Rain and foul weather could not keep the diehard Paddleboarders from making the trip up to DeepCreekLake this weekend to brave the 3 mile or 6 mile race courses right off the DeepCreekLakeState Park. Friday afternoon I took a trip out there to participate in the group paddle. The winds and rain were in high gear so there was only a few of us that tried to navigate the three mile course. On the home stretch to the state park the tail wind/cross chop put me (falling) in the lake for the first time of the season. To be honest, it was not super cold, just a mild chill.
Paddlin for PAWS… Paddleboard Race… Wisp Resort. Wisp Resort event organizer, Mike Valach, who is an avid paddler and my paddle partner is hell bent on promoting a sport that he has a deep passion for. He and co-worker John McCracken rolled out the red carpet for the locals and out-of-towners bringing in some 1st class racers. The crew from Stand Up Paddle Annapolis came up and raced world class times in fair, drizzling conditions. They brought with them top of the line/state of the art racer gear. Carbon Fiber boards and paddles with different design elements. Remember, paddleboarding although having roots back to Tom Blake in the early 30’s, is evolving into many different hybrids ranging from surfing, racing ,cruising, fishing…you name it. And with this, evolution of the design is still being tweaked to maximize speed and performance. I noticed the displacement hulls are the norm with bottom contours ranging from flat, to having vee/concave with various tail and nose rocker, and carbon fiber paddles that only weigh 14 ounces.
I missed the beginning of the race as I had swim lessons for my 5-month old but was lucky enough to round State Park Road right as the leaders were dueling it out halfway through the race. It was interesting to see all the different stroking and turning techniques that separate the competitors although there is no right or wrong. Board and paddle technology, paddling and turning techniques, and physical conditioning all come into play, but like any sport, mental endurance separates the top racers from the rest. Let’s not forget that winning is definitely not everything! Just to spend time on a paddlboard is spiritual and healthy as I have preached in the past. You also have the opportunity to meet a lot of great new friends.
It was exciting seeing the camaraderie at the finish line as all the racers cheered and congratulated each and every contestant as they made their way on shore. Chances are that whatever town you live in you will have the enthusiastic paddlers stoked on promoting and enjoying a sport that has taken over the world. If you can’t join us here at Deep Creek Lake then look around your own community and get revved up on a fantastic life-changing sport. If you want to keep up with local group paddle sessions, check out our newly formed Stand Up Paddle Group Facebook page. I will try to organize some sunrise/sunset paddles when the lake is glass as we transition into the season. Also, if you want real time information about the lake visit our page Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. See you on the Lake!