Last weekend I had the distinct pleasure of instilling heart-stopping, bone-chilling abject fear in five relatively unsuspecting adults.
I took them rowing under the Golden Gate Bridge.
All five are experienced flat water rowers from clubs near and far—Ashland Rowing Club in Oregon, Rio Salado Rowing Club in Arizona, and Marin Rowing Association just up the road in Greenbrae, California.
And all five signed on willingly for a two-day open ocean rowing clinic at Open Water Rowing Center in Sausalito.
But what they didn't know they'd signed on for were tide rips that would slap them broadside and ocean swells big enough rival the famed hills of San Francisco.
They didn't know these things but that didn't stop them. And it was awesome.
Sure, two of the rowers went for a swim when said tide rip grabbed their oars like an angry pitbull and threw them off their rhythm. And yes, one of the rowers confessed to cursing me as the rough water rocked his boat and wracked his nerves.
But the flip-ees got safely back in their boats (well done!) and all the rowers carried on as Stefan, Kellee, and I led the pack two miles out the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Diablo and back to Sausalito.
Roundtrip total: 8+ nautical miles of thrills, chills, and fun.
Each of the rowers now has a new definition of rough water and thanks to hard-won experience, every single one of them knows how to handle it.
I'm hoping to see them (and some of you) at the Open Ocean Regatta on April 13. There are three courses from which to choose—short, medium, and long (out the Gate). If you can't make it to the race, I hope you'll consider making it to Open Water Rowing. Let me know if you do.
By the way, if you'd like to see the full gallery of shots I took during the clinic, go here and click "browse."