Karl Kruger reunited with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Dagny, as he arrived Sunday on the dock in Ketchikan, Alaska as the first person to complete the 750-mile Race to Alaska on a paddle board. (Zach Carver/R2AK)

Karl Kruger reunited with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Dagny, as he arrived Sunday on the dock in Ketchikan, Alaska as the first person to complete the 750-mile Race to Alaska on a paddle board. (Zach Carver/R2AK)

Orcas Island man becomes first ever to finish R2AK on paddle board

KETCHIKAN — After just over two weeks of paddling, Karl Kruger has become the first person to complete the 750-mile Race to Alaska on a stand-up paddle board.

Kruger, 45, of Orcas Island arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska, just after 5 p.m. Sunday after 14 days, 6 hours and 17 minutes after paddling 710-miles from Victoria, B.C. There he was reunited with his wife, Jessica, who had been providing updates on her Facebook page throughout the race, and daughter Dagny at the dock finish line.

Kruger’s plan for the race was to paddle 100 miles per day to finish the Race to Alaska (R2AK) in a week, according to his R2AK team profile. While that didn’t quite work out, Kruger is still the first on a solely human-powered craft, and easily the smallest craft, to cross the finish line this year.

Kruger, aka Team Heart of Gold, finished the race ahead of several teams, including rowers, kayakers and a few small sailboats.

According to Jessica Kruger’s Facebook page, Karl Kruger packed light, eating mostly gel cubes and nutrient shakes. He was able to grab some real food on his way to Alaska — a burger in both Alert Bay and Bella Bella in British Columbia.

There were two other paddle boarders in this year’s race, Team Fueled On Stoke Part I and II, but they dropped out mid-race after a bout of the flu.

This year was Kruger’s second attempt to paddle the R2AK. Last year, he made it across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria but roughly 100 miles into the 710-miles to Ketchikan, his board broke and he was forced to quit.

Coming in behind Kruger is Team Nomadica, which was expected to finish Monday night.

Team Rush Aweigh, KELP and Grace B were all sailing near British Columbia’s Porcher Island as of Monday afternoon.

Team VIZ Reporter and Rod Price Adventure, two solo paddlers who teamed up near Seymour Narrows last weekend, were also paddling north near Porcher Island.

Team Oaracle, two rowers, and Team Make It So are both past the halfway point at Bella Bella. Just behind them in last place is Dan Gilbert of Team GAR, who was sailing and peddling north along Hunter Island on Monday afternoon.

This year was the R2AK’s third running. The race is organized by the Northwest Maritime Center and is open to all watercraft with one stipulation, there can be no engine. The race doesn’t have classes or handicaps, just $10,000 for the winner and for second place, a set of steak knives.

Team Pure &Wild won this year’s race at 3:05 p.m. June 15, only six minutes before Team Big Broderna.

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]

Karl Kruger arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska on Sunday as the first paddle-boarder to ever complete the 750-mile Race to Alaska. (Katrina Zoe Norbom/R2AK)

Karl Kruger arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska on Sunday as the first paddle-boarder to ever complete the 750-mile Race to Alaska. (Katrina Zoe Norbom/R2AK)

Karl Kruger paddles through Falls Narrows, one of the many channels he paddled to completed the 750-mile Race to Alaska from Port Townsend to Ketchikan, Alaska. (Liv von Oelreich/R2AK)

Karl Kruger paddles through Falls Narrows, one of the many channels he paddled to completed the 750-mile Race to Alaska from Port Townsend to Ketchikan, Alaska. (Liv von Oelreich/R2AK)

More in News

COVID-19 vaccine clinics on Peninsula to resume Tuesday

State announces plan to provide 45,000 shots daily

Alan and Karen Selig were among the gleaners volunteering at Joyce's Blueberry Haven last summer. (Photo courtesy of Sharah Truett/WSU Clallam County Extension)
Summer tastes are still alive

Volunteer gleaners share with schools, friends and family

Clallam County Heritage Board accepting applications for grants

The Clallam County Heritage Advisory Board is accepting applications for historic preservation… Continue reading

A piece of driftwood sits on the beach on Friday at the edge of the western portion of Port Angeles Harbor. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Port of Port Angeles nearing deal for harbor cleanup

Potential liable parties also include city of Port Angeles

More than 1,300 in Clallam County receive shot for COVID-19

Jefferson to begin vaccinations this week

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Bill Chastain of Port Angeles receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine from Shaina Gonzales of the North Olympc Healthcare Network during Saturday's vaccination clinic at Port Angeles High School.
Appointment-only system used in Port Angeles

An appointment-only system of scheduling allowed Port Angeles to… Continue reading

Sequim group forms against present council

Petition urges reinstatement of city manager

Students to get more in-person learning

Schedules vary among districts

Most Read