The 2nd annual Carolina Beach Stand Up Paddle Challenge, which benefits local non-profit Ocean Cure, will be held this Sunday, Sept. 13.
According to Sandy Mitofsky, one of the event organizers, there will be four different courses participants can paddle: a 3-mile race, a 6-mile flat-water race, a 6-mile ocean course and a 1-mile family fun race. All races will start at Carl Winner at North Lake Park Boulevard at the south end of the Intracoastal Waterway in Carolina Beach.
The races are opened to stand up paddlers of all ages, as long as parental consent is given for minors. No experience is necessary, but some courses are more difficult than others.
“To do the longer races, you have to be an experienced racer,” said Mitofsky.
The challenge is a fairly new event to Carolina Beach, although Wrightsville Beach has held many similar ones in the past. Mitofsky and her fellow organizer, Christina Dees, thought it was time to bring it to Pleasure Island.
“We talked about wanting to bring a stand up paddle to Carolina Beach,” Mitofsky said. “We came up with this idea.”
Mitofsky said Dees has been involved with Ocean Cure, which according to their website helps people with “not only physical disabilities, but emotional trauma and mental impairments as well.” They decided it would be beneficial to combine the two.
Though the event itself is still fairly small (about 40 people participated last year), it already has some big time sponsors, including the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Paddleboard Company and Sweetwater Brewing Company.
“I definitely want it to grow in the future,” said Mitofsky. “Our goal is to bring more people into the sport of stand up paddle racing while also raising money for charity.”
Registration is available online through Paddle Guru or on-site the day of the challenge. There will be a packet pick-up party for early registrants at Good Hops Brewery in Carolina Beach on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 5 – 8 p.m. Free food (while it lasts) will be provided, and a bluegrass band will be on hand to entertain the racers and their family and friends.
On the day of the race, late registration is open from 7 – 7:45 a.m. at the public boat docks at the Carolina Beach Boat Basin on Carl Winner Drive. The 3-mile and 6-mile races will begin as close to 8 a.m. as possible, according to Mitofsky. The 1-mile family fun race, which also welcomes pets, will start at 10:30 a.m. The challenge will be followed by an awards and after party. Visit the website for more information.