18th Day in Rockaway: Competitive Stand Up Paddle Boarding
I headed back to the beach where I had first done Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) on the bay for the annual Uncle Richies Paddle race. There was a kids race, a 3 mile recreational paddle race, and an 8 mile elite paddle race. I was there to spectate and cheer on my friends who were racing. It was a rainy morning so the race started late to let the skies (and more importantly any chance of lightning) pass while athletes fueled up on bagels and Top 40 tunes.
The Elite Race was called first, so the racers headed out into the water to setup their boards until the alarm sounded for their 8 mile race to begin. As the "course" was through a body of water, a jet-ski brought out huge white buoys to mark the course and the race director explained the direction of the paddle and where to look out for the buoys.
Because of the rain the recreational paddle was changed to a 2-mile course. They were called about 20 minutes later to lineup - resting their SUPs side by side in the water and waiting.
Once the whistle is blown, you can then get onto your SUP and head out on the water, everyone taking a slightly different path to the first buoy.
The full race results have not yet been posted but here's a photo of the winner Andrew and his wife Amy from the A Team Paddleboarding site:
All in all - an inspiring morning and a great way to see the SUP community of NYC come together for this awesome race and fundraiser!
By Sarah Knapp as part of the series 30 Days in the Rockaways