By Laura Schmidt//Photos by Lauren Chenault
Paddleboarders from all across Long Island and from surrounding states paddled against the elements Aug. 25, to compete in the Fifth Annual SUP at the Bay Shore Yacht Club (BYC), which has been officially renamed The Great South Bay Race.
More than 50 paddlers participated in a one-mile fun race, a three-mile race suitable for all recreational paddlers and a six-mile race for those more advanced, on a sunny, albeit windy Sunday morning, to support the environmental nonprofit Save The Great South Bay.
Even after paddling against the wind on the way to the finish line, people were coming out of the water with big smiles, hugging each other and saying how much fun they had.
The event, sponsored by South Shore Paddleboards, included a pre-race breakfast, free T-shirt with registration, raffles, post-race lunch, provided partly by Swell Taco, drinks, music and an awards ceremony.
South Shore Paddleboards owner Karen Marvin felt extremely honored to be supported by the BYC to be able to keep the race going for the past five years.
“I have to say this race would not even be remotely possible if it was not for the Bay Shore Yacht Club who goes above and beyond every single year to have this race in efforts to support the Great South Bay,” Marvin said.
Paddlers of all ages competed, the youngest was just 11 years old.
Two of the top winners for the six-mile race who received trophies were Jack Egan from Connecticut, with a time of 1:12 and 14-year-old Robert Fioresi from East Islip, who came in at 1:29.
TJ Lynch, after coming in last place the previous year, placed first in the men’s 18-49 category in the three-mile race, with a time of 42:16. Tracee Vanburen placed first in the women’s 18-49 category in the three-mile race with a time of 42:50.
“When it’s windy like this, I don’t have rentals and I don’t do lessons because it’s not that easy to battle, but you all did it, and you did it very successfully,” Marvin said. “I’m really proud of every single one of you.”
Post-race raffles included a paddleboard donated by Marvin, a $200 gift card to Anthony Scotto restaurants, a complementary teeth cleaning and whitening by Mark J. Harris M.D. in Babylon and a new paddleboard fin.
“The awards are a big part of it but having fun is a bigger part of it,” Marvin said. “Let’s just remember that it’s not always about the trophy. It’s about the family and the stoke that we all created today.”
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