Using SCUBA For Kayak Rolling Practice
4th Annual Deception Pass Dash (2009) Video

Highlights from the 2009 Deception Pass Dash


A huge crowd showed up for the 4th Annual Deception Pass Dash this year -- 158 paddlers! Conditions were totally calm. No wind. There wasn’t much current to deal with going through the Pass either, even though the max ebb later in the day was predicted at −7.3 knots.


I finished with my best time ever: 62 min 47 sec for the 6 nm course! The secret is my Epic 18X Ultra kayak and wing paddle combination. Conditioning helps, obviously. I guess all that training I did over the past year did some good after all. I also had to get used to using a feathered wing blade after using a Greenland paddle exclusively for years.


The trick for me in the race was to find someone just a little faster than me to draft behind. I played that game from the very beginning. When you have it tuned just right you just glide behind the person in front of you with little effort. The challenge is keeping on course. It’s natural to focus your attention on their stern the whole time but I think it's better to watch their bow because it will give you a better idea of which direction they are headed. Sometimes they'll try to suddenly speed ahead and shake you off. Other times they’ll just stop to take their hat or gloves off and you have to swerve to keep from crashing into them.


Check out the stand up paddle board dude with the big hair! A couple guys who completed the race soon after I did had been kneeling on their boards and using their hands the whole time. Impressive, sure, but if you aren't using a paddle does it really qualify as a “paddlesport”?


I got to meet President of Epic Kayaks, Greg Barton. He finished in 46 min 24 sec and won the race. Of course I gushed all about how much I love my Epic. He told me that the long awaited new Epic Track Master Plus steering system with the pivoting stern and deployable secondary rudder will be available very soon, maybe in a couple weeks! I can’t wait to get the kit and retrofit my kayak with it. When I was out a week ago paddling off of Point Defiance in some rough water with the Kayak Academy crowd, George Gronseth said that my rudder was out of the water much of the time.


Sterling Donalson was there showing off his latest Illusion design. Sterling lowered the deck behind the cockpit to make layback rolls easier. It makes a ridiculously easy to roll kayak even easier. He also located the skeg right behind the cockpit. The skeg box sits to the left of the day hatch compartment. The bulkhead separating the day hatch compartment from the aft compartment is actually “L”− shaped. It’s a beautiful design.


Stay tuned, video to follow!



darrell j bednark

In surfing you paddle out,this is hands
only always has been always will be,
in ancient hawaii paddle board races were
common again using hands only. paddleboarding on a paddleboard is actually a paddlesport,an artificial paddling
device ie paddle is not necessary to this

darrell j bednark

the other "guy' on a paddleboard(guess we
will have to change the name since you don't think thats what they are) is the founder of the dash. go to and check out the sport a
little more before dismissing it so easily.

Stop being a Groupie

Are you the biggest PNW kayak groupie or what?! Do you just follow around all of the good paddlers & manufacturers??

Geezuz, dude- stop taking classes, and go and learn how to paddle FOR YOURSELF.

You can't read what the water is telling you if you're being a loser and drafting. Back off- open your eyes- see the currents, listen to the winds, read the tides...

Your approach to paddling is to be a Follower. Stop. Try being a Leader.

Dave Desertspring

Wow, the posts above sure are in the spirit...NOT! I enjoyed your photos and am looking forward to the video. Let's circumnavigate Fox Island one of these weekends!
Dave DS

Chuck Curry

Thanks for posting your pics and writing up your experiences at the Dash this year--I enjoyed both! Have fun on the water!!

Beau Whitehead

It's all about having fun on the water, wether you paddle with your hands or a paddle.
It's a lot easier to feel connected to the ocean and nature when you aren't sealed up in your protective fiberglass capsule inside your hermetically (sp?) sealed dry-suit, with every safety gizzmo ever invented strapped to yourself (-:
Great race to everyone, no matter what you paddled.
Or pedaled for that matter.


I want to apologize for offending the paddleboarding community. It wasn't my intent to be dismissive of the sport. It was only an attempt at humor. Having tried a stand up paddleboard on flatwater I know it's a lot of work and takes a great deal of skill. I have the utmost respect for everyone who raced with a paddleboard standing up or prone in the Dash, even if you were wearing a clown wig.

darrell j bednark

Sorry i missed the humor,sometimes it
doesn't come across like we would hope,
try that smiley thing like Beau!
Some paddleboard races allow drafting,
some don't, it's a race strategy combined
with skill and water knowledge is all.
If its allowed use it if not don,t.
Anonomous posts are wussy.

Nadja Baker

"It's a lot easier to feel connected to the ocean and nature when you aren't sealed up in your protective fiberglass capsule inside your hermetically (sp?) sealed dry-suit, with every safety gizzmo ever invented strapped to yourself"

- Gee, Beau doesn't come across egotistically condescending at all.

Way to be an "ambassador" of a new sport- NOT.

Get over yourself dude. Self-promotion does not equal talent.

If you don't want to get sh*t from the Kayaking community- don't come to a kayak race wearing shirts dissin' kayaks

And don't continue to knock Kayakers- one of these days, we could be saving your life.

John Flynn

congrats on besting your own time last year Andrew! I was just happy to finish the race this year thx to the flat conditions. And oh yeah, I drafted too but lost my ride at Strawberry Island.
John (shameless drafter)
ps Even sprint clubs practice drafting (and its NOT legal in sprints). It is an acquired skill, and ain't easy if you're slipping a boat that's a lot faster.

Darth Vader

Wow so glad I live on the coast away from you kooks. No wonder you get no respect when you come out here. You don't deserve any. Really? Going back and forth on the internet about a paddle or no paddle? Really? Wow.

Get a life. Have fun in you flat lame attempt at whatever it is your doing. Please stay inland where you belong.

steel water bottle

It looks like you had a lot of fun. I love kayaks, it is a hard sport but very satisfying with great views. I just wonder if it was not cold there?

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