9th sorta annual Canal Crawl with the only three time consecutive winner Kevin Robbins (center) and the rest of the irregulars.
GPS tracks of the 2007 winner (above) and 2nd place (below) in the Canal Crawl Circumnavigation
Windsurfing's Weirdest race - Windsurfing Magazine, June, 2009
In 2009 Windsurfing Magazine noted the Canal Crawl Circumnavigation as windsurfing's weirdest race. Since then the Canal Crawl has grown each year and for several years now Halloween and Columbus Day costumes have been in order to keep the race weird.
Circumnavigation…..then and now
Island resident and former CCWA Newsletter editor, Roy Tansil originally started this series in 2000, with just two windsurfers. Roy's intention was to have a race that no small racing board could win. The original course started and finished at the boat ramp on Encantada. This required sailing under the Gypsy street bridge before entering the main canal to the Laguna Madre. Next it was through three more narrow canals back to the finish across the street from the boat ramp on Encantada. A fundamental goal of the Canal Crawl making a continuous circumnavigation through the canals without any back tracking.
The original course was changed in 2007 with the start and finish at the boat ramp at Whitecap and Caravel. This 4.2 mile course maintained the circumnavigation tradition, added a leg along the Intracoastal Waterway and a shallow water leg across the flats between the Intracoastal and Point Tesoro main canal. Most of the canals along this route are fairly wide giving windsurfers a little more opportunity to navigate but the shallow flats usually prove to be difficult.
Fun…..gettin’ back to the basics
Part of the tradition and much of the challenge of the Canal Crawl is making it through the completely inconsistent and shifty wind throughout the course. When the winds are very light and the water level low, it makes for a challenging race.
Challenging…..newbies or vets
As always a lot of credit is due all the first timers for helping keep the Canal Crawl growing.
Everyone has a good time, successfully completing the course in conditions that prove to be difficult. The Canal Crawl is intended to be fun and give windsurfing more local exposure, the traveling trophy will be collecting dust for another year until the last winner organizes the next event.
Links to more Canal Crawl information