Today was the East of Maui / Eastport Yacht Club SUP race in Annapolis — which was also the first SUP race I ever entered last year. I entered that race a month into paddling with no idea what I was getting into just because I really wanted to know what was out there in terms of paddlers, equipment, and camaraderie. The experience didn’t disappoint, and now I’ve completed four races with another two coming up (much later) this season.
Last year, I slogged my way through the race, battled boat traffic, fell at the end, and was mostly relieved to have finished (and not finished last). This year, I went in with a goal time of 45 minutes, which I missed by 2 minutes at my race in Kent earlier this season. It was pretty ambitious considering my time at this race last year was 57 minutes.
There were 119 racers entered this year, 40 of which were women doing the short course (my course is the short course — I’m not crazy). I placed 13th overall out of the 40 women and hit my goal time with a finish at 45:31.
Even before I knew the time, though, I was thrilled with the race I had paddled. I had my best start of all four of the races, and I had a huge burst of energy at the end that helped me pull past several other races on the home stretch.
I love this course because it’s almost identical to the conditions I normally paddle in — a fairly straight there-and-back course paralleling the shoreline with moderate bay chop and unpredictable boat traffic.
(G said I look sad there. It’s probably because it was actually raining on us at the start of the race, and I was thinking about how slippery the handle of my paddle was.) But the rain stopped right as we got underway, and by the time we finished, it was hot and sunny.
That’s a big smile after the finish line. I followed this up with a much-needed drop in the cool water before pulling my board up and, of course, my free post-race beer. A pretty full morning, and it was only 10am.
G was awesome as he always is, getting up well before dawn, helping me with the board, taking pictures, and cheering loudly whenever I was in range. He even put together an awesome video of the event, including the start of the race and a stretch on the back half when I was really giving it everything I had to pass folks and finish strong.