Inland SUP racing hit a high this year with several big events, new racers and SUP enthusiasts getting on board from all over. The southern region itself is exploding with new companies and races from Florida to Louisiana, including the Island Paddle race at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. One of the concluding inland events of the year, one week before BOP, and a great end to the 2014 SUP season.
In only its second year the Island Paddle race is already a must stop and one of the only cash prize races in the southern WPA region. Take aloha, combine it with some local flavor and a group of Hawaiian paddlers and a tight 5K multi-turn battle and you have the Island Paddle.
On Friday the Galveston Paddleboard Center hosted a SUP Clinic with Tyler Marshall and Nate Richard and then everyone headed over to Texas Surf Co for the pre-party in between some descent surf sets in the Galveston Gulf. Over a hundred paddlers registered and ready to go, drinks and then rest for the big day.
Race day kicked off with a Hawaiian ceremony opener, followed by the National Anthem and a riders meeting. The conditions were pretty gnarly with heavy wind gusts up to twenty mph and paddlers on 14 foot and even unlimited boards. Some were there just to paddle and finish while others battled it out for a podium spot and a chance for some cash. Congrats to locals Joe Cerdas and Ellie Cherryhomes who topped the way in both overall and sprints.
Special thanks to Moody Gardens for allotting Island Paddle to a great venue at the heart of G Bay. See you next year down south for year three of SUP action G Bay style.
by Tyler Marshall