The first annual Lone Star Paddle Fest brought in the heat with over a hundred paddlers to the beaches of Little Elm on Lake Lewisville in North Texas. A perfect Texas summer day, hot sand and steamy SUP racing action and a gathering of new paddle board companies from around Texas and competitors from California, Florida and Hawaii. Lots of development amongst the SUP world over the past four years in Texas and now finally a race that has laid the foundation for a bright future in the lone star state. Everything is bigger in Texas and so was the turnout thanks to Rio SUP the event host and to the jams and voice of Stoke Radio and the paddle dude who kept the day flowing.
Hats down national anthem and then game on for the first races of the day, the elite distance race 10K, featuring paddlers like Infinity team rider Sean P, King’s Garrett Fletcher and several of the KM Hawaii team riders. Top Texas paddler, Art in Surf pro Joe Cerdas up from Galveston helped officiate the races and local Texan athletes like DFW Surf team paddlers Tyler Marshall and Nate Richard representing North Texas. Battle of the paddle Texas style with an uphill horseshoe beach run at the end of each lap and a water splash finish line courtesy of SUP Gladiator’s Casey Gotcher. Garrett Fletcher leading the way and taking first overall, but the highlight of the race might have been the 200 yard sprint finish for seventh and eighth overall and Tyler Marshall winning by a sandy hair at the top of the beach hill and Shelby Taylor winning by nearly eight minutes.
The rec race followed the elite battle and local company DFW Surf winning the majority of the divisions. Noteable Brett Huff, founder of KM Hawaii, taking second in the 14 division and Debbie Cunningham, founder of Turtle Island SUP in Tyler, TX, taking first place in hers. Then the free kids race took place and local groms hopped on boards for their first time, some even lucky enough to score a high priced racing board. The days races concluded with sprint races and a left shoulder turn into an increasing southern wind and the “Fastest in the West” title on the line awarded to Felipe Hernandez, the overall mens champ at the first annual paddle fest. Live music to follow the awards ceremony and a special outdoor screening of Soul Surfer. Making waves in North Texas at the Lone Star Paddle Fest, now officially on the map in the SUP world and a top flat water destination for years to come.
By: Tyler Marshall