Saturday, February 9, 2019

Notes on the Green New Deal (GND)

The “Green New Deal” is an ambitious economic and environmental conservation proposal currently gaining traction among congressional democrats in the United States. I recently read the text of the “Green New Deal” on the US Green Party’s web page.

https://www.gp.org/gnd_full?fbclid=IwAR3hIuIeB5AjSqDOIEyG6d9ttXIZ65qG_M_L-ftLj4rW3KshDqz6gZ7ldvk

The GND text is not super detailed, but I think it’s detailed enough to make a convincing case for the proposal. From my perspective as a marine scientist focused on how ecosystems work and how they respond to human impacts, the GND proposal makes much more sense than most political “deals” related to the environment. Below are my somewhat-disorganized notes on the GND. I have bolded certain quotes or concepts from the GND, and commented on them in non-bold text:

The GND contends that the fossil fuel economy is “decaying.” Personally I wouldn’t say that it is decaying, but I agree that it is unsustainable because:

1) We will eventually run out. Our fossil fuel reserves took hundreds of millions of years to form, but we’re burning them at a rate that will use them up in just a couple of centuries. So even if fossil fuels didn’t pollute at all, we would need to transition to other energy sources in the not-so-distant future.

2) Fossil fuels cause several very serious pollution problems, which are cumulative and will continue to worsen if we continue to burn fossil fuels. I agree with the text of the GND that Global Warming, in particular is a major threat to human civilization.

  • Toxic air pollution (smog) is created from all kinds of fossil fuel burning, but is especially bad from coal and small engines like cars. Smog contains NOx compounds that rain to earth and cause algae blooms, SO2 that causes acid rain, volatile organic carbon compounds that sicken people and animals, and particulate matter that causes respiratory diseases.
  • The carbon dioxide produced (CO2) reacts with ocean water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3), lowering the pH of the oceans and interfering with marine organisms’ body chemistry and their ability to create calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. This “ocean acidification” phenomenon is particularly deadly to coral reefs.
  • The carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuel burning is a greenhouse gas, which increases the “greenhouse effect” of the earth’s atmosphere by acting like a blanket preventing heat from radiating away into space. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has gone from 280 parts per billion in the 1850s to over 410 parts per billion now, and global average temperatures have already increased by about 1 degree Celsius over that same period. With further temperature rise we’ll see significant sea level rise and major “weirding” of weather and climate, in addition to higher average temperatures worldwide.


*Transition to 100% green renewable energy (no nukes or natural gas) by 2030.

  • 2030 is 11 years away. That is pretty soon, but I think we can do it if we combine energy conservation (using less energy overall) with redirecting all funds now directed to fossil fuels to development of green energy. The GND recognizes the importance of energy conservation to reduce demand. “Going to 100% clean energy by 2030 means reducing energy demand as much as possible.” That is something we can begin immediately. 
  •  I agree that natural gas (methane, CH4) mined from the earth is unsustainable. Burning it produces just as much CO2 as is produced by burning any other fossil fuel, and the fracking and other techniques we use to get it out of the ground are very polluting to groundwater resources. Also, the methane that gets loose is an even worse greenhouse gas than CO2.
  • I agree that nuclear power should not be included in the “green” energy category. Though nuclear power generation does not produce any greenhouse gases, the nuclear waste it generates is a very dangerous material for which there is no safe, affordable long-term disposal solution. Also, the risk of disastrous radiation releases like from Chernobyl and Fukushima is always present.


*The GND’s plan to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030 is the only program in any US presidential candidate’s platform that even attempts to meet the scientific goal agreed to in Paris. Yes, this is true. “Business as usual” is not getting it done. When we evaluate the merits of the GND we should remember that the alternative we’re comparing it with is our current state of doing almost nothing, or even putting out MORE pollution, all while the environment and climate system goes to heck.

