KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The 12-mile distance around the island of Key West is to become a saltwater racecourse for competitors on paddleboards and self-propelled watercraft during the 2018 Key West Paddle Classic. The race is scheduled Saturday, April 28, with accompanying events for participants Thursday through Sunday, April 26-29.
Presented by Lazy Dog, the challenge is open to watersports enthusiasts on stand-up paddleboards, prone boards, outrigger canoes, dory boats, surf skis and kayaks.
Participants can compete in the elite race as individuals or as a team in the three-person stand-up relay division. Events are headquartered at Higgs Beach at 1000 Atlantic Blvd. on the Atlantic Ocean.
The race is a World Paddle Association national points event as well as a Paddle League international points event.
Saturday’s action kicks off with a 7 a.m. racer check-in and 7:15 a.m. vendor expo opening at Higgs Beach.
The 12-mile race is slated to start at 9 a.m. after a breakfast on the beach, racers meeting and Hawaiian blessing.
The course takes competitors past island landmarks such as the Southernmost Point marker and Mallory Square, site of Key West’s nightly sunset celebration. After circumnavigating the island, racers finish at Higgs Beach.
If weather permits, a Special Olympics demo race is planned for 9:30 a.m.
An awards party and lunch is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Salute on the Beach on Higgs Beach.
The weekend also features paddle yoga, PaddleFit and eco-tour experiences at Lazy Dog at Hurricane Hole Marina, 5130 U.S. Highway 1.
Paddleboard clinic sessions are set for 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, at Lazy Dog. Subsequently, racers can enjoy a 5-8 p.m. kick-off party and registration at Salute on the Beach.
Events are to conclude Sunday, April 29, with a kids’ SUP clinic and race and an offshore picnic at the legendary Snipe Point off Key West.
Event information and registration: lazydog.com/events/
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY