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Team Clif Bar Blog
Aug 27, 2007
Brent Allent takes on the "officially unofficial" Pier2Pier

Brent gets fishy...Dylan’s out of the office on vacay, so I’ve taken it upon myself to update with what’s happening out in the wide world of Team Clif Bar. This race report comes from Brent Allen, who took a dip in the Pacific Ocean to race in the "officially unoffical Pier2Pier paddle board event" a few weeks ago. I tried to find more about the race, but couldn’t—figures, given that it’s technically unofficial. Here’s what Brent had to say:

For the past 14 years there has been an "officially unofficial Pier2Pier paddle board event" that falls on Saturday the weekend of the huge Wharf2Wharf running race that is the following day.

The paddle begins at 8:00am on the east side of the Santa Cruz wharf  (water start) and ends at the Capitola Wharf (approximate distance 4.7 miles). If you’re not familiar where this is located on the planet: Santa Cruz, CA -Capitola, CA; Central California; surfing Mecca; about 1-hour south of San Francisco.

I came out with a friend 2 years ago and followed along in a 2-man kayak to take pictures of our buddy (Doc Waddel) who was doing the event on a 10-ft board. I remember thinking, wow 5 miles of paddling on a 10-ft. surfboard would be tough. This year my schedule worked out for me to participate in the event.

Note: I have been competing in endurance/multisport events since 1994. The longest distance I had ever paddled in a event was 2 miles prior to the Pier2Pier.

Doc let me use a 11’6" balsa laminate paddleboard he had shaped , while he used a 10-ft balsa laminate (they look like old school balsa boards). When I came out 2 years ago I think there were maybe 25 participants; this year I counted upward of 50 +. It was like a  cool car show , but with paddleboards every shape ,size, and design. There where 10-ft sponge boards, state of the art 18-ft unlimited paddleboards, stand up paddleboards—you name it.

The water temp was about 62 degrees/Air 70 degrees and apparel was simple TYR Jammers, Patagonia Board shorts, Patagonia Rash Guard, Team Clif Bar hat and Brave Solider Sun Screen. Believe me, most all of the time getting in the water to surf always includes a 4/3 full wetsuit/ 3mm booties in this part of California with water temp 52/56 degrees.

Basically everyone entered the water and paddled to a start point. The Horn went off and let the paddling commence. Having competed in so many events where your legs are the means of forward motion, switching to the upper body for endurance racing was an interesting change. It was a great experience to see things from sea level  over a 5-mile stretch. It is an interesting view of some of the well known surf breaks as you paddle by Pleasure Point and the Hook. Even the surfers in the line up were impressed as we paddled by on the way outside.

It took me an hour and six minutes to cover the distance, using several ways of forward progress (laying out flat paddling , moving up to knee paddle, switching arms i.e. stroke 10 times with the right arm-stroke 10 times with the left arm -paddle 20 strokes with both etc).


And finally, lessons I learned while out on the water:

  • I was reminded of how much I missed basic grassroots events. For example, the email regarding the paddle read: The 14th Annual officially unofficial Pier2Pier Paddleboard Event—no fees, no t-shirts, no trophies, no food (no sponsors or liability either), but always the potential for serious bragging rights.

  • It reminded me of the simple statement "when was the last time you did something for the first time?"

  • It’s hard to try to pee while paddling.

  • It never fails that I meet people that are interesting and have lived life from the older generation (I’m 42).

  • Actual paddleboards (designed for said activity) go much farther/faster with fewer strokes—like the person in front of me that maintained a 50-yard lead yet never seemed to even be paddling.

  • Move toward things that get you out of your comfort zone in moderation.

  • Participate in Life!

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