At 5 am Saturday May 7, 2011I woke up, not because my son was calling me, nor for any emergency. I woke up before the sun started to shine to meet Russell in down town Tampa Florida. It was the morning of the Third Annual Sweetwater Paddle For the Cure.
The paddling event was set against the skyline of downtown Tampa. For the event all paddlecraft and standup paddleboard participants chose to either race five miles or enjoy a family fun two mile paddle to raise money for cancer research.
We began set up at the scenic Riverfront Park , downtown, on the Hillsborough River. There was a lot of volunteers helping move boats and paddle boards to the dock. I took a moment to scope out the trophies for the winners of the five mile race. And chat with Brody Welte owner of Stand up Fitness. He supplying several SUP’s and gear for this event. I think a few of his Paddle Fit students placed during the race.
Before 8am Ron, Chad, a few others, and I left the dock and headed down River to our assigned locations for the race. I was at the marker next to Tampa General Hospital. And I had the Jose’ Gasparilla Pirate ship to the east.
While I waited for the event to begin I did my normal on the water warm up and then enjoyed my breakfast. I prefer to paddle backwards to warm and lengthen my back.
This morning I skipped my 60 grams of whey fruit smoothie. It was too early to start up the blender. And to wake my son… I instead chose to not make a disturbance in the kitchen and eat a standard on the water kayaking dawn breakfast. It consists of water, carrots, citrus, and beef jerky. This time I tried a new beef jerky “Jeff’s Gourmet Jerky“. In a single word YUM.
I will be writing a post about this new Jerky soon…
At 8:30am the five mile race downriver and into Seddon Channel and back.
The two paddle craft that were in front were an Epic and a carbon tandem kayak (I could not make out either model). All but one participant went around the marker. What I also noticed was how some people struggled with making an one-hundred-eighty degree turn. Several paddlers in expensive kayaks would just kill them selves with short port side strokes. Some people did use a sweep combined with edging. It was the leaders of the heats used either a low-brace on the outside (port side) or a high-brace (on their starboard side) to turn. Turning in a race like this made all the difference.
The 2 mile family fun paddle began at 10:00. I saw more people on paddle boards during the family paddle than kayaks. The attraction to using an SUP is easy for me to see. A person can see more by giving a new dimension above the water. SUP’s are light weight, easy to transport, and easy to store in and apartment or garage. Granted I still prefer camping and paddling during small craft advisory days. So I am not going to convert to the SUP just yet.
From what I saw on and off the water everyone had fun. Everyone was a welcomed participant. See, in a means to encourage everyone to sign up for the race and come out have fun and help BEAT CANCER WITH A PADDLE, the organizers offered the event to everyone. No paddle experience was required for either event and rental kayaks and standup paddleboards were available. If you get a chance mark you calender for next years event. And maybe I will see you on the water – Jeff