Open Water Race


Narrows Challenge Sponsored by

Gig Harbor Canoe Kayak Racing Team

City of Gig Harbor


Open Water human powered craft: Kayak, Surfski, SUP, Outrigger Canoe, Paddleboard and others. Paddlers familiar with tides and open water conditions. Start & Finish outside the entrance of Gig Harbor. Paddle south towards the Narrows Bridge with buoy turns returning to the finish for each course.


Organized by Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team - Masters

Narrows Challenge 2022 - You Tube Video




Saturday October 14, 2023

Pick up race number 9:00 am - 12:00 pm.

Pre-race meeting 12:00
Start 1:00 pm



Courses are open to OC, SUP, HPK, SK, OW and Other capable human powered craft.


Short Course: Distance @ 5 Kilometers (Approximately 3 miles). 

Skill Level 1/2 depending on conditions day of race.

For those new to open water or if day of race conditions are above your abilities for the longer courses.

Start/Finish just outside the Gig Harbor entrance paddling South along shoreline to buoy at 2.5 Km and return to finish line.


Intermidiate Course: Distance @ 10 Kilometers (Approximately 6 miles).

Skill level 2/3 depending on conditions day or race.

Participants should have considerable experience in open water and considered intermidiate to expert paddler.

Start/Finish just outside the Gig Harbor entrance paddling South to Point Evans and bouy turn at 5 Km. Return to finish line.

Nautical course with the participant taking into account the tide, current, wind and weather conditions.


Expert Course: Distance @ 20 Kilometers (approximately 12 miles). 

Skill Level 2/3 depending on conditions day of race. 

Participants should be highly experienced in open water and considered intermidiate to expert paddler. Able to average 5+ MPH on flatwater and complete course withing 3 hours.

Start/Finish just outside the Gig Harbor entrance paddling South under the Narrows Bridge with turn around buoy at 10 Km between Narrows Park and Point Fosdick.

Nautical course with the participant taking into account the tide, current, wind & weather conditions.


Skill Level & Conditions. 

1: Relatively calm with some wave & current action. For the Narrows Challenge paddling close to shore. Favorable to those with experience paddling in open water from beginner to intermediate.

2: Potential rough water with wind and current. Favorable to those with a considerable amount of paddling in open water from intermediate to expert.

3: Potential for high winds with strong current and rough water. Favorable to those with a considerable amount of paddling in open water at the expert level.


* Race Commissioners reserve the right to limit any participant based on type of craft, age, experience or conditions.


* Race day currents are listed as 10' flood. This equates to paddling with strong currents out to bouy turn and against strong currents on return.

** The Narrows Passage frequently experiences high winds. Potentially creating extreme downwind and upwind race day conditions.

Participate at your level of experience according to the conditions at time of event.




Pre-registration: Per person $45 / Teams of 6 or more $225.

Registration starting October 7th: Per person $55 / Teams of 6 or more $275.


AWARDS - Ceremony at 3:30 pm

20Km: 1st $200, 2nd $100, 3rd $50, Hot Shot $100.

10Km: 1st $100, 2nd $50, 3rd $25, Hot Shot $50.

5Km: 1st $50, 2nd $25, 3rd $15, Hot Shot $25.

Hot Shot: First single person craft to buoy turn on each of the courses.

Medals to 1st, 2nd & 3rd place for all categories with three or more participants.



Registration through Pacific Multisports. Create a login if not already a member.

Pacific Multisports Registartion


Registration online July 1 thru 10 AM October 13th.

Participants will recieve pre-race information via PowerPoint presentation.

Race day morning pick up your race number at Skansie Brother Park, Gig Harbor.

12:00 in person pre-race meeting at Check-in location.



From Highway 16 follow signs to downtown Gig Harbor.

There are public launch sites at Skansie Brothers Park, Eden Boat Park, Ancich Waterfront Park, Gig Harbor Boat Ramp. After you have launched paddle to the harbor entrance near Lighthouse Point.  Start and Finish will be across from Lighthouse Point. Further instructions provided in pre-race instructions.


Mandatory Safety Rules

Participants testify they have experience & are completely capable of remounting their craft in rough water.

Will always wear a Coast Guard Approved PFD.

Will always wear a leash (accept Ocean Kayaks).

Will wear bright colors for high visibility on the water.

Recommended to carry VHS Marine Radio.

Will render assistance to any other participant in need.


Water Safety

Event Permit filed with US Coast Guard.

8+ Safety boats positioned on course.

VHF Radio – Channel 72.

Equipped with throw ropes.

Additional floatation devices.

Dedicated individual to monitor Commercial Traffic.

Participants & Safety Boats maintain required distance from all whales.

Will adjust start times as needed.

Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol requested.


Race Day Course Decisions

Any neccassary evaluations of the course conditions on the day of event will be made in agreement with race commissioners: Tod Cole: Race Director and Robert Nissenbaum: ACA Certified Kayak Instructor.


Medical Plan

911 is primary Emergency contact for all participants, volunteers and staff.

First aid supplies and guidance available at start/finish line dock.


Local Hospital:

St Anthony Hospital

11567 Canterwood Blvd

Gig Harbor, WA 98332

Ph. 253-530-2000


Disaster Response

Race Director will make decision to end event in case of natural or man made events.

On site mass communication will be done via volunteers on site.

Mass Email to participants for communication if required.


