SUP Sets New Record in 750-Mile Race 2 Alaska
On the western crown of North America in the tide-swinging inlets of the Inside Passage, a historic SUP voyage just took place.
On June 25, Karl Kruger—a longtime sailor and waterman of the Pacific Northwest based on Orcas Island, Washington—became the first standup paddler to complete the Race 2 Alaska (R2AK)—a 750-mile man-powered expedition race from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska.
Among the 62 teams entered in this year’s race with crews ranging from one to five people on vessels ranging from sea kayaks to row boats to SUPs to trimarans, only 27 teams finished the race. Kruger’s solo team “Heart of Gold” was the only SUP to finish of six in the class.
The completion comes as Kruger’s second SUP attempt in the R2AK, having been forced to abandon his effort last year when the hull of his board cracked and became waterlogged. Finishing this year’s race, a feat that took Kruger 14 days, six hours and 17 minutes paddling an average of roughly 50 miles per day, makes the Washingtonian the first person in paddling history to complete the revered waterman’s race on a SUP. Kruger finished 17th overall on his 17′ custom Bark board, 13 minutes behind a 23-foot trimaran with a two-man crew.
“It was almost surreal when I finally set eyes on Ketchican and realized I was about to complete the race,” Kruger said. “The goal was years in the making and to finally bring closure to all the mental and physical—not to mention logistical—preparation that went into it was a pretty incredible feeling.”
SUP mag caught up with Kruger for an exclusive first-hand account of his experience in the R2AK, which includes adventures involving wind gusting to 60 knots, mountain lion tracks in camp and more from the PNW wilderness. We’ll be publishing that soon so stay tuned.
Top-10 Results from R2AK 2017
- 1. Team Pure & Wild / Freeburd – 28' Tri – Custom Tetzlaff / Melvin 8.5m Class (3 Crew) – 4d 3h 5m
- 2. Team Big Broderna – 30.8' Tri – Corsair F31R (4 Crew) – 4d 3h 11m
- 3. Team Bad Kitty – 34' Cat – Modified Uthoff Custom Catamaran (4 Crew) – 5d 4h 55m
- 4. Team Ketch Me If U Can – 20' Cat – Nacra Inter 20 (2 Crew) – 7d 14h 44m
- 5. Team West Coast Wild Ones – 27' Mono – O'Day 27 (4 Crew) – 7d 17h 22m
- 6. Team 3 1/2 Aussies – 30.8' Tri – Farrier F31-R (4 Crew) – 8d 12h 32m
- 7. Team Triceratops – 27.1' Tri – Corsair F-27 (Crew – 3 Started, 2 Finished) – 8d 15h 2m
- 8. Team Willpower – 26.2' Mono – Seascape 27 (2 Crew) – 9d 3h 4m
- 9. Team PT Watercraft – 32' Cat – Gougeon 32 (1 Crew) – 9d 5h 59m
- 10. Team Away Team – 27.25' Mono – Express 27 – 9d 10h 19m
More on Karl Krugger and the R2AK
For more on the Race 2 Alaska, visit the R2AK website.