Downwinder Race 

DATE  Saturday, August 22, 2020

LOCATION  Lake Tahoe. Sunnyside Restaurant, Tahoe City, CA  MAP

FORMAT  A point-to-point downwind race for individual craft and OC6 canoes

DISTANCE  ~8 miles

TIME  2:00 PM

Price ~$85 per person | $150 OC6


A returning favorite, you'll want to come experience Lake Tahoe's best-kept secret - a fast, fun, tactical, and competitive downwind race.  Take advantage of the perfect downwind conditions: ~20 mph winds producing 2 to 3-foot waves combined with gorgeous 80° weather and huli-friendly water temperatures. Here are all the details.

Where does the race start and finish?

This is a point-to-point race starting at the beach at Sunnyside Restaurant in Tahoe City, CA and finishing at Watermans Landing in Carnelian Bay, CA. By car, it is 8.2 miles from start to finish on a local, two-way road that usually takes about 15 minutes to drive, although summer traffic may extend this.


Are there really surfable waves on Lake Tahoe for this race?

Absolutely. The typical August summer day on Lake Tahoe starts quiet, calm and serene in the morning. But by mid-afternoon, the wind whips up, most often blowing from the southwest, typically reaching 20+ mph. The strong winds zipping across the flat water surface generates regular, nicely spaced, two- to three-foot waves that are ideal for surfing. In the unlikely event that winds don't pick up on Saturday, the weather date for this race is the next day, Sunday, August 23, 2020.

What is the temperate on Lake Tahoe in August?

The typical ambient air temperature on Lake Tahoe at 2 pm in August is between 79 and 81 degrees. The water temperature is high 60's to low 70's.

Is this a technical race?

Because it is a downwind race, participants will find that there is significant tactical advantage in surfing the waves and more generally capitalizing on the conditions versus simply paddling hard. 


Are the downwind water conditions dangerous for paddlers?

As with any downwind run, it's important to anticipate the conditions and be prepared for the worst. Prior experience paddling in downwind conditions is strongly encouraged. You should be capable of self-rescue in windy and wavy conditions. Approved PFDs, leashes and a sound craft are required. The Downwinder Race prioritizes paddler safety and features a safety boat and multiple safety jet skis monitoring race participants throughout the race. 

How long is the race? The race overview states approximately 8 miles.

The most direct route on the water from race start to finish is 8 miles. Depending on the exact wind direction and speed, racers may find it advantageous to opt for a slightly longer course that keeps them "in the wind" and/or race officials may adjust the course buoy positions to accentuate the downwind racing conditions. In any case, the course will not be longer than 9 miles.

Are OC6 teams welcome at this race?

Definitely. Outrigger clubs and teams are encouraged to field one ore more canoes for the Downwinder. You'll find the conditions ideal for a fast, fun, competitive downwind race that emphasizes smart tactics and well-coordinated team mechanics in the boat.


What type of craft are included?

Participants can compete on a SUP, OC1, surf ski, prone board, or OC6 outrigger canoe.

What are the prize categories?

Podium prizes will be awarded by craft type and age category.

Where should I stay when visiting the Lake Tahoe region for this race?

We have a partnership with several awesome lodging partners. Coming Soon.



Do you have any questions? Email us - we'll get back to you quickly.

  • Lake Tahoe Waterman Association
  • Tahoe Waterman