If you like cold feet and long bus trips, you’ll love going to Alaska on an SUP.
FULL RACE- Port Townsend to Ketchikan
Team name: Team Heart of Gold
Team captain: Karl Kruger
Race vessel: 19? SUP
BIO: You might think that the bravest person in the R2AK is the guy who enters on a stand up paddleboard. You’d be wrong. The bravest person is our insurance guy. Imagine being in his office when we called to tell him about Team Heart of Gold:
“Hi guys, how’s the race shaping up? Hey, I’m not too proud to admit I’ve been getting ready for the race by stocking up on mylanta and adult diapers– I had no idea how much of that stuff I burned through last year but thank god Amazon delivers- am I right?
(Laughs, wonders if he told them that one already)
“The whole office was on the edge of their seats for weeks- never thought we’d get coverage again…you owe me a serious high-five for that one. Anyway, what’s up?”
(Listens, body sinks into his chair, blankly produces the bottle from his desk drawer)
“Really. A stand up paddleboard?”
(Runs his finger down the edge of the framed picture of his family, thinks of better days.)
“OK, I’ll see what I can do…”
(Five years to retirement. I was so close…)
In the anything goes world of the R2AK, teams make compromises all the time; trading off speed for survivability, sacrificing human or wind power to optimize the other. Team Heart of Gold shatters that outdated way of thinking by sacrificing everything to optimize difficulty.
Boat to Alaska? Hard. Engineless? Harder. SUP? Bonkers.
If you are like our insurance guy, right after disbelief came questions: Why would a pro mariner and sailing veteran with a lifetime of epic voyages from San Francisco to Alaska choose an SUP when $10,000 is on the line? Why would the current owner of a 50 foot sailboat choose to downsize so drastically? How do you bring enough water? How do you sleep dry? How did one come to hate their feet enough to keep them wet and cold for 750 miles? Why would you choose something that sounds so miserable? Think of standing for a 750 mile bus trip– sounds horrible and you’re not even making the thing move.
After the questions comes the special kind of awe that is unencumbered by envy. As far as we know this will be the first attempt at the inside passage on an SUP, and while we shudder at the near-apocalyptic scenario in which enough teams perish and Team Heart of Gold wins, whenever he crosses the finish line he will have raised the bar for what we conceive as humanly possible. Altering what an entire species conceives as possible? Impressive stuff delivered on a 19? board.
Welcome to the R2AK Team Heart of Gold, our insurance guy has a policy or two he’d like to talk to you about.