3rd Annual Lake Mary Jane Paddle Race Recap by Jeramie Vaine
46 degrees and brisk winds out of the North is far from the norm in Central Florida, actually it is a bit of an anomaly. But this arctic cold front, yes arctic since today is 80 and that is the average temperature this time of year, did not stop 80 paddlers from attending the 3rd Annual Lake Mary Jane Paddle Race in Orlando Florida. And this wasn’t just a locals only type of event, paddler traveled from across the state and out of state to participate. With categories for every type of paddler out there, from outrigger canoes to parent and grom tandem SUP, the community vibe was alive and thriving. And in the true spirit of Halloween, MC Jorge Moral with his leopard print top hat, jacket and shoes, kept the crowd entertained throughout the many events on and off the water. There was a 6 mile prize money elite race, 3 mile open race, 1 mile first timers race, grom race and the prestigious Tug Life partner relay. The courses had the paddlers challenged by having to make multiple buoy turns but also keeping everyone close to view for the spectators to cheer.
The highlights of the day were the great finish in the 6 mile elite mens with Mike Tavares and Kieran Grant having a sprint to the finish with Mike T., pulling out the win. The parents and kids tandem paddle had a great battle, the grom race had fierce competition and a sprint finish but nothing topped the Tug Life partner relay. This relay is a Lake Mary Jane signature event where two paddlers, one on a 12’6 and the other on a recreation board, are attached by a surf leash. The paddler on the 12’6 has the leash attached to the board and the paddler on the recreation board holds the leash. It is a 2 lap race where the paddle and rider switch after the first lap, at the end of the 2nd lap the participants run hand and hand through the finish. This race had the crowd cheering, laughing and a bit of heckling.
After the race there was a raffle with all types of great prizes including a Water’s Edge SUP, Garmin watch, bikini from Local Honey and many more. The award ceremony delivered hand shaped trophies, Riviera Paddles, huge checks and lots of smiles. This was another amazing feel good race, that everyone should look to join in 2015!