*"It’s not just a question of what kind of world we want, but whether we will have a world at all." This is overly dramatic, but I don’t entirely disagree. There will still be a world even if we don’t change course on fossil fuels. I.e., there will still be a big rock orbiting the sun. It’s just that it will be a very unpleasant world, rife with environmental, economic, and humanitarian crises, and lacking the richness and relative stability of the natural ecosystems that we enjoy today.

*"Immediately halt investment in fossil fuels." This makes sense because:

  1. Fossil fuel companies are rich enough that they don’t need government help. 
  2. Instead of putting money into something that is unsustainable (unhealthy, won’t last) it’s better to channel investment into things that will last and improve our situation in America and on earth in general.

*Guarantee full employment / End unemployment for good. That would be a good thing, but seems like an exaggeration if not an impossibility. However, 20 million new, living wage jobs seems reasonable.

  • The extensive and diverse technology development and infrastructure upgrades involved in the GND will absolutely add a huge number and variety of jobs to the economy. 
  • The public jobs program seems legitimate, too. We have other “public jobs programs” like paying soldiers, teachers, police, etc. We might as well pay people to clean up the earth, too, because it benefits the workers and the rest of us enough to be worth the tax money. Even most conservatives would probably agree that the government paying someone to do a job that improves the community is better than the government paying the person welfare without any work involved. 
  • The replacement of the general unemployment office with “local employment offices” could help local municipalities put federal support to better use by creating jobs that will improve the local environment and other aspects of the local community. If I was out of work, I reckon I’d be happy to be able to get a temporary job in my area, even something like picking up trash out of the ditches or planting trees. Nothing will ever end all unemployment, but employing people in green energy enterprises is an excellent idea. The “renewable” nature of green energy means that green energy jobs are a renewable resource, as well.

*Make wars for oil obsolete. I mostly agree with this. While “wars for oil” may be an oversimplification of our expensive conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, few would deny that our enormous military expenditures and dubious alliances with authoritarian regimes in the region have been “justified” by our desire to secure our supply of oil.

*Revive the economy. This is an interesting contention, because by some measures like GDP, employment rate, and stock market growth rate, the US economy is doing great and doesn’t need any reviving. However, these most common measures of economic health fail to capture the economic struggles and threats to well-being that everyday civilians experience. What good is it to be employed if you’re working three jobs just to pay the rent on your tiny apartment, you’re lonely, sleep deprived and deeply depressed, you’re being exposed to toxic air and water pollution, and you can’t afford to go to the doctor? By measures that integrate economics and human well-being, such as the “genuine progress indicator (GPI), the US has actually been declining since the 1970s. Even without a numerical indicator like this, older liberals and conservatives agree that things aren’t as good as they used to be. We DO need a revival. https://sustainabilityadvantage.com/2011/03/08/5-reasons-why-a-gpi-should-replace-the-gdp/

*Fight the corporate takeover of our democracy. Another thing that both liberals and conservatives tend to agree on is that our political system is being seriously corrupted by soulless corporate entities, leading to laws that benefit those big businesses and hurt everyday people. Legislation is written by and for moneyed interests, with disregard for the general public. The subsidies, tax-breaks, and lax environmental laws enjoyed by fossil fuel polluting industries are the direct result of their decades of corrupting our democracy. In Florida, even environmental ballot measures clearly supported by the majority of the voters are ignored by the corrupt politicians. We must identify and rectify this corruption.

*"The transition to 100% clean energy will foster democratic control of our energy system, rather than maximizing profits for energy corporations, banks and hedge funds." I don’t know if I would agree with the implication that clean energy is inherently more democratic and less “big money” than dirty energy is. I think it’s up to us to make sure that clean energy development doesn’t happen by the same corrupt monopoly route that dirty energy development did.

