The 2019 Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race (L2L) was a fun weekend celebration for watersport athletes and those who love the ocean. This is my 3rd year competing in the L2L and each year it gets more exciting. 2019 saw over 150 athletes competing in everything from rowing shells to outriggers, SUPs to surfskis all determined to test their skills against athletes from all over the East Coast. While international racing is one thing, watching surfski rise in popularity in the united states is a personal thrill for me. With the L2L surfski event holding the title of East Coast Surfski Championships, the L2L is a key race in the US inspiring and encouraging new athletes to come out and try the sport.

Created and run by Gary Williams, the L2L welcomes all crafts, spreading a variety of events over two days of racing. This year, the two days could not have been more different. Saturday dawned with dark, ominous, cloud-filled skies and winds that churned up Long Island Sound. The Coastal Rowing events slated for Saturday were not for the faint of heart as brave crews battled stormy seas throughout the day. I didn’t race on Saturday, but I went out for a training paddle and battling upwind was like running on a treadmill, very little forward progress was made.

Even though I didn’t race, I was able to be a part of the racing, I hosted a surfski clinic on Saturday. Thanks to PTX Partners, who sponsored the L2L, my clinic was open and free to anyone who registered for the race. I structured the clinic like a Ted Talk breaking down what I believed to be the most vital elements of surfski, everything from the basics of the flatwater stroke to how to create and structure a training program.

When Sunday came around, it couldn’t have been more of a contrast to Saturday, clear, blue skies, brilliant sun, warm-almost hot weather and not a puff of wind. The sound, which was a choppy mess the day before, was a mirror on race morning, not a puff of wind to be seen. It was going to be hard work to get through the 14miles course. My goal for the race was to start hard, dictate the pace from the front early and then modulate my effort from there. The race started well.

Flavio Costa had an impressive start, frustrating my desire to easily take the lead. We were head-to-head for the first minute and then I ratcheted up the pace to take the lead. Flavio dropped to my wake and after another minute I kicked again. I was just able to peel him off my wash. With another hard push I entered clear water and distance myself from Flavio and my pursuers. Alone and with 13.5 miles left to go, I brought down the pace and settled into a comfortable rhythm. I was able to maintain control of the race and finish with a comfortable lead. Flavio stamping his authority on second place.

L2L day 1

What was special about the L2L this year was not the beautiful scenery, not the two iconic lighthouses, nor was it the thrill of the lead, it was the people. My next hour of paddling was a testament to Gary’s incredible vision and hard work. As the race was released in waves (surfski athletes being one of the last groups to race), I was able to paddle with over a hundred people in boats of all different kinds. Moving up through the field and seeing many racers twice, as the course was an out and back, gave me a true appreciation of how many people had come to compete in the ocean. Gary once told me, “there are few things more satisfying to me than seeing folks out in open water – in any craft. Gets in my bones.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Being in the midst of a mass of excited athletes was truly the most gratifying thing about the 2019 L2L.

  • NAC Classic 2019

    Newport Beach, CA
    February 9th, 2019
    Austin's Blog

  • Maui to Molokai

    April 13, 2019  - 26 miles.

  • Molokai Challenge

    May 26, 2019

  • Canadian Downwind Champs

    Squamish, BC, Canada
    July 13, 2019

  • Gorge Downwind Champs

    Colombia River Gorge, Oregon
    July 15-20, 2019

  • Lighthouse To Lighthouse 2019

    Sept. 14 & 15, 2019
    Norwalk, CT

  • Irish Coast Paddling Champs

    Saturday 28, Sept. 2019

The 2019 Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race (L2L) was a fun weekend celebration for watersport athletes and those who love the ocean. This is my 3rd year competing in the L2L and each year it gets more exciting. 2019 saw over 150 athletes competing in everything from rowing shells to outriggers, SUPs to surfskis all determined to  test their skills against athletes from all over the East Coast. While international racing is one thing, watching surfski rise in popularity in the united states is a personal thrill for me. With the L2L surfski event holding the title of East Coast Surfski Championships, the L2L is a key race in the US inspiring and encouraging new athletes to come out and try the sport.

Created and run by Gary Williams, the L2L welcomes all crafts, spreading a variety of events over two days of racing. This year, the two days could not have been more different. Saturday dawned with dark, ominous, cloud-filled skies and winds that churned up Long Island Sound. The Coastal Rowing events slated for Saturday were not for the faint of heart as brave crews battled stormy seas throughout the day. I didn’t race on Saturday, but I went out for a training paddle and battling upwind was like running on a treadmill, very little forward progress was made.

Even though I didn’t race, I was able to be a part of the racing, I hosted a surfski clinic on Saturday. Thanks to PTX Partners, who sponsored the L2L, my clinic was open and free to anyone who registered for the race. I structured the clinic like a Ted Talk breaking down what I believed to be the most vital elements of surfski, everything from the basics of the flatwater stroke to how to create and structure a training program.

When Sunday came around, it couldn’t have been more of a contrast to Saturday, clear, blue skies, brilliant sun, warm-almost hot weather and not a puff of wind. The sound, which was a choppy mess the day before, was a mirror on race morning, not a puff of wind to be seen. It was going to be hard work to get through the 14miles course. My goal for the race was to start hard, dictate the pace from the front early and then modulate my effort from there. The race started well.

Flavio Costa had an impressive start, frustrating my desire to easily take the lead. We were head-to-head for the first minute and then I ratcheted up the pace to take the lead. Flavio dropped to my wake and after another minute I kicked again. I was just able to peel him off my wash. With another hard push I entered clear water and distance myself from Flavio and my pursuers. Alone and with 13.5 miles left to go, I brought down the pace and settled into a comfortable rhythm. I was able to maintain control of the race and finish with a comfortable lead. Flavio stamping his authority on second place.

L2L day 1

What was special about the L2L this year was not the beautiful scenery, not the two iconic lighthouses, nor was it the thrill of the lead, it was the people. My next hour of paddling was a testament to Gary’s incredible vision and hard work. As the race was released in waves (surfski athletes being one of the last groups to race), I was able to paddle with over a hundred people in boats of all different kinds. Moving up through the field and seeing many racers twice, as the course was an out and back, gave me a true appreciation of how many people had come to compete in the ocean. Gary once told me, “there are few things more satisfying to me than seeing folks out in open water – in any craft. Gets in my bones.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Being in the midst of a mass of excited athletes was truly the most gratifying thing about the 2019 L2L.

  • NAC Classic 2019

    Newport Beach, CA
    February 9th, 2019

  • Maui to Molokai

    April 13, 2019  - 26 miles.

  • Molokai Challenge

    May 26, 2019

  • Canadian Downwind Champs

    Squamish, BC, Canada
    July 13th

  • Gorge Downwind Champs

    Colombia River Gorge, Oregon
    July 15-20, 2019

  • Lighthouse To Lighthouse 2019

    Sept. 14 & 15
    Norwalk, CT

  • Irish Coast Paddling Champs

    TBD Fall 2019