Race Director : Tod Cole


Sponsored by Gig Harbor Canoe Kayak Racing Team - Masters




2022 Results

Thank You to the 40+ volunteers and the 86 paddlers from USA, Canada and France for making this a great day. Full results at:


20 Km Course:

1st Place: Greg Barton/Jonas Ecker 1:14:49

2nd Place: Egor Klevak/Don Kiesling 1:17:47

3rd Place: Kevin Olney/Wilson Reavley 1:23:26

10 Km Hot Shot: Aaron Small


10 Km Course:

1st Place: Mike Peterson 59:02:01

2nd Place: Reagan Laird/Austin Laird 1:01:24

3rd Place: Tod Silver 1:02:13

5 Km Hot Shot: Gannon Erickson


5 Km Course:

1st Place: Weston Hester 42:46

2nd Place: Bogdan Barba 43:37

3rd Place: Leo Pochet 44:05

2.5 Km Hot Shot: Bogdan Barba


2021 Results

Thank you to the 80+ paddlers and over 40 volunteers that made the Inaugral Narrows Challenge a success!


Long Course

Class                    Name                                               Time

Long Course Overall - 1st HPK2 Egor Klevak / Ivan Medvedev 1:33:00

Long Course Overall - 2nd HPK Greg Barton 1:31:28

Long Course Overall - 3rd HPK Jonas Ecker 1:32:11

HPK - Men 1st Greg Barton 1:31:28

HPK - Men 2nd Jonas Ecker 1:32:11

HPK - Men 3rd Aaron Small 1:37:30

HPK - Women 1st Ana Swetish 1:53:47

HPK - Women 2nd Erica Quam 2:00:35

HPK - Women 3rd Denise Weeks 2:00:56

Sea Kayak - Open 1st Paul Hirsh 2:21:56

Sea Kayak - Open 2nd Glen Rogers 2:24:00

Sea Kayak - Open 3rd DNS 

SUP - Open 1st Nick Papa 2:18:20

SUP - Open 2nd Brown Fihaki 2:40:01

SUP - Open 3rd Lindsey Virdeh 2:44:50


Short Course

Class                           Name                                                      Time

Short Course Overall - 1st OC-6 Kikaha O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Club 55:47:00

* Boy Chun Fook, Ken Kroeger, John Richardson, Russ Woolsey, Lon Kincannon, Walt Wolfe

Short Course Overall - 2nd HPK2 Aaron & Raegan Laird 1:03:48

Short Course Overall - 3rd OC-1 Gordon Martinez 1:05:16

HPK - Men 1st Antonnie Issa1:05:40

HPK - Men 2nd Carl Darmer 1:12:22

HPK - Men 3rd James Wilborn 1:17:21

HPK - Men U18 1st Adam Behnke 1:10:43

HPK - Men U18 2nd Gannon Erickson 1:11:19

HPK - Men U18 3rd Boy Wong 1:12:00

HPK - Women 1st Donna KcKeever 1:17:21

HPK - Women 2nd Julliete Kern 1:18:57

HPK - Women 3rd Alyson Morse 1:21:24

HPK - Women U18 1st Rory Ohr 1:12:27

HPK - Women U18 2nd Claire Lerch 1:20:19

HPK - Women U18 3rd Claire Cuthbert 1:22:27

SUP - Open 1st Christian Oliver 1:10:34

SUP - Open 2nd Ivan Storck 1:15:01

SUP - Open 3rd Chris Grieve 1:15:29

Maximium Effort: Gannon Erickson


For full list of racers and times visit

Pacific Multisports web site at



The Maritime Inn is located across the street from Skansie Park and the event headquarters.


Pleasure Craft Houseboat Rentals is located next door to Skansie Park providing easy access to the water and event headquarters.


Gig Harbor Marina Guest House and Fleets is located on site with the event headquarters.


Waterfront Inn provides lodging and private dock with a 10 minute paddle to the Start/Finish line.


The Inn at Gig Harbor provides lodging just off of Highway 16 with a five minute drive to the event headquarters.


Best Western Wesley Inn is located off of Highway 16 with less then a five minute drive to event headquarters.





Anthony's in the historic Shoreline with a full view of the Harbor.


Bella Fammina Restaurante with Sicilian inspired dishes.


Java & Clay will provide you with a hot cup of coffee or tea and will also keep your kids busy creating artwork to go.


Tides Tavern is a Gig Harbor mainstay for good food and views of the harbor.


El Pueblito located across the street from Skansie park providing great Mexican fair for the hunger.


Net Shed #9 excellent lunch on the harbor.


Il Luciano Italanian at its best.


Gig Harbor Brewery located directly above the even headquarters for your easy access.


7 Seas Brewery Tasting Room provides the prime view for your family and friends to watcht he Start/Finish line.


Brix 25 great dining minutes from event headquarters.


Millville Pizza Company prividing pizza to go and dine in.






If you would like family and friends to watch the race from the water please reach out to one of the tour boats in the harbor.


Destiny Harobr Tours provides harbor boats capable of going out into the Narrows for viewing the race first hand.


Gig Harbor Gondala has two authentic Venician gondola's that will take you around the harbor and watcht he start/finish is style.


Reviera Cruises can provide a large party the ability to watch the race from anywhere along the Narrows Challenge course.



Sponsored by Gig Harbor Canoe Kayak Racing Team - Masters


Let us know if you are interested in paddling the Narrows Challenge!


Event Organized by Gig Harbor Canoe Kayak Racing Team Masters