By Shayne Benowitz
It was an exciting weekend for standup paddleboard (SUP) racing in Key West with the annual Key West Paddleboard Classic 12 Mile Race around the island. This was the second year that Fury’s own Captain Westy served as race coordinator. Easily the fastest growing water sport today, Westy has been a vanguard in popularizing paddleboarding in Key West.
This year’s race nearly doubled in its number of entrants to almost 300 racers ready to battle the current, the wind, and the hot sun in a grueling circumnavigation of Key West. Some of the top paddlers around the country turned out to compete in what is becoming one of the hottest races of the season.
Not only standup paddleboards, but also kayaks, dories, sea cycles, surf skis, and prone racers took to the starting line at Smather’s Beach. Among them was Fury’s own Eliza Warren who competed for the first time and finished in 5:02:15. Quite an accomplishment!
Fury’s friendly check-in-gal-cum-fabulous-photographer Megan Ellis was there with her camera snapping hundreds of photos to create a stunning photo journal of the event. And of course, Fury’s dynamic duo, owners Scott and Marius cheered the racers at the start line while the lovely Nicole and Annabelle encouraged them on at Mallory Square.
At Fury, we’re proud sponsors of the Key West Paddleboard Classic and very excited to see the sport continue its evolution. Congratulations to Westy for another great race! If you want to test out your skills on a paddleboard while in Key West, Westy has recently launched Paddle Republic offering clinics and instruction from Smathers Beach. Also, check out Lazy Dog for rentals from Hurricane Hole.
Shayne Benowitz is a freelance writer and Fury crewmember. Follow her on Twitter @ShayneBenowitz.