Well another year back down in Key West, FL. The Paddle Classic has become one of the most iconic stand up paddleboard races in the country, and you couldn't ask for a better location than beautiful and historic Key West Florida!
The race includes a 12 mile long course, and 4 mile short. The race categories include stand up paddleboards from recreational "surfboard" type, 12'6" & 14" displacement hull boards, unlimited as well as prone paddleboards, "OC" outrigger canoe, surf ski, and kayak. There is always a little bit of everything involved in this epic race, but everyone is connected by two common bonds... passion for paddling and love for the water. The race continues to bring out the very best in the sport, including Quickblade’s Jim Terrell, who just may know a thing or two about paddling.
Team North 2 was in attendance again this year and we were super stoked to be there! A great team effort to tackle the incredible harsh conditions with winds in the 20-25 knot range with gusts over that at times. The race day conditions were rumored to be one of the hardest if not THE hardest conditions ever seen at this yearly event. I can concur as to the unreal absolutely hard conditions of the race. Two to three foot side chop, ripping currents around the island, and 20 knot winds in your face pretty much the entire race made it a torturous game of mind over matter.
I was very happy with my 2nd place (12'6" class) finish in my age group 30-39 (3:08), and 69 out of 142, 12 mile racers. I was using a prototype 12'6" N2 touring displacement hull board. Not a super fast board, but very stable at 31" wide and a great all around touring board that is a joy to paddle. Easily the toughest thing I have ever completed physically in my life! I want to give a big thanks to New Atlantic Brands (N2) sales rep Rick Raymond and Conrad Charles for sharing the event with us and for supporting North 2. And way to go Conrad for completing the 12 mile course on a 10' N2 Sessions board!! The smallest sup board used in the race, and at 51 years old that's not to shabby. Conrad finished 99 out of 142 (3:47).
A full recap of the race including results here: Distressed Mullet KW Classic
We love Key West and look forward to battling the elements again next year, same time same place.
-Ryan (Thanks to RK photos, and Jose Antonio for pictures)