*"The Green New Deal not only saves us from climate catastrophe. It also pays for itself through health savings alone." I don’t know if the numbers support that the GND would be totally paid for by the health savings alone, but I agree that the health saving from environmental protection would be SIGNIFICANT. I remember being on a biology class fieldtrip to an autopsy, where we examined the lungs of a smoker, and the lungs of non-smoker who had lived in Tacoma, Washington near pollution-belching paper mills. The smoker’s lungs were worse, of course, but there were lumps of black pollution goo in the non-smoker’s lungs, as well. The links between pollution and human health are numerous. Toxic effects of harmful algae blooms and photochemical smog, both of which related to fossil fuel burning as well as other factors, worsen many illnesses.

*"Right now, our federal subsidy programs benefit large agribusiness corporations and the oil, mining, nuclear, coal and timber giants at the expense of small farmers, small business, and our children’s environment. We spend billions of dollars every year moving our economy in the wrong direction, turning our planet uninhabitable while imposing the greatest harm on communities of color and the poor. The Green New Deal will instead redirect that money to the real job creators who make our communities more healthy, sustainable and secure at the same time."

  • Shifting taxpayer subsidies from polluting industry to green industry is one of the compelling, common-sense things about the GND, which makes it both affordable and logical. Instead of putting taxpayer money into polluting industries, we’ll put it into sustainable ventures.

*The creation of a “Commission for Economic Democracy” and other GND proposals intended to foster local, public involvement (for example, small businesses, small farmers, and local energy cooperatives) instead of distant, corporate and big-government control. I think this is generally a good thing. By getting more people aware of and involved in green projects specific to their area, they are more likely to have a personal sense of investment in the ventures, and more likely to be better stewards of their environment and economy.

*The creation of a Renewable Energy Administration to “provide technical support, financing, and coordination to more than 900 municipal cooperatives.” Though this work might also be done through existing agencies like the DOE or EPA, I like the general idea of having a federal-level organization to help guide and fund the smaller local groups that are carrying out the green energy changeover.

*"closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry." These are big things that my colleagues in the Marine and Ecological Sciences department at FGCU discuss a lot. They make a ton of logical sense. For example, instead of synthesizing nitrate and phosphate fertilizers in factories, then blasting them into the environment where they build up and cause algae blooms and other harmful pollution, we should be extracting the nitrate and phosphate from the polluted environment and reusing it as fertilizer. We do this to a small extent now by using nutrient-filled wastewater to fertilize some farms and golf courses, but the problem is that we still use synthetic fertilizers on those lands, too, so the buildup of nutrient pollution continues to increase.

*Paying for the GND. Obviously the GND would be incredibly expensive at $700 bn to $1 tn / year. However, a lot of that would be from shifting spending rather than from new taxes. E.g., ceasing our subsidies of polluting industries would free up billions of dollars, cleaner air and water would improve human health and reduce healthcare costs, and ending “wars for oil” would save enormous sums.

