Who knew! Sarasotan’s are loving themselves some stand up paddleboarding and a whole lotta them turned out for the final race of the Sarasota SUP Race Series. The three-race series kicked off in June on the open waters at Siesta Key Beach, followed by the August race at the Nathan Benderson Park rowing facility. October’s race on Sarasota Bay completed the series.

Sarasota SUP Race
Sarasota SUP Check In

Images by inhabitSarasota

The race series was started by Rob Alfieri, of SUP Sarasota, to showcase Sarasota’s diverse and highly accessible waterways. About 125 racers from around the region participated in the Sarasota Bay race, with ages ranging from 10 to 72. Two race courses (a three mile and six mile) were marked with yellow buoys and staffers on jetskis took lead and follow positions. All paddleboarders made it back (some much sooner than others!) safely and without incident. It was a great event from start to finish!

Sarasota SUP Start

It’s easy to see why stand up paddleboarding is becoming so popular. It appeals to fitness buffs, competitive athletes and casual paddlers alike. In addition, the initial investment is fairly low and access to the water is free! Sarasota has so many beautiful places that are just perfect for this water sport. Rob’s favorite spots are Bird Key Park, the mangroves at South Lido, and if the surf’s up – Lido Beach.

SUP Race Runner
SUP Race Small Child

I’ve only tried stand up paddleboarding a couple of times and it didn’t go very well. The conditions for both attempts were choppy, windy and currents were nasty. I found myself feeling seasick and couldn’t wait for dry land. I’m encouraged to try again though. Especially after watching a young girl finish the 3 mile race, it was awesome!

To learn more about stand up paddleboarding, check out SUP-Sarasota. They offer board rentals, lessons and tours. They also have an eight week race training program. Get started now… the 2014 race series will be here before you know it!