Expired Bridge to Bridge (kayak/SUP)

     February 26, 2023
    •  July 1, 2023
       6:30 am - 11:30 am
    We're sorry, but all tickets sales have ended because the event is expired.

    This swim begins at the beach near the West Bluff Picnic Area. Swimmers jump in at the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, swim toward Alcatraz, then turn in toward land and follow the shoreline all the way around San Francisco to Pier 24 near the base of the Bridge Bridge.  Paddlers will escort swimmers, help them to correct their sighting, and provide emergency support as needed. You must have your own kayak or SUP to participate, but experience is not necessary. We will help you get started and teach you more on the water in each event that you support. This is a very long swim, so paddlers will receive boat rides from the finish back to the West Bluff Picnic Area.

    To sign up, get a free kayaker ticket and then check your email for a registration confirmation. You must provide a valid mailing address where you can receive payment, and also to confirm at sign-in that we are paying the correct person. You may also request to be paid electronically.

    Paddlers will    launch from West Bluff Picnic Area    and    finish at Bay Bridge near Pier 24

    Please review your responsibilities as a kayaker before signing up.

    Event Schedule

    6:30 am - Meet at West Bluff Picnic Area in the Presidio, gear up, and sign in.

    6:45 am - Briefing. Be fully ready to launch at this time.

    7:00 am - Launch and begin paddling to the jump point.

    7:30 am - Swimmers jump and swim starts.


    This information is subject to change. Registered paddlers will receive an email from the kayak lead prior to race day confirming details.



    Equipment reminders:

    • PFD or Lifejackets are REQUIRED by US Coast Guard for any paddler kayak or SUP.
    • Marine radio.  We usually use Channel 72 though that may change. 
    • Sound producing devices, such as a whistle or air horn, required 
    • Warm Clothing and a Windbreaker.  Dress for the water and in layers. 
    • Wetsuit, paddle pants, or kayak clothing.  No cotton hoodies!  Dress for the water.
    • Water, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, chapstick etc.
    • Pocket snacks, bars or Gel for on the water.  
    • Warm dry clothing for after the paddle.
    • A Dry bag for keys, phones etc.  We recommend ‘doubling up’ for safety.
    • A smile… If you don’t have one ask us… we have plenty to share! 

    Please review the paddler guidelines here, including details about PFDs:



    • Cold!  The water temps are 52-55’ Swimmers can get panicked, disoriented and hypothermic and so can paddlers!  Make sure you are dressed for the water, not the sunshine.  Many paddlers wear wetsuits or neoprene paddle outfits plus a windbreaker. 
    • Currents!  Currents in the bay can reach several knots pushing both paddlers and swimmers off course either into or away from the shore.  This year's Ebb currents have been stronger than expected due to extreme levels of snowmelt.  Plan on paddling more upstream than usual  
    • Other Boats!  Part of why we are there is to be as visible as possible.  Beware of large ships (container ships) as they move much faster than you expect.  Never get in front of a container ship.  Smaller boats may try to cut through the course.  If they do,  stay close to your swimmers and let us know on the radio. 

    On the Radio;  Generally Channel 72

    Speak Clearly and slowly.  Say who you want to talk to  and give your name so we know who we’re talking to. (i.e.  “Patrick this is (your name) do you see that sailboat to the west?”

    Give a Location:    Give a brief description of where you are and what you look like.  (i.e.  “I’m on the west side of the course, near the back with a yellow paddle up.”)

    Stay Calm   (or fake it and Sound Calm)  it’s easier to understand on the radio and it keeps the swimmers calmer.  Paddlers too!

    Keep the Channel Clear.  Remember we have one (1) channel for everyone to share and there may be other boaters or events in the background too!  Save the stories till afterwords please. 

    If in Doubt Wave and Shout!  Radios malfunction, batteries die.  Sometimes we can’t hear.  Uf your radio isnt working and you need help, put your paddle straight up in the air and keep it there.  Blow your whistle or shout for another kayaker to assist you and they can use the radio. 


    ! Your Safety Comes First! 

    ! Never put yourself at risk and stay in your boat. 

    ! Sometimes the best thing to do is call for help!

