SUP and water sports in general got off to a slow start in 2013, in large part due to cold, rainy weather that stuck around right up until the 4th of July weekend.
This effectively put “on the water” training on hold for many folks on eastern Long Island. In fact, many athletes reverted to cycling, yoga, swimming and other forms of training to get ready for the SUP race season.
We did catch a break for the Race for the Bays, on Saturday, May 18th. Sunny skies and light Northeast winds graced the course, as 60 plus paddlers took off around a 3 / 6 mile course. Havens Beach and Northwest Harbor make for a great early season course providing shelter from our Spring time easterly winds.
In spite of the short runway for training, respectable times were posted in both the Mens and Womens divisions. Race Sponsors Werner Paddles and Surftech Paddleboards generously contributed great race prizes and raffle items which were greatly appreciated by all.
The weather slowly improved in late May and early June and local racers did get more time on the water and the Hamptons paddling stoke improved dramatically.
June 22nd, Beach Lane, Wainscott. 55 racers lined up to enter the surf and commence what would be the East Coasts first Surf Zone down wind SUP race. Racers stretched out on the soft sandy beach as the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad readied the course. Kialoa’s Marc Angililo and PR Timing’ s Greg Sauntners held the line and counted down the start and racers charged the surf zone and rounded the first turn Buoy to the East.
Guided by light Southwest winds and an incoming tide, racers stealthily got through the break and headed east paddling along East Hamptons beautiful ocean beaches.
Surf conditions were moderate providing a comfortable ride for racers as they worked their way down wind towards the finish south of the Promised Land. I do think some participants would have liked to see a little more push from the light West winds that graced our race. The course ended at Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett, close to 7 miles in all. The final turn buoy, set on a sand bar break, made for an interesting final leg and a few participants caught some sweet waves, providing for a super fun glide into the beach and finish. Sponsors Kialoa Paddles, Land Shark Lager, Vita Coco Water and Hobie Paddle Boards added a lot of stoke to this first ever event.
The summer soon kicked into high gear with some local racers venturing to Connecticut, Vermont and Cape Cod to participate in various regional races.
Just as we thought, it would be impossible to create any more Hamptons energy during the busy summer of 2013, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s “Paddle for Pink” was upon us. Special Guests Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece made quite an entrance the morning of August 17th greeting racers and local kids eager for an autograph and photo opportunity. With over 150 racers signed up to participate, the race start was split into two heats. One for elite (6 mile) racers and the other for recreational (3 mile) racers. It was great to see so many recreational athletes on the water supporting the good work of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of the Hamptons. After a lot of Hamptons fan fare the race was on with a hotly contested Elite Division. Up and Comer Taylor Resnik bested local favorite Scott Bradley(2nd place) to take first Place and Main Beaches own Lars Svanberg took 3rd. In the Womens Elite division Stepanie Schindler took first, Mary Scheerer second and local tri-athelete, Sinead Fitzgibbons third place.
Laird was an amazing M/C, paddling and offering encouragement to the recreational athletes and ensuring that a good time was had by all.
After the awards ceremony and some great prizes from Werner Paddles and Hobie Paddleboards, it was off to an amazing Hamptons Party at the home of BCRF hosts Richard and Lisa Perry. A special shout out to Maria Baum, for all her hard work networking and organizing this truly monumental event.
September was spectacular, delivering east swell and warm waters as the Hamptons mellowed into the fall season.
Columbus day weekend was soon upon us and the race for Ocean Rescue. This race has become a fall tradition on the east end with its amazing down wind course and stoke provided by paying respects to the local lifeguard crew that makes all our races possible.
The forecast for Race day advised 15 to 20 mph winds from the east /northeast and a course change was eminent. After running the course with Lars and Evelyn on Friday we were pretty confident that we could run the race from East to West.
Numerous phone calls went back and forth to Ocean Rescue and after a fair amount of deliberation we were on for race day.
8am, Saturday, October,12th, 70 racers congregated at Eddie Ecker State Park to brave what would be 20-25 knot winds from the East North East. The East Hampton Ocean Rescue squad laid out the buoys, including an oversized Landshark Lager Buoy that would mark a portage site on Hicks Island that would lead paddlers to Nappeague Harbor, saving what would be a 1 mile upwind loop that would require paddlers to bang upwind at the end of a demanding race course.
At 9am we readied the line and announced that the first leg out to the first turn buoy could be done kneeling down on the boards, hence out of the wind. The starters gun sounded and the paddlers were off, banging into a stiff 20 knot headwind. Rounding the first and second turn buoy, racers fought to stay on their boards as they turned West and got into the downwind flow.
With sustained winds pushing 25 kts the downwind leg of the race was both challenging and very rewarding. Insane rides on honest 2 to 3 foot faces sometimes gliding 50 feet or more. As racers approached the Landshark portage buoy they enjoyed the longest rides of the day skimming over a beautiful sandbar located on the East side of Hicks Island. A quick portage over the island and we were in Nappeague Harbor, sprinting towards the finish, located at the lazy point ramp.
Michael Mignone of Westhampton took first pace in the Mens 14 foot division with Lars Svanberg in second and Taylor Resnick in third. Kim Reilly took first place in the Womens Elite division followed by Mary Scheerer and Marta Downine.
The post race party was held at the Ocean Rescue Dory Barn and a great time was had by enjoying a great Barbeque and beverages from Landshark Lager.
Thanks to all of our sponsors and participants and we look forward to the upcoming 2014 season.
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