  • Carbon tax. Because the effects of carbon dioxide pollution are a burden on all people, it makes sense that there be a carbon tax such that the people who are producing the most carbon dioxide pollution be contributing the most to dealing with that shared burden. The combination of ending fossil fuel subsidies and levying a carbon tax will lead to more “true” pricing on fossil fuel products, reflecting the costs of all the pollution they create, and market capitalism will do its thing and adjust. However, I am glad that the GND recognizes that there must be measures to ensure that the carbon tax burden doesn’t fall unfairly on poor and middle class people. Otherwise we’ll have problems like with the “yellow vest” protest in France that were in response to a fuel tax that disproportionately hurt working class people. The carbon tax should not be a “regressive” tax.
  • Progressive tax rates. At face value it seems unfair to “punish” rich people by taxing them at a higher rate than middle class and poor people. But before we shed tears for those poor, poor billionaires, let’s consider the dynamics of how personal wealth is actually accrued. Wealth comes from saving your earnings, then investing those savings. When you’re poor or middle class, most of your earnings go to paying your essential bills for housing, food, healthcare, transportation, etc. You have little or nothing left for savings or investment, so it’s hard to grow your wealth. However, when you’re starting out rich (your rich parents paid for your expensive education, bought you your first car and home, and used their connections to set you up with a cushy white-collar job), your income is much bigger than your essential bills, so you have much more leftover for savings and investment. Therefore it’s inherently easier for the already-rich to get richer than it is for the poor and middle class to get richer. Without any counterbalance to that “rich get richer” effect, it only takes a few decades for society to polarize into the super-rich who can do whatever they want, and the poor people trapped in poverty. Sure we can point to the occasional "rags to riches" story to try to say that this is still the land of opportunity and it's just a matter of how hard you work, but I think that's mostly a bullshit myth. The reality is much more "rags to rags" and "riches to riches." So while progressive tax rates and taxes on large inheritances are not “fair,” per se, they are a essential to prevent the permanent division of society into a born-wealthy upper class and a stuck-in-poverty lower class. They also generate the necessary revenue for programs that benefit all, like public education, and infrastructure development programs like the GND.
  • Other times of high tax rates on the rich were prosperous times in the US, like the 1950s through the 1970s when our economy boomed, we advanced in the space race, stayed on top in the cold war, cleaned up the environment through the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Magnusson-Stevens Fisheries Act, etc. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Naples Wavesailing Video

I used to post a lot of windsurfing videos but have been doing it less often lately. Here is why:

1. I don't windsurf as much anymore now that I live in SW Florida where it's not windy very often.
2. When it is windy, I'm often "downwinding" on a paddle-powered craft like my SUP or surfski kayak.
3. I've gotten out of the habit of taking my GoPro and filming videos because it seems to take a long time to edit them afterwards and I'm always busy with other stuff like work.
4. All my Vimeo videos disappeared because my account got nuked for having unlicensed music in some of the videos. Perhaps I'll repost some of the best ones without music by uploading them to youtube. Putting music to the videos was the fun part for me, but I guess it's no fun for the artists to have people using their songs without paying, and it's not nice to break the law, etc.
5. The mac laptop I've used for video editing since 2009 has been slow since it forced me to update its operating system, and the mac video editing software no longer works. Now I'm editing videos on the PC with Windows Movie Maker which I'm not so familiar with and doesn't seem as friendly.

Anyway, here is a short edit of a delightful, rare, strong wind windsurfing session at Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples, FL. I was using a 4.7 Hotsails Fire and 83 liter starboard Evo. The setup worked pretty well in the onshore conditions, though I wish I had added more downhaul earlier, and I think I might want to update the fin since the one I have is maybe too grunty and not maneuverable enough to make good on the maneuverability of the board.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Reading the Room: A Professors' Guide

As the academic semester winds down, I have had some time to reflect on the joys and challenges of teaching. I have assembled these pedagogical insights into the guide below. Enjoy.















Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Different views about Black Lives Matter and racial tensions / violence

I get into arguments on social media. It's a waste of time, mostly, but occasionally I learn things and get new perspectives. For example, I have learned that conservative and liberal people have very different ideas about what Black Lives Matter is, including where it came from and what its objectives and impacts are. I created this graphic to illustrate these dichotomous views, as I see them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

SW Florida has become an Epic Shit Hole

SW Florida projects an image of perfectly manicured upscale developments in a clean and green tropical paradise. But the truth is that we are a super fucked up toxic death zone from decades of relentless development and neglect of our fragile environment. We thought we could run roughshod over the landscape, replacing all the forests and wetlands with malls and gated communities, but still somehow have perfectly clean water and beaches. We were WRONG.

http://www.abc-7.com/story/39538570/dead-dolphins-are-washing-up-on-collier-county-beaches

36 dolphins have washed up dead in the Fort Myers - Naples area in just the last week, along with untold numbers of fish, seabirds, and sea turtles, adding to the unimaginably large amount of sea life that has perished in these waters since the pollution-fueled toxic algae blooms began over a year ago. We need to ADMIT that we have become an epic shit hole, deadly to humans and animals alike, and we need to actually change our laws and practices to stem the gushing tide of excess nutrient pollution, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, etc. into our precious waters.

