Fourth annual event will start at Lee Wenner Park in Cocoa
By Sue DeWerff
For Hometown News
Testing the endurance and both physical and mental strength of the competitors, this year's fourth annual Causeway to Causeway Paddleboard Challenge hopes to be one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast.
Often compared to an Iron-Man triathlon, the marathon-like paddleboard event will begin at 8:30 am on Saturday, Oct. 9.
Paddlers, using any type of flotation device that can be paddled, including SUP boards, kayaks, surfskis, or outrigger canoes will race along the Indian River from the 520 causeway, completing an 11-mile course down to the Pineda causeway, then returning back to Lee Wenner Park.
A maximum of eight hours will be allowed to finish the race. Each contestant will be completely self-sufficient with respect to water and fuel during the race.
Long-time paddler and Melbourne Beach resident Chip Bock admits that keeping hydrated is the key to competing in these events. He carries a 100-ounce camel back and additional soft flask for liquids while competing so that he can avoid a need to stop along the way, saving precious minutes in the race.
Finishing in first place last year, Tristan Fielder clocked an amazing time of just three hours, 45 minutes, paddling his surfski. This year, competitors will be allowed to enter the 11-mile leg of the race, as well, and will be required to finish within the four-hour time limit.
"To my knowledge, this is one of the longest organized paddling events on the East Coast, and our hopes are to build the contest into a regatta-type event that will not only draw a wide-range of spectators, but also contestants from throughout the state and nationwide," said John Hughes, director of the Cocoa Beach Surf Museum and organizer of this event.
This year's sponsors include U.S. Marine, Florida Powerboat Club and the Cigarette Boat Racing Team.
An entry fee of $20 per paddler will include a free barbecue picnic to be held after the race.
For more information on entering the paddleboard challenge or to donate to the event visit www.CocoaBeachSurfMuseum.org or contact John Hughes, event coordinator at (321) 720-8033.