User login

Casper Steinfath and Terrene Black Win the 2019 Red Bull Heavy Water Titles

It’s a wrap! The 3rd edition (4th year) of Red Bull Heavy Water on the 2019 APP World Tour Schedule did not disappoint. Giant surf arrived, coupled with an aggressive flood tide and fog almost completely whiting out the course at some points made for one of the most intense and gnarly race courses ever seen.

The day dawned bright, beautiful and big, with absolutely no wind: the perfect scenario for Red Bull Heavy Water and vindication for the expert forecasting Team led by Grant Washburn and powered by Official Partner of this year’s Red Bull Heavy Water, Sofar Ocean, who perfectly predicted what we saw.

Once the race got underway at Aquatic Park, the tide proved far more of a challenge than anticipated, coupled with an increase in wind and arrival of thick fog, notorious for San Francisco over the Summer months, but treacherous for Red Bull Heavy Water athletes and the APP’s expert Safety Teams, whiting out much of the Race Course.

In a show of courage and determination, the World’s Best grit their teeth and charged on, taking on everything that Mother Nature had to offer and turning it into a survival of the fittest (and bravest) out in what can only be termed as a wild Ocean, further defining the term, “Heavy Water”.

Red Bull Heavy Water, a highlight on the pro Standup Paddleboard circuit, returned to San Francisco on Friday October 18th, after a cancellation in 2018 due to unfavorable weather conditions. Ideal conditions of over 10ft waves were called early in the weather window of Oct 15 – Nov 7, and athletes from all over the world descended on the Bay Area in anticipation of an event for the history books.

The Men’s title was claimed for the second straight time by pro paddler Casper Steinfath, 26, of Klitmøller, Denmark, an area he likes to call, “Cold Hawaii.” Trailing race leaders Mo Freitas and Connor Baxter for most of the race, Steinfath was nearly 400 meters behind when the paddlers reached the pounding surf at Ocean Beach, where 10 – 15 foot waves were obscured by a dense fog.

“I wanted to conserve energy, for sure. I’m a sprinter, not a long-distance racer,” said Steinfath. “This race is all about keeping your head calm, because we literally couldn’t see the set waves. I’m still in shock. This is by far the wildest and craziest race in the world, and I wish there were more of them.”

This year marked the first time women paddled in the competition, and from the starting gun, North Carolina native April Zilg, current World #2, comfortably led the five-women field, arriving at the beach first. While competition was called off due to deteriorating conditions before they could finish, it was Australian Terrene Black who had made the most headway, to break through the seemingly impenetrable surf at Ocean Beach to be awarded 1st place by Race Officials.

Given the commitment and fortitude of the remaining women taking part, it was deemed appropriate to share the remaining purse equally.