Following is a series of a images I have created to illustrate how this epic shit hole situation arose.









Sunday, November 11, 2018

Race Report: Lake Hernando Dragon Boat Festival



Race: The 2018 Lake Hernando Dragon Boat Festival. For a description of what Dragon Boats and Dragon Boat racing are, check this.

Date it happened: 10 November 2018

Host: The Citrus County Education Foundation

Location: Lake Hernando Park, in Hernando, Florida. It's in a beautiful rural area of mossy oaks, cypress swamps, gentle hills, and farmland. It's between Orlando and Gainesville.

Course / Distance: All the dragon boat races were 307 m sprints in parallel lanes marked with little buoys. Each heat only lasted about a minute and a half, but it was a minute and half of full power exertion. Our boat raced in three heats over the course of the day.

Conditions: It was cloudy and pleasantly mild with a northeast breeze blowing towards the lakefront, perpendicular to the course.

Participants, Results and Gear: This was the biggest and most spirited paddle race I have ever been to. The event site had a full-fledged, dragon-themed country fair going on, with rows of arts and crafts booths, food tents, etc. There were also dozens of dragon boat clubs with elaborate tent setups, outfits and costumes, including one Asian cultural association that had a giant Chinese Dragon puppet that periodically danced through the crowd. Dragon boat racing is far more popular than I had realized!

I was there at the behest of my SUP racing pal Robert Norman, who recently formed and began coaching the Ka Nalu Nui Dragonboat Club in Citrus County where he lives. In just a few months of existence, the club has grown to about 40 people; enough to field three "boats" in this competition (one 20-person crew, and two 10-person crews). Clubs have their own boat or boats to practice on, but competitions are usually held on boats provided by the race organizers to keep things fair. There are two divisions based on boat size: 20-person boats with 10 rows of paddlers, and 10-person boats with 5 rows of paddlers. Both lengths of boat also include a drummer at the front and a steersman at the back. The steersman is sometimes provided by the race organizers. Besides boat length, there are some divisions based on crew type. The "community" division is less competitive, and the "premier" division is more competitive. There are also some divisions by gender; an all-female division and a mixed gender division. The mixed division has to have at least 10 women on the 20-person boats and at least 4-women on the 10-person boats. There's no men's division.

Robert Norman steering his 20-person Ka Nalu Nui team to the starting line.


Ka Nalu Nui's 10-person and 20-person boats in the community division were all the new amateur paddlers that Robert had put together over the last few months, but his 10-person boat in the premier division was also filled out by some ringers that Robert had gathered from the SUP and outrigger canoe racing community. Four of us from Bonita Springs' "CGT Tribe" were brought in: Cindy Gibson, Bill Mussenden, Matt Kearney, and me. Of us four, only Cindy had been on a multi-person paddle craft before (6-person outrigger canoe team when she lived in California). Bill, Matt, and I had to learn on the spot how to paddle in coordination. We must have done pretty well, though, because we won first place in the event! For the play by play, I'm copying Matt Kearney's report. He wrote a good one.

Play by play (by Matt Kearney): "Big thanks to Robert and the Ka Nalu Nui Dragonboat Club for inviting us to compete with them at the Lake Hernando Dragonboat Festival yesterday. It was such a blast and Robert has built up something really special in just a few short months. 72 teams and thousands of people came from around the state and as far away as Tacoma, Washington. With paddlers from Canada, Singapore, and everywhere in between. 4 of us from Bonita Springs came up and joined a “premier mixed 10” boat which was the most competitive division. None of us 4 had ever been in a dragonboat before, and 3 of us have never even raced a team craft of any kind where syncing up your stroke is so important. But we can paddle! 😅 With some quick coaching from Robert, we managed to win the qualifying heat posting the fastest time of the day, then in the semifinal heat our boat got rammed into by the one next to us who couldn’t steer then still almost won 😂 (and did after time penalties added). Then we won first overall in the championship heat. All against teams with years of experience and dragonboat practice. Ka Nalu Nui’s other 2 teams also went undefeated and won first overall in their mixed 10 and 20 community divisions! Needless to say the other clubs at the event couldn’t believe it and I hope the buzz we created yesterday helps Ka Nalu Nui continue the momentum and build the club even further. They have a great coach in Robert and a fun group of people. I’ll definitely try to do this again some day."

Robert Norman and his 20-person Ka Nalu Nui team celebrate after winning first in the community division.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Race Report: Imperial River Challenge 2018

Our team: The Smurfs.


Race: The 2018 Imperial River Challenge

Date it happened: 3 November 2018

Host: CGT Kayaks and Paddleboards, which you can become a groupie of by joining the CGT Tribe facebook page. This particular race was also sponsored by the Imperial River Conservancy, and raised money for water quality monitoring and other environmental stewardship of the river.

Location: Riverside Park on the Imperial River in downtown Bonita Springs, Florida.

Course / Distance: The course went downriver to the US 41 bridge and back (6.5 km).

Conditions: It was relatively cool and breezy, warming up by the end of the race. The water level was high and the river current was unusually slack, so wind played more of a role than current.

Participants, Results and Gear: This race was different than most because it was based on TEAMS of four people, with at least one woman in each team. There were three complete SUP teams, one incomplete SUP team of 3 women, and one team of two tandem kayaks. One of the kayakers was a dog. My team was recruited by Robert Norman and included Matt Kearney, me and Cindy Gibson, who is the fastest woman in our town. Robert then cancelled, ironically, but we replaced him with a great local paddler, Bill Mussenden. Our team name was the Smurfs. While we were proud of team we put together, local badass athletic coach Mark Athanacio was putting together an ultra-fast team with members of the East Coast's "Flying Fish Paddle Sports" crew. The fastest guy on that crew is pro-level Brazilian paddler Eri Tenorio. Only one notch slower than Eri were the next two guys, Steve Miller and Tim Warner, who are the top men's amateur paddlers in the state. The other fast men from the flying fish crew were Reid Hyle (former pro-level kayak racer and current fisheries biologist), and Steven Bernstein, a serious amateur racer who is usually close to my speed. The fastest women on the flying fish crew are Kim Barnes and Maddie Miller (who is Steve Miller's teenage daughter). Those two are probably the 2nd and 3rd fastest women in Florida, with only professional Seychelle being faster. Also racing SUPs were Nessa Brunton, Jen Hayes, and Donna Catron. Here are the results

1st Place Team B, total time 2:42:45
Eri Tenorio, 14x22 Flying Fish sup, 0:37:54 (new course record)
Mark Athanacio, 14x23 custom sup, 0:41:34
Steven Bernstein, 14x23 Flying Fish sup, 0:41:38
Kim Barnes, 14x22 Flying Fish sup, 0:41:39 (new women's course record)

2nd Place Team C, total time 2:43:01
Tim Warner, 14x23 Flying Fish sup, 0:39:12
Steven Miller, 14x22 Flying Fish sup, 0:39:13
Reid Hyle, 14x24 Flying Fish sup, 0:41:42
Maddie Miller, 14x21 Flying Fish sup, 0:42:54

3rd Place Team A, total time 2:56:40
James Douglass, 14x23 Riviera sup, 0:42:22
Matt Kearney, 14x24 Naish sup, 0:42:24
Bill Mussenden, 14x24 custom sup, 0:45:49
Cindy Gibson, 14x23 custom sup, 0:46:05

Tandem Kayak team, total time 4:04:52
Patrick Scheele and Kona the dog, 1:01:07
Meg Bosi and Kat Luchesi, 1:01:19

Incomplete team, total time n/a
Nessa Brunton, 14x23 Flying Fish sup, 0:52:27
Jen Hayes, 12'6x22 Hovie sup, 0:55:54
Donna Catron, 14x24 Flying Fish sup, 1:00:22

Play by play: When my team heard about the crack teams that Mark Athanacio had rallied together we knew we were out-gunned, but we still wanted to do our best. The night before the race we met at Upriver Ceramics (Matt Kearney's pottery studio on the river) to coordinate boards and strategy. Working as a team is not something that we often practice as sup racers, so it required a change of mindset, and some changes in gear. Cindy usually paddles a 12'6 board, but 14' boards are faster, so she tested some and decided to borrow one of Mark Athanacio's older boards. Matt Kearney also used a different board than his own, because his 25.5" wide board is a great in rough water but not as a fast as a narrow board in flat water. He tried a 14x22 custom Riviera and a 14x24 Naish Javelin during our practice and decided the Naish was easier to draft me with. Based on our relative paces, we determined that we would split into two groups, with Matt drafting me and Cindy drafting Bill. The other teams had similar cooperative drafting strategies, with the people of similar speed sticking together in clusters of 2 to 3, and a few going it alone.

Our plan worked perfectly until the race started. Each team started separately, and we were first. Tragically, Cindy fell off on her first stroke, and told Bill not to wait up, while Matt and I zoomed ahead of both Bill and Cindy. I went at a hard pace very similar to the pace I would go while racing solo; just a little bit smoother to make sure Matt could stay attached. It was hard to know what the optimal path was through the river because of the unclear current direction. At times I thought we might have been fighting reverse current, but I'm not sure. When Matt and I rounded the bridge at the halfway point we saw Bill first, then Eri Tenorio on his own, then Cindy. Cindy hadn't lost much distance on Bill, but Eri was tearing by everybody at amazing pace. I can't remember exactly what the order was of the people we passed, but I remember Team B had a three-person draft train of Mark Athanacio, Kim Barnes, and Steven Bernstein, who cooperatively traded leads the whole race. In team C Tim Warner and Steve Miller worked as a very fast pair, with Reid Hyle and Maddie Miller each going separately a bit further back.

On the upriver section there were some open water areas where a headwind knocked our speed down by 1 kph or so. In retrospect it might have been wise to hug the shoreline or make other route changes to minimize the wind. A little after the headwind sections, with 2 km still to go in the race, Eri Tenorio caught up with Matt and I. I took a few strokes to try to catch him as he went past, but his speed was >10 kph and I just couldn't keep up. That jazzed me up though, and I forgot about keeping a steady pace to keep Matt attached. Matt let me know he had dropped out of my draft and I slowed down for a minute or two for him to catch up before resuming the pace we'd been going before Eri came by. Nobody else passed us, and we crossed the line still in a draft train.

Here's my GPS track from the course:


The race committee was pretty quick about calculating every individual's time and team time. It was interesting to see how closely matched teams B and C were (just 16 seconds apart). Eri Tenorio's incredible course record time of 37:54 (10.21 kph average!) was a big advantage for his team, but Steven Miller and Tim Warner both getting ~0:39:12 (9.87 kph average!) helped their team a similar amount. Reid Hyle was lamenting that he might have cost his team the win by getting some debris stuck on his fin. Oh, well. Everyone on the first place team got $300, the second place team got $200, and third place got $100 each. So I made money on this race!

After the race there was lots of milling about, posing for pictures, and fussing over boards. The Flying Fish folks were nice about letting me try out some of their boards. I particularly liked the speed and light weight of Steven Miller's 14x22, but I'm not sure I'd be able to handle it in rough water conditions. Eri Tenorio's 14x22 had a little more rocker and was noticeably thicker, which I didn't like for flat water but might have been nice in rougher water.