    •  Minor Issues.  Swimmers often have minor issues and may need assistance. Sometimes they just need a moment to acclimate to the cold, sometimes a reassuring paddler nearby can help them stay calm and keep swimming.  
    • Check with the swimmer by using the “Are You Okay?” (one Fist tapping the top of your head) signal.  They may continue or they may ask to hold on to your boat. 
    • Tell the swimmer to Grab the Bow (front)  of your boat.  If they grab the sides or try to climb on board they may tip you over!
    • Ask the swimmer “Do You Want to Continue?” If they say yes then keep an eye on them but let them continue.  If they say No or are unable to answer or panicking then Signal for Help.
    •  Medical Emergencies.  Aka “BLUE SWIMMER”
        1. Any swimmer that is confused, looks lost, is unable to swim, breathe or keep their head above water or who is being kept afloat by another swimmer should be considered an emergency and immediately pulled out of the water. 
        2. Any complaints of severe medical problems should be signaled for pickup and medically evaluated on the boat Not in the Water.
    •  “Signal for Pickup”
        1. A swimmer may be cold, tired or feeling ill or just unable to continue.  If the swimmer has been holding onto your boat for more than a minute or so or just wants to ride the boat home paddlers should signal for pickup.  This is for Non-emergency pickups and may take some time but Stay with this SwimmerI until they are on the boat or decide to continue. 
    • On the Radio-  Radio “Waterworld Waterworld this is paddler (your name) Signal For Pickup” and give your location and description. (i.e.  “yellow kayak, red Pfd. We’re a quarter mile off of Fort Mason”…(or wherever you are.)
    • Then Keep Your Paddle Up!  Keep your paddle straight up and down so we can see you from far away.


        !  If a swimmer becomes unconscious try to keep their head above water. Don’t get out of your boat!  Grab their wetsuit or an arm or whatever you can, enlist other swimmers and paddlers to help.  Call for help on the radio (“say BLUE SWIMMER 3 times and give your location”  

       ! Don’t let a swimmer try to climb on board your kayak or Sup!  They will knock you both in the water.  Give them the bow of your boat and have them hold on.  They just have to keep their head out of water until pickup,  

       ! Keep the swimmer talking.  Ask them questions like where they are from etc.  Keep them focused.

    Swimmers in Distress (tips)

    1. Any swimmer waving at you should be considered to be in distress
    2. Any swimmer not moving in the water, not swimming, back floating (or obviously front floating) is considered to be in distress. 
    3. A swimmer that stops, turns around as if lost, keeps looking back at the boat or starts swimming backwards on the course may be in distress. 
    4. A swimmer that stops for too long, is floating vertically without trying to swim, that takes off their goggles or has problems with their gear for more than a few seconds may be in distress. 
    5. A swimmer that starts and stops, can't catch their breath or keep swimming may be in distress, but they may still finish the swim.  Reassure them that they’re not alone and they can keep going or stop anytime they want without judgment.  They can even get dropped off closer to the end so they can tell everyone that they ‘finished.’

    Other situations   

    1. Be Encouraging.  Some swimmers have never tried anything like this before. 
    2. Take Care of the Basics.  Sometimes a swimmer just needs help with a wetsuit zipper or a second to fix leaky goggles
    3. Panicked swimmers may just need some psychology work. Calm them, see where they are mentally, and get them moving forward. It might just be some reassurance that is needed.
    4. Do not worry about time, focus on getting the athletes along the route. Swimmers are NOT DISQUALIFIED, may need to be moved to a more advantageous position in the water.  Remind them that it happens to us all sometimes!
    5. Watch for hypothermia. Visual Shivering, pale skin, numb fingers and hands. Hypothermic swimmers are considered “medical” and should be called in. If you are unsure… call for a pickup.  We can always assess a swimmer on the boat and drop them back in.
    6. Don’t Diagnose on the Water.  We’re there to guide, assist and rescue.  If they need more interventions or assessment we’ll do it on the boat.
    7. Don’t tow the swimmer.  No kayak Uber please!  We don't want you getting exhausted or hurt by towing a swimmer.  They can hang on for a  minute or two after that call for pickup… (If the swimmer can’t keep swimming they’re going to get colder and colder and be less likely to continue.) 
    8. Uncooperative or Abusive swimmers, Swimmers that will not stay on course, ignore directions or are abusive, threatening or otherwise disruptive should be communicated to the lead kayaker and vessel support.   Obtain a name or number, and pass the info that you need an assist. It is possible the swimmer is hypothermic or having a medical situation and cannot follow directions.  There may be behavior that coaches will need to intervene with.  Try your best to redirect the swimmer to stay safe and on course and call for backup.  
    9. Sea Life  It’s rare to have negative interactions with sea life. Seeing curious seals, bay dolphins and even the occasional whale is possible and wonderful.  If you see sea creatures don’t panic, stay close to your swimmers and just keep moving.  

    Any questions let me or one of the coaches know.

    And thank you again. What we do is valued, it's special and it's hopefully... a lot of fun.

    This information is subject to change. Registered paddlers will receive an email from the kayak lead prior to race day confirming details.



    West Bluff Picnic Area, Long Avenue, San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, California, 94129, United States