Blog #24- August 9, 2023
Afterward from CEO & Race Director, Carsten Heron
As posted on FaceBook
What an incredible race the inaugural World’s Toughest Row – Pacific 2023 has been!
After the finish of the 2022/23 Atlantic race in April, we were very excited to get to Monterey, California and get started on delivering our first Pacific race. The wider network and community of Monterey warmly welcomed the race and our competitors. We were absolutely blown away by the local support and interest by public passers-by as well as those more intrinsically linked to the race. Our 14 teams arriving in Monterey signified the start of something special – both during the 12 days pre-race period, but also the start of a binding and fruitful relationship for years to come.
As we have said so many times, our destinations are part of our DNA and become an incredibly important part of the race we deliver. The support, patience and trust from the people of Monterey made the inaugural Pacific race start with success and with a bang!
The race itself saw challenges afresh. 22 of our 49 rowers had already rowed the Atlantic and were ready for a different challenge - the Pacific did not disappoint! This ocean gave our teams cold weather, big sea states, lost rudders, blisters, sea sickness to name but a few. This race changed the narrative of ocean rowing – its opened up another thread of conversation, training requirements and drive. The challenges our teams faced on this race were immense – but they were embraced with unwavering determination, true grit and focus.
An incredible 5 world records have been broken and created during this race, with the teams stories of their individual and collective journeys being shared across the World.
Each and every one of our rowers are the heart and soul of everything we do, and without their passion, the race isn’t deliverable. We had rowers join the World’s Toughest Row - Pacific from 13 countries across the world, and it has been a privilege to share this journey with you all. To the followers of the race, both new and old, your support means the world to us and has been a driving force for both us as race organisers and our inspirational rowers who take on this challenge.
Having Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i as a finish destination was not without its challenges. At first glance, the logistics of having a finish in a bay without marina may have appeared too much of a challenge but when I first visited the island in 2022 and parked up in Hanalei Bay, I knew right away that this needed to be the view and the experience of every rower that completes the Pacific race. The astounding images captured of the race finish show the jaw dropping, breath taking beauty of what actually is paradise personified, but adding the local community, the paddle clubs who went out and escorted our teams safely onto land, and the kids presenting the leis and singing the Oli Mahalo. Friends that are now AC family gave us the finish line of dreams on this amazing route. A big Mahalo is not enough.
I would like to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to both communities for their generosity in allowing us to host our race in the Monterey, California and Hanalei Bay, Kaua’i.
I would lastly like to say a big thankyou to our partners, the associated authorities, the AC staff, and lastly, our rowers and their families and friends. This happens because of you all.
We now look forward to kicking off the next ocean rowing season in just 125 days! With 40 teams getting ready to head to La Gomera – We can’t wait to get started!
Dec 12 - World's Toughest Row - Atlantic 2023