I just got back from the Hope Floats Paddle Classic down in West Palm Beach, Florida. This was the first year of the paddle board race event. I have to be honest, I was super impressed with the turnout and how the event was run.
I found out about the Hope Floats Paddle Classic through a friend and did a quick search to register on PaddleGuru. The cost was $65 for the Elite 6-mile race which included a t-shirt and a couple beers after the race at the awards ceremony. It was a really cool scene having a paddle board race at the end of Clematis Street in West Palm Beach. On top of all this, the race was paired with a seafood festival! Feast Of The Sea brought in a ton of outsiders to witness the paddleboard race and they had some amazing food to try from all the vendors.
I entered in the 14′ 6-mile elite race and used a Jimmy Lewis 14′ U-Boat. I was a little stiff going into the race but loosened up and did my best. The course was set up as a lap course with a bunch of technical left hand turns (not my best direction. There was a bit of a breeze and a good amount of current which I love because I am pretty good at reading the current and finding the eddies to catch. The course was well marked and took us past some nice yachts tied up to the dock. There were 4 laps and with every length you went past a spectator dock which was pretty neat for both the fans and the racers.
There were a couple big names in the race including Ryan Helm who took first in the 14′ elite race and Matt Arrensman who took second. I ended up in 4th, just off the podium. There were also cash prizes for the top 3 finishers of each division of the elite race. $300 for first, $125 for second , $75 for 3rd. I was bummed I didn’t get on the podium but I will definitely be up there next year! I recommend this race to anyone!
Results are here and below is a great little video of the event.