The GRWC Davenport Downwinder is perpetually a great event. With a stretch of water that may only be rivaled by the more famous Maliko run in Maui, it is an early season race that could easily be a highlight of the year. The GRWC crew and its stable of volunteers and sponsors put this on to benefit the paddlers and the Santa Cruz Junior Guard program. Their generosity is unrivaled.
The Shearwater team was put up by GRWC member and super family Dave and Jess Benet. As everyone awoke on the morning of the race, overlooking the Pacific, it was exactly that. A heavy fog hung in the air and only the slightest whisper of a breeze puffed over the water. Conditions did not look promising for the highly anticipated down wind run.
Cars lined the Davenport Landing Road and the beach was abuzz with paddlers, boards and anticipation. The 1 o’clock start was delayed to 2 in hopes of a little more wind and the needed timers and as the starting horn sounded 84 competitors sprinted into the pea soup fog and disappeared not to be seen again until passing the Long Marine Lab 11 miles later.
Shearwater team members all had strong showings in the 14 mile race. Nick Franco won the Men’s unlimited prone division (on a new UL prototype) in an all out, neck and neck sprint to the finish with San Diego stud Kyle Smith (MannKine). Josh Pederson had a solid 6th place finish on his Shearwater UL Downwind1 in the same division. Meanwhile Josh Ryan also stood on the podium with a 3rd place finish in the 14’ division on his new Shearwater 14er. All in all a great day for the team and all the competitors. Especially because the wind decided to cooperate making for very fun bump.
And as tradition would have it, there were car bombs for all at the Ideal afterparty. Can’t wait for next year. Thanks GRWC!