Well another Key West Paddle Classic has come and gone. This year was a bit special for two reasons, first it was the 20th Anniversary of this incredible Paddle Board race around the storied island that is Key West, and second this was the most challenging conditions the race has ever seen! ESE winds at 20-30knts sustained and huge oceanside chop caused the race planners to change the course of the race, which ended up being a unique and interesting change. Since the winds were so strong and sustained, making it virtually impossible to navigate the last backside of the island section, they had the racers enter the interior of the island following a canal that ran approximately 3/4 of the island north west until it shot you out at the end of the island before you made the final loop back around to Higgs Beach.
TEAM N2 had another great showing at the race. Team racer Conrad Charles entered the 14' Open Class in the 50+ age group and finished well at 4th place in his group. Will Vacha had a great start but sustained a shoulder injury about half way through the race which brought his race to an end, but if he had continued at the pace he was on he would have finished 3rd in his age group in the SUP Surf Class. N2 Co-Owner Ryan Pena finished 2nd overall in the SUP Surf Class on a N2 10' Sessions. Ryan finished the race at 2hrs 45min. Racers talked about the huge chop the wind had kicked up on the Atlantic side of the ocean, causing racers to continually fall off their boards, making wider and more stable boards a bit more manageable. This was the first time I have ever seen actual breaking waves in Key West, making the water, which is normally a crystal clear Caribbean blue, a cloudy chocolate milk consistancy.
This race continues to be one of the best and challenging SUP races in the country. The 10' Sessions has done so well during these races over the years, we are going to design a new 11'+ Sessions based on our 10' Sessions platform. This new model will be specifically designed for races like the KWPC, downwinders, and touring, where weekend worries and gritty committed Paddle-Racers can have some serious high speed fun on this new N2 Sessions.
See you next year Key West!