SUP Sunday: Donner Lake Race recap

Over 100 SUP athletes gather to kick off the Tahoe Cup Paddle Racing Series

By Geoff James

Photo of Donner Lake by Tahoe Cup.

Photo of Donner Lake by Tahoe Cup.

I ran up to Tahoe for the Tahoe Cup on Donner Lake yesterday (Saturday) and encountered chilly, rainy but a calm lake to race on. Heading in to my fifth or sixth year of racing in the Tahoe Cup Memorial Weekend Race on Donner Lake, I am always ready for inclement weather. Memorial Day does not guarantee sunny and warm weather especially in Tahoe. In past years I have raced this race in the rain, chilling cold, wind and yes, one year it snowed. This year a little drizzle was not going to stop 109 paddle athletes from racing the 5 mile course on Donner Lake. Phil Segal, the organizer of the Tahoe Cup 3 Race Paddle Series in Tahoe is an absolute expert at putting the Memorial Weekend Paddle Race on every year even when he is dealt unseasonal weather.

Donner Lake delivered mostly calm, flat conditions for race morning although about 20 minutes into the race we did receive a sprinkle of rain. Given that the Donner Lake Race is the first stop of the Tahoe Cup Series, it’s often referred to as the opening of the summer paddle racing season in the Tahoe Area. Hence, this is why many paddlers make the Tahoe Cup Donner Paddle Race their first race of the paddling season.

A full race report will be written about the Donner Race on supcurrents.com in the coming days, but lets just say the race finish times just keep getting faster every years. Here are the top overall men and woman: Rand Carter of Tahoe Vista won the race in 42:37 on an Unlimited SUP Race board with Keith McConnaughay of Santa Cruz in second place (43:35) on a 14ft SUP race board with Jay Wild from Truckee placing 3rd overall with a time of 43:55 on a 14ft SUP Race Board. In the women’s class Jen Fuller from Sausalito on a 12’6” SUP Race Board won with with a time of 48:39, second place women’s finisher was Anik Wild from Truckee with a time of 49:12 and third place went to Nina Oakley from Reno with time of 50:09. Full results are here.

Photo: Tahoe Cup

Photo: Tahoe Cup

SUP Sunday would not be complete with a mention of the California 100 paddle and race that took place today, Sunday May 24. For those unfamiliar with the Cal 100, it’s a 100 mile paddle from Redding to Chico on the Sacramento River put on by Rivers for Change. Stay tuned for a full race report on the California 100 to be posted soon. Results and info here.


Geoff James is the founder of SUP Currents, a website dedicated to reporting on all things SUP in Northern California.

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