(PRESS RELEASE)_The Fifth Annual Palm Beach Paddlefest, presented by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County (MIAPBC) at Harbourside Place in Jupiter, Florida, captured the attention of the paddling community on February 8. According to event organizers, the festival experienced tremendous growth as paddle sports continue to grow in popularity in South Florida. In addition to an increase in overall attendance, exhibitors, and support from local businesses, the two featured races saw a 40 percent increase in participation.
“Palm Beach County and this event in particular has developed into a top destination for paddlers,” says MIAPBC Executive Director Alyssa Freeman. The MIAPBC team and volunteers planned and promoted the event over the past year and were pleasantly shocked at the level of growth experienced during the event’s fifth year. “We were all surprised by the increase in racers this year,” says Alyssa. Palm Beach Paddlefest utilized a new timing company, which improved accuracy, and offered new, custom medals for top finishers, which were “a big hit” according to Alyssa.
In addition to hosting two competitive races sponsored by Blueline Surf and Paddle Co. and a kid’s fun race, the one-day festival supports local nonprofits and featured free activities for families and kids, including a waterslide, face painting, games, and more.
In the morning, there was yoga by Kayla Provost, the Lighthouse Dragons took guests out on dragon boat tours, and Blueline Surf & Paddle Co. offered a free stand-up paddleboard tour. The weather and festivities started to heat up in the afternoon. In addition, there were performances by Keep Flippin' Gymnastics in Jupiter and two check presentations made by MIAPBC to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation and Florida Fishing Academy.
“Paddlefest 2020 was a beautiful example of the incredible opportunities we have here in Palm Beach County to access the natural environment that surrounds us,” says Travis Suit, Piper’s Angels Foundation Founder. Piper’s Angels Foundation is one of the many impactful nonprofit organizations that partners with Palm Beach Paddlefest. Their mission is to support and improve the lives of families in the cystic fibrosis community. “All marine based companies should be involved with Paddlefest because being 'on-the-water' is synonymous with the culture and lifestyle of our community, and that is self-evident in witnessing hundreds of paddlers battle it out in the heart of our waterways,” Travis continues.
The two featured races were a challenging 6-mile and competitive 2-mile paddle race. The 6-mile race featured 92 competitors from the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Participants came from states all across the US, including Michigan, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and right here in Florida. Twenty-four-year-old Eri Tenorio from St. Augustine took first place in the 6-mile race, with Stuart resident Danny Ching and 18-year-old David Leon taking second and third respectively in the men’s category.
Hobe Sound, Florida resident Kimberly Barnes finished first among female competitors in the 6-mile race, with Emilie Fournel from Pointe-Claire, Quebec finishing second and Maddie Miller from Tequesta, Florida finishing third. The overall first place male and female finishers took home a $750 prize and custom trophy, while second and third place overall male and female finishers took home $500 and $250 respectively, along with custom-made wood medals.The 6-mile race also awarded prizes to the