our local and the greater community in doing things that bring us joy, and make new relationships.

    You should come up to Sacramento in August for A Day at the Beach! We're putting together a bunch of cool paddle events within a festival atmosphere, and its gonna be a blast.

    See ya on the water!
    Sean and Duke

  2. Thanks guys for the kind words. I did indeed have a great time at both events, the Jay and the Covewater. I like hanging out with people who are wearing wall-to-wall smiles and living aloha. Mahalo to you for making it happen. See you at next year's Jay and Covewater for sure. I dare try the ShootOut?!

    Let me right now throw down the challenge, to all my brothers and sisters throughout the SUP world to find themselves in Santa Cruz next March to test themselves against whatever nature has in store. It could be bliss, or it could be head bangin' mutants. Let's find out together. Geev'um!