As I transition into paddleboard racing, I always find so many aspects that are different (and better) than the running races I am more accustomed to. The biggest difference is how kind and encouraging EVERYONE is. Now, there are a ton of runners at races who are super kind and encouraging, but it’s nothing like the atmosphere at a paddle race. Part of the reason is likely that the local paddle racing community isn’t huge so everyone gets to know each other pretty quickly, but part of it is the culture of the sport. How can you be in a bad mood when you are on the water? At my very first race, everyone was so supportive and offered all kinds of tips and information on how to improve and what races to sign up for. This is my second year racing, and the athletes I have met have taken me under their wing.
The Shore Paddle Race took place on June 17th on the Shrewsbury River. The conditions were flat and a light wind, and many of the racers were also at the Treasure Island Paddle as well. This 5 mile race was 3 loops around a marked course. For me – that meant a lot of turns which I never practice for. My excuse for not practicing turns is that I don’t want to fall in the river. I need to get over this and fast.
I was chasing 2 other females the entire race, while trying to stay ahead of someone else who was hot on my tail. Going into the 3rd and final lap, one of the girls ahead of me fell in and I thought I had a shot at passing her, but my wide turns put me too far off course to make up enough time, and I ended up finishing as the 3rd female overall and the 3rd place female in the 12’6″ division. Shout out to my friend Kate and her 4th place division finish in her 1st race ever!!!
This race was to race money for the Clean Ocean Action charity. I loved how everything at the race was reusable, and even the trophies were recycled from previous events. My 3rd place trophy was from a rodeo :). The race was run very well and I will definitely be returning next year.
I feel very at home in this community and respect all of the competitors out there on the water. As I have gotten more competitive , and even earned some hardware, I have come to realize that the water is an extra element that can help or hinder your performance. Some paddlers are crazy good at fighting the headwind, and some are better sprinters, some have super tight turns (not me at all), but all have to respond to the conditions of the wind and water. This makes it anybody’s race on any day. You can’t go in thinking you have anything in the bag, but you can know that no matter what the outcome – everyone will be rooting for you – even if you beat them.
❤ Paddle on, Carly