When it comes to Stand Up Paddleboard races, Red Bull’s Heavy Water is undoubtedly the most difficult on the APP World Tour. On October 20th, it showed the world why, and Danish Red Bull paddler Casper Steinfath showed the world why he’s one of the toughest competitors in the game.
The race is 7.5 miles long and starts at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, where the waves were massive. “Nineteen world-class athletes started in the 7.5mile (12km) SUP race that began in the impressive triple overhead surf at Ocean Beach, off the coast of San Francisco,” reads the release. “It wove around tumultuous waters of Lands End, under the Golden Gate Bridge and through the heavily current-affected San Francisco Bay, emerging at St. Francis Yacht Club. 14 athletes completed the demanding race, showing true displays of determination and athletic ability to come out victorious.”
Casper Steinfath, who placed fourth in the event last year, finished in one hour and 15 minutes. He took the lead early and managed to hold onto it until he hit the finish line. “I definitely had motivation coming here and I wanted to improve and learn from my mistakes last year,” said Steinfath. “I was aiming for the podium but I treated it more like an ultimate challenge against Mother Nature.”
Heavy Water also saw the crowning of a world champion. At the outset of the event, Steinfath was in third place in the APP Racing World Championship standings while Hawaii’s Mo Freitas and Connor Baxter were tied for first. With results from today’s race tallied, the ultimate 2017 APP Racing World Championship was awarded to Connor Baxter.
“We are ecstatic to have this epic event wrap up the 2017 APP Racing World Championship – this year’s Red Bull Heavy Water really asserted the name ‘Heavy Water’,” said Tristan Boxford, CEO of the Waterman League. “First and foremost, we chose some pretty spectacular conditions to run in, essentially the first big swell of the year, so this was without a doubt the toughest race that’s ever been done. We tested the best in the world, and they really came out with flying colors.”
Steinfath, of course, was ecstatic after his win. “The waves were so solid out there, the sets were like 15ft, it was more survival,” he said. “It really is a mix of endurance, sprint and wave skills, and for me, that’s the ultimate challenge. I think the feeling of this race, no matter if you’re dropping down a big wave or getting a big wave in your head, is alive. You feel really alive because you’re dealing with the elements right there in front of you.”