A Not So Typical Start.
The rhythmic sounds of puerto rican music fills the air. Accompanied by 40 people singing along. Resembling more of a night club dance party. Than the start to a stand up paddleboard race.
A 60 foot boat. One similar to that used on whale watch excursions or for deep sea fishing. Loaded with stand up paddleboards. And the people to paddle them.
Paddlers of all ages. Ability levels. On board. We head 8 miles out. The laughs. Smiles all along for the ride. We were about to set out on the best downwinder I have ever experienced.
Escape from Coffin Island.
As we arrived at the Island. We unloaded from the boat. Boards and people one by one. And not on a dock or beach. But straight into the water. A leap of faith. Into the crystal clear Caribbean waters.
We all made our way towards the beach. Looking over the conditions. Swapping stories. We lined up. It was the moment we all were anxiously awaiting. It was race time.
Before we knew it we were heading downwind. Surfing from wave to wave. Hoots and hollers filled the air. As we had perfect downwind conditions.
As we made our way towards the finish line. Bright colors lined the shore. And the sounds of cheers. The announcer. And music filled the air. The crowd encouraged us in. And greeted us with high fives. Landing on the beach. It was time to celebrate.
The Beach Party.
The shoreline was lined with tents. Meandering down the beach like the cars in rush hour traffic. Each tent had their own theme. But all with the an open door policy.
As we walked by everyone said hello. Handed out hugs and congratulations. Checking in to see if we head everything we need.
The day went on and so did the post race festivities. The awards. Raffle. And the music. When it was time for everyone to receive the accolades of the day. The party paused. The tents emptied. And everyone gathered around the stage.
The cheers. High Fives. Hugs. And celebrations all returned. For everyone called up on stage. Kids. Ladies and the guys. Everyone getting equal love from the crowd.
After the awards the party continued on. Into the early evening. The event. An all day family affair.
This is Why I Paddle.
Thank you to the organizers of the Escape from Coffin Island for hosting us. To the Lexus SUP Team for showing us amazing hospitality, treating us like family. And The SUP Shack for the friendship and support.
It is hard to describe a community. We all have our own ideas and thoughts. But when we are welcomed with open arms. Treated like family. By total strangers.
That is community. One that I am honored to have spent time with. And beyond grateful for.
And why I love being involved in stand up paddleboarding.