Key West Event Quadruples in Size as New Craze Hits

Locals anticipate larger than ever crowd this year for 13th Annual Key West Paddleboard Classic.

Online PR News – 13-May-2010 – – Key West, FL -- What started out as a small local Key West event for competitors in a little known sport has blossomed into a hugely popular race drawing national attention. Stand Up Paddling is the newest craze to hit the watersports crowd in Key West and beyond, and the strong uptick in registrations for the race this weekend proves its popularity nationwide. The jump in registrations for the Stand Up Paddle race around Key West is a markedly amazing leap: from 30 racers in past years to 150 and counting for 2010! The 13th Annual Key West Paddleboard Classic promises to be an exciting race for everyone involved.

The course is known in the Stand Up Paddleboard community as a tough one, and unique as well. The 12.8 mile course alone is unusual. Most Stand Up Paddleboard races are around just five miles long, or much longer marathon-style races.

And distance isn't the only thing that makes this one of the toughest Key West events. There are places where competitors can run aground, or get seaweed wrapped around their fin or rudder. There are bridges to go under and tough tides to fight. And don't forget Key West Florida is an island: therefore the race is around the island, which is different from most races where racers paddle out to deeper water from the shore, then race from one point to anther point. The Key West race puts racers back where they began, in a loop course. In this way, the race is similar to the Swim Around Key West.

The uniqueness of this race course draws big names in the Stand Up Paddleboard world. And this year there are also bigger sponsors. All this is attracting more attention than ever, especially from locals. "I've never gone to one of these races before, but this year I can't wait!" says Michelle Lindy, a local Key West resident for eight years. "I've seen more and more stand up paddlers in the waters around Key West in the past year, so I want to see what it's all about. Maybe even try it myself!" she added with enthusiasm. Her excitement is part of an island trend lately, making this weekend's race one of the most exciting reasons to consider Florida Keys travel this season.

Stand Up Paddling has been around for a while, but is only recently taking off in Key West and the Florida Keys. Calm days are best for this activity, which involves balancing on a super-size surfboard and paddling with a single paddle. Waves are to be avoided, so most people prefer to stick to mangrove-lined shallow water, canals, and any other protected area. In this way, it's similar to kayaking, which is also better in calm waters. Like kayaking, Stand Up Paddling offers a close up view of the marine world below. And because you're standing up, you get an even better view of what's in the water.

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