LOCATION: Cape Story Paddleboard Race. Virginia Beach, VA.
I had been taking a SUP racing clinic for a few weeks now and felt I was ready. With the meetup group I was in, I was fast. However, I was also racing against other surf SUPs. There are two types of SUPs. A racing elite SUP and a Surf SUP. Racing elites are very long and narrow and cut through the water at a fast speed. Surf SUPs are good for surfing or paddle boarding, but are made for a more leisurely pace.
There were about 75 people that showed up for the race and only 4 people had Surf SUPs. The day was turning out to be a stormy one with lots of wind, which meant we would have the current up against us. We had to do 1.5 miles down to the pier (with the current) and 2.5 miles away from the pier and back to the start (against the current). After what seemed like forever, the race finally commenced.
Heading to the pier was easy since it was with the current and I managed to stay with a large group of people. However, once we hit the current, my Surf SUP decided that it was going to be a leisure paddle board and not cut through any of the heavy surf. For the next 2.5 miles, I suffered through high winds and hard currents and couldn’t even manage to stand up on my board. I proceeded with the race in a sitting position. I also had to consistently paddle on my left side so that I wasn’t pushed further out to sea. This made my arm extremely tired and weak since I would paddle and basically not go anywhere. I thought I was doing horrible, but I was actually in the lead for the Surfing SUPs. Wish I had known that at the time. At one point during the race, a pod of 4 dolphins came up to me and swam beside my board. Considering I was so far behind, I lagged a little to enjoy the swimming partners. As I looked ahead, I noticed another Surf SUPer passed me.
By the time I came to only half a mile left, all the elite racing boards had made it in, which made my Dad and Troy worry a little. But, I was still in 2nd place for the surf division. Even in 2nd, I felt completely alone since the two behind me were so SO far behind me. Eventually, I made it to the finish, battered and tired from the wind and current and begged to leave immediately since it was so bad.
It was days later when the results were emailed that I found out I came in 2nd. If I’d only kept going instead of playing with those dolphins! A lesson was learned though. I don’t like high currents. Hopefully, I’ll get to race again in better conditions.
* Thank you Troy and Dad for coming and supporting me in my race.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?: During a windy day? No. I also don’t want to race against racing type boards. Surf SUP is the only way for me to go since they are so slow in an ocean current.
HOW TO DO THIS: I found out about this race through a local paddle board meetup group that I’m in. However, a lot of races all over the world are located online and this site is great. http://www.supracer.com/calendar/