The race is scheduled Saturday, Oct. 3, with accompanying events for participants prior to race day. It was postponed from its traditional May date because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Presented by the Florida Keys adventure tour company Lazy Dog, the challenge is open to watersports enthusiasts on stand-up paddleboards, prone boards and other watercraft including outrigger canoes, surf skis and kayaks.
Participants can compete in the elite race as individuals or as a team in the three-person stand-up relay division. Events are headquartered at Higgs Beach at 1000 Atlantic Blvd. on the Atlantic Ocean.
The race is a World Paddle Association national points event.
Participants are to follow Key West and Monroe County COVID-19 health safety protocols throughout. Buffs or facial coverings will be required onshore, though not when competitors are on the water, and social distancing is to be maintained. Buffs are to be provided to all registrants.
Saturday’s action kicks off with a 7 a.m. racer check-in and vendor expo opening at Higgs Beach. The 12-mile race is slated to start at 9 a.m. after a grab-and-go breakfast on the beach, racers meeting and Hawaiian blessing.
The course takes competitors past island landmarks such as the Southernmost Point marker and Mallory Square, site of Key West’s nightly sunset celebration.
After circumnavigating the island, racers finish at Higgs Beach. Awards and a lunch for racers are to follow.
The weekend also features paddle yoga, PaddleFit and eco-tour experiences at Lazy Dog, 5114 Overseas Highway at Hurricane Hole Marina.
A pro paddle clinic with four-time Olympic paddler Jim Terrell is set for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at Lazy Dog. The following evening, a 5-7 p.m. packet pickup is scheduled at Salute on the Beach, located on Higgs Beach.
Those who can’t be in Key West for the race can participate in a virtual version from their location. For virtual race and entry information, visit paddlemonster.com/key-west-virtual-paddle-classic-2020-registration/.
Event information and registration: paddleguru.com/races/KeyWestPaddleClassic2020
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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