The third race in the WPA National Point Series and the Salt Life Cup was held on May 2nd 2015. Over 300 competitors headed out around “the southernmost point” for the recreational, elite, and Special Olympics races in the Key West Classic. The recreational race was a 4-mile out and back course, while the 12-mile course circumnavigated Key West.
Strong winds made Saturday’s races quite the challenge. The race directors sent the race off earlier than originally scheduled to get paddlers through some key parts of the course before a tidal switch, which seemed to do the trick, because all paddlers were able to finish the grueling course! After starting on the south side of the island, racers headed north and were met with a fierce wind. A good portion of the course was a combination of head wind and cross chop. The bulk heads along the west side of the course cause waves to deflect back at racers, presenting challenges from all angles. Heading north through the sail boar mooring area was equally challenging with the wind coming at a slight angle. The first break racers had was presented before Cow Key Channel. Even then, racers towards the front of the pack made it to the channel before the tide shift and had to battle against the tide before making the final turn along the south side of the island. Racers that took a little longer had a nice break in Cow Key Channel. Once on the final stretch, there were a few rideable bumps to help paddlers along, but it was a hot day once on the leeward side of the island! Athletes from the Monroe County chapter of the Special Olympics completed the Elite race. The short course was held on the south side of the island, and provided paddlers with a fun race hidden from the Key’s infamous winds. After paddlers completed their races, everyone had some time to enjoy the Key West sun before the after party at Turtle Kraals. On Sunday, there were sprint races, Special Olympic races, kids races, and team relays. The Special Olympics course was open to any Special Olympics Florida SUP athlete at no charge.
Men’s 14′ Elite
William Swezey Jr
Women’s 12’6″ Elite
Full Results are available on PaddleGuru.com