How many girls do you know want to go camping and SUP racing?! Well I know several who did at the Big Bear PaddleFest. This race is held annually on Big Bear Lake in Big Bear Lake, California. This year was a very meaningful & emotional race for several of us because we had recently lost our good paddle friend Ray Noose to cancer. He attempted to do the 20K race last year, but they had to cancel it do to stormy conditions.
We don’t live that far from Big Bear Lake. It is about a 2.5hr. drive for most of us coming from Southern California. So when I decided I was going to do the race, I also decided to camp! Why not it’s an inexpensive way to travel, and an awesome way to be with nature. Of course I didn’t want to go by myself, so I reached out to my Performance Paddling teammates to see if anyone else would like to go on this little adventure! Within a few days there were four other girls ready to head to the mountains with me, and do a little camping and SUPing!
We kept it really simple! I have a huge family tent-2 rooms, and my friend brought her little 2 person tent. Compared to when we were kids, these tents are super easy to set up! Match a few color coded poles together and voila you have a place to sleep for a couple of days! Of course we had all the comforts of home with us-air mattresses, sleeping bags, pillows, coffee, beer, wine, & food. We actually ate out the first night at the North Shore Cafe. This is a great little cafe in the town of Fawnskin, just 3 miles from our Hanna Flat campground. Since we were SUP racing the next morning we decided it would be easier to eat out and not cook at the campground.
Big Bear Lake is beautiful! The lake is located at 6,752 feet, and surrounded by the San Bernardino Mountains. Due to several years of drought, the lake is at low levels-maximum water depth is 72’4”, & currently the water depth is 57’7”.
The Big Bear PaddleFest is open to all types of watercraft-outrigger, canoe, kayak, SUP, standamaran, & etc. So if you paddle it you can race it! The race directors do a great job offering a little bit of something for everyone. The main races were a 5K technical course, a 10K race, and 20k race. We all had to deal with headwinds during some of our race! I did the 10k race, and it was more like an ocean race. On the way out we had approximately 3 miles of headwinds, and side chop. On the way back we caught some down wind bumps mixed in with some side chop and boat wake! Super stoked to see so many from our paddle community at this race. Thank you to the race directors for dedicating the 20K race to our good friend Ray Noose. Thank you to all the sponsors for making this race so much fun! Race Results!
After the race it was party time at the campground! We joined up with a few other campers from our area and had a great time recapping the race, celebrating our friend, and eating pole pies.