It’s not a race, according to organizers; it's a poker paddle. Entrants are accepted with single kayaks, double kayaks and paddleboards, maneuvering between five easy-to-reach bayside stops to draw what they hope is the best poker hand.
The course map’s poker stops include a start at Library Beach, the second at Lorelei Beach, then out to an open-water pontoon boat “raft-up,” a stop at the Islander Bayside Resort shoreline and finally a return to Library Beach.
Participants of all ages are encouraged to enjoy the Keys scenery, swim and play as they make their way along the course. Past participants have spotted manatees, dolphins and sea turtles during their paddle jaunts.
Upon completing the course, poker players receive a medal, T-shirt, lunch and swag bag.
A kick-off party with late registration is scheduled 5-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, at PADDLE! The Florida Keys, 90773 Old Highway in Tavernier.
Saturday’s main event is to take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A lunch and awards ceremony follow from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Florida Keys Brewing Co., Morada Way, between mile markers 81 and 82.
A farewell breakfast with raffle prize drawings is planned for 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Bayside Gourmet, mile marker 82.7.
Registration fee is $20 per single kayak or paddleboard and $30 for a double kayak. Interested paddlers can register online at paddleguru.com.
Event proceeds help fund military veteran and first responder charities.
Event information: facebook.com/FloridaKeysPokerPaddle/ or 305-975-3683
Islamorada visitor information: fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
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