Tag Archives: standup paddle boarding

Race of the Week: Friends of the Wekiva River at Kings Landing Canoe, Kayak and SUP Race

By Pete Williams

Only advanced racers like her need apply

Anyone who has attempted the Friends of the Wekiva River at Kings Landing Canoe and Kayak Race in the past knows it’s a challenging 8.5-mile, downstream event.

For this year’s event, which takes place Saturday, March 26 at 8:30 a.m. in Apopka, stand-up paddleboarding has been added to the mix. But it might not be an event for novice SUP enthusiasts says David Rose of Paddleboard Orlando, one of the sponsors of the event. “It’s a long course and a test of will,” he says. “There aren’t a lot of places to just pull ashore.”

Location: Kings Landing, Apopka, Fla.

History: This event goes back several years but with the growth and popularity of stand-up paddleboarding, this is the first year where SUP has been offered.

Format: Timed event, paddlers draw for start positions and leave on one-minute intervals. Organizers provide a free shuttle back to Kings Landing. Divisions include men’s race, men’s recreational, and women’s recreational. Awards to top three finishers in each class.

Schwag: T-shirt and raffle ticket to win a kayak.

Signature Feature: The Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run are one of the few remaining near-pristine river systems in Central Florida

Cost: $30 race day

Race Website: Click HERE

Comment: “This is more of an advanced course, but that’s what makes it interesting,” – David Rose, Paddleboard Orlando

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The Perfect Workout?

By Pete Williams

Paddling Safety Harbor

Stand-up paddle boarding has exploded in popularity over the last two years because it combines water recreation with an incredible core workout.

I’ve found a way to take that one step further. Much like putting a weight on a baseball bat or training with a weighted vest, SUP is more difficult with a few extra pounds on the board.

Like, say, an extra 105 pounds.

I loaded a Yolo Board Eco Trainer with my two sons, who weigh 57 and 48 pounds, respectively. (They’re very good swimmers and we didn’t venture far from shore.) We headed out of Philippe Park in Safety Harbor, which as the name suggests has some of the calmest water in the Tampa Bay area.

We saw stingrays, mullet, and some fish we couldn’t identify. The boys got a better view of the water than they could from a boat, canoe, or kayak and Dad’s workout became that much more challenging, especially with their tendency to constantly shift on the board.

After I left them off on the shore for a snack with Mom, I headed back out. It felt like the donut had come off the bat and I cruised around the park. My adult paddle didn’t last for long as I was summoned back to shore to reload.

When the boys were smaller, I never could get used to a baby jogger. It was awkward for me and boring for them. But with SUP, I can grow stronger as they get bigger, though we’re already pushing the weight limit.

Hmmm. Great workout. Family time. Kids having a blast.

I think I’m on to something here.

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Race of the Week: Yolo Board Winter Race Series No.4

By Pete Williams

Chuck Patterson (right) is one of the top athletes in stand-up paddle boarding

Brody Welte figures there were just 20 people in the entire Tampa Bay area participating in stand-up paddling when he moved to St. Petersburg from Hawaii just two years ago.

On Saturday, the owner of Stand Up Fitness likely will have at least three times that many people in the fourth race in his Yolo Board Winter Race Series. The sport of “SUP” is exploding nationally and perhaps nowhere more than in Florida because of the Sunshine State’s year-round warm weather and flat, calm water.

The sport embraces newcomers. It’s not unusual for someone to take a lesson and enter a race the following day. Though some “veterans” of the sport (who took it up way back in 2007 or ’08) will navigate the course quickly, most will finish at a more leisurely pace. I entered a race in October after just two brief stints and will be out there Saturday.

Location: Clearwater Community Sailing Center1001 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater

History: This is the fourth and final race of the Yolo Board Winter Race Series. The second race also took place at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center in January. The event’s organizer, Brody Welte of Stand Up Fitness Inc., also is the organizer of the second-annual Gulf Coast Stand Up Paddleboard Championship (May 21-22) in Madeira Beach, which is quickly emerging as one of the top SUP events on the East Coast.

Format: Paddlers compete in four categories: 12’6 and under stock board, 12’6 race board, 14′ race board and unlimited board. There’s a single four-mile race with paddlers entering the water in two waves: race boards and stock boards. For paddlers who have been competing in the four-event series, this race will determine the winners. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with a mandatory paddlers meeting at 10:30. Race begins at 11 a.m.

Schwag: Green T-shirts in honor of St. Patrick’s Day week. Similar design to the popular styles for the previous three races.

Signature Feature: Bow-tie course layout is technical, but not too challenging for less experienced paddlers.

Post-Race: Barbecue included with entry fee; $5 for guests

Cost: $35 pre-registration, $40 race-day

Sign-Up: Active.com

Comment: “We’ve had a strong turnout all winter even with it being a little chilly, but with the beautiful March weather we should have ideal conditions and a great turnout.” – Brody Welte, race director

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Filed under Race of the Week, Races, SUP