Cold weather, drizzle and fire in their hearts, Florida paddlers showed UP for this year’s Neptunalia Winter Challenge standup paddle race to make the first race of the WPA 2017 Race Series a success! Here is the breakdown reported by BIC Team Rider Justin Schaay.
Is this really Florida?
With temps in the low 50’s you had to wonder. Needless to say, it was a cold & cloudy start for the 2017 Neptunalia Winter Challenge in Melbourne Florida, but the pace was fast and the turnout great despite the weather.
The energy levels were high when the multiple waves of starters set off from Ballard Bay Park, a perfect location for spectators to watch the action. After a series of buoy turns just off the Ballard Bay shoreline and a short run up the Eau Gallie River, racers then headed out across Indian River, past Dragon Point and into the Banana River for the turning buoy.
Are you up for the Kraken Challenge?
There were three course distances on offer in this year’s Neptunalia Winter Challenge. There was the fun and frisky Dolphin Dash at 3 miles, the Manatee Madness race for 6 miles and the Kraken [for money] or Dragon [for pride] which were both 10 mile races. The shorter races made up almost half the fleet of paddlers and there was A LOT of stoke out on the water.
Despite their best efforts in the 10 mile Kracken race, the young guns; Brad Ward (2nd), Samuel English (3rd) and Robert Hess (4th) could not match the power and speed of Larry Cain (1st) as the Canadian dominated this local race with a time of 1:38:35.
Kraken Slayer : Seychelle Hattingh
In the ladies division, it was super refreshing to see how encouraging winner Seychelle Hattingh (1st) was to young 16-year-old paddler Maddie Miller (2nd) as they crossed the Indian river. Third went to stealth bomber Kristen Thomas. Saychelle’s time was 1:50:44 over Maddie’s super human strength bringing her in at a time of 1:52:50. Another great effort was put forth by a brother- sister combo Hailey (13) and Will (16) Marston who took 1st and 2nd in their respective divisions.
Race Results link: