Third Annual Red Bull Heavy Water: World’s Toughest Stand Up Paddling Race


Through the turbulent swells and dicey, unpredictable weather of the Bay Area, Red Bull will host one of the most intense stand up paddling (SUP) events in the world yet again this Fall: The Red Bull Heavy Water. Come October 2018, the Red Bull Heavy Water will take to San Fransisco as one of the official stops on the 2018 Association of Paddlesurf Professionals (APP) World Tour circuit.

In previous years, the race has included a 12km course, starting in Ocean Beach and finishing just past the Golden Gate Bridge. But the 2018 event will see the route reversed. Thirty six of the world’s best stand up paddlers will be taking the starting line near the Marina, paddle into the rough seas and daunting swells around Fort Point and Land’s End, and bring ‘er home through the surf of Ocean Beach.

Kai Lenny of the United States competes at Red Bull Heavy Water Stand Up Paddleboard Race in San Francisco, California, on October 20, 2017.

The Red Bull Heavy Water has some of the most seasoned APP World Tour athletes on their toes. “I can’t say there’s been any event that I’ve been in that resembles Red Bull Heavy Water. It’s such a unique event, you have to be so fit, know how to read waves. You have to have the whole package,” said APP World Tour Surfing Champion Izzi Gomez.

With a race as tough as the Heavy Water, it’s only natural that it’ll be taken on by some of the world’s best standup paddlers. Defending champion of 2017’s event and Danish athlete Casper Steinfath will be racing, along side the likes of 7x World Champion Kai Lenny, Current Racing World Champion Connor Baxter, and US Champion Slater Trout. There will also be a strong female force backed by the winningest SUP athlete Candice Appleby, 2016 Racing and 2017 Overall APP World Champion Fiona Wylde and Izzi Gomez. “I’m really excited because both men and women are racing this year, and Izzi’s going to give me a run for my money,” said Kai Lenny.

In addition to new athletes and a change in course, this year Red Bull and the APP World Tour will be collaborating with Substainable Surf: a California non-profit that aims to protect and restore ocean health by shifting people to a highly desirable, low-carbon, Deep Blue Life. Being a Deep Blue Event™, the Red Bull Heavy Water will not only celebrate the athletes, but also the magnificent venues in which they compete.

The weather window for the event will be from October 15-November 2 and a 7-day orange light alert, followed by a 5-day green light alert will indicate that conditions are optimal for the event to take place.

For more information on the event, go to