By Mike Busch
I had the pleasure of covering the 4th annual Great South Bay Paddleboard Race on Sunday after missing last year due to travel. As usual, Karen Vaccaro Marvin, owner of South Shore Paddleboards did a fantastic job of organizing the event, with the help of the Bay Shore Yacht Club and her many friends in the local paddleboard community.
The race, between the Bay Shore Yacht Club and Great South Bay Bridge, has grown into the largest on Long Island and is now attracting elite paddle boarders from all over the country with racers from Salt Lake City in Utah, Florida, Cape Cod and New Jersey. One of the racers, Stephanie Shideler is currently the 14th ranked paddler in the world and was the first place overall winner.
This year’s event was also emotional for Karen as she is still in the process of recovering from a devastating fire that caused extensive damage to her beautiful store on Main St. in Babylon Village back in April. Karen has temporarily moved South Shore Paddleboards to the Long Island Yacht Club (1.5 miles west of the original store), at 307 Little East Neck Road South in Babylon village. Karen hopes to have the original store back open and better than ever by Christmas.
Marshal Brown, President of Save the Great South Bay attended and provides his take on the race with more details on some of the initiatives here.
There are a lot of reasons that South Shore Paddleboards was voted the #1 SUP store in the country, but Karen’s passion and the community she has help build top the list.
As for the event Sunday morning, nearly 100 racers of all ages were greeted with calm winds and a flat bay as they arrived around 8:00 for a 9:00 a.m. start. However, shortly before launch the winds started blowing out of the west around 15 mph, making for a challenging paddle to the bridge.
This year there were actually three races: 6 mile elite, 3 mile and a 1 mile fun race.
After the race all the category winners received beautiful hand-made wooden trophies made and donated by Steve Pace.
Below and on pages 2,3,4 and 5 I included some photos from the the Bay Shore Yacht Club, a boat on the bay covering the course and a few above the finish with a drone.
I also uploaded a huge high resolution gallery on my website here that are also available for purchase.
Continued on Pages 2,3 and 4