Shane Webb and Grace Marcel, owners of Saltwater Kite and Paddle in St. Pete Beach, display a poster for the third annual Pacifico Paddle Challenge set for Nov. 9-10 behind the Post Card Inn.
ST. PETE BEACH – The fastest-growing water sport in the world will be showcased Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10 on the beach behind the Post Card Inn when the third annual Pacifico Paddle Challenge takes place.
The event is two days of paddleboard races for elite and amateur riders offering a purse of $5,000 in cash prizes. Sponsors include Pacifico beer, Malibu Rum and Jimmy Lewis Paddleboards.
“It should be a fun event for everybody,” said Shane Webb of Saltwater Kite and Paddle, who is organizing the competition with his fiancé Grace Marcel. “From spectators to beginner racers to elite racers, we want everybody to walk away saying they had a blast.”
Last year, Webb put together a one-day event that included a pig roast on Saturday night. This year the competition goes to two days with a Hawaiian luau on the beach Saturday night complete with fire dancers.
Spectator admission to the competition is free and $10 for the luau.
The race schedule includes a 2-mile zigzag race Saturday at 11:30 a.m., followed by a more grueling 4-mile race at 1 p.m.
Sunday’s schedule features a kids race at 11 a.m., followed by a 4-mile race to the Don CeSar and back for any type of board or paddleboat. An elite 8-mile race to the Pass-A-Grille jetty and back starts at 12:30 p.m. Awards presentation will take place at 3 p.m.
This is the first year for the straight races. All events will feature beach starts, as opposed to water starts when the riders jump on their boards in the water.
Saturday’s zigzag races will present the biggest challenge with eight turns and a 70-foot beach run halfway through.
“We’ve always felt the races should be spectator friendly and the technical aspect of it brings that to it,” said Webb. “Every year we’ve been technical. This is the first year we’ve added the (straight) races on Sunday.”
The event is the final leg of the SUP Splash Race Series.