Local Lake Norman friend and paddler, Matt Cesmat, joined me for the long drive to Frisco, Hatteras Island. Matt is also one of the original Lake Norman SUP racers. Suffice it to say, we had a great time.
I know its a long drive for many and a tough weekend for folks to get away just a week after Memorial Day, but you should definitely put this event on your calendar for 2015 if you can help it. This is a great grassroots event, started by Andy at WIND-NC, which has been WPA sanctioned for a couple years now. Not only is the racing a lot of fun, but the whole event vibe is very positive, at a great location (Frisco Woods Campground), and a fun event for the whole family (for proof, see the pics at the link below). The Saturday night BBQ & live music is always a lot of fun as well.
As I've been able to do the first three years of this event, I not only SUP raced, but also SUP surfed and windsurfed that weekend (actually all in the same day, a first for me to do all three in one day). The forecast for Saturday morning's SUP race looked like there was going to be some wind. Andy made the decision to change the race course into a shortened out and back buoy course, so it was directly upwind and downwind. Fun and challenging, with 23 buoy turns for the 6 mile 14' division racers. At race start, the wind dropped a little bit but with just a few laps left, the wind picked back up with gusts over 20mph.
Local Manteo pro, Billy Miller (newly sponsored by JP Australia) crushed us all in the 14' division with his quick start and speed throughout the race. I had a good position in 2nd place most of the race, but lost it to another local, Robert Netsch, who reeled me in the last few laps after he cleared weeds from his leash. I just didn't have enough at the end to fend him off. Congrats to both Billy & Robert, and also to Woman's Elite winner, Anne Gassett. That is two races in a row that I was in 2nd most of the race, but finished 3rd. Guess I need to work on that!
Here is the link to many more pics on the OBX Paddlepalooza Facebook page, taken by pro photog (and local windsurfing legend) Donnie Bowers.
Here are links to my reports of the first three OBX Paddlepaloozas:
And don't forget to add this to your calendars for next year - the weekend after Memorial Day. You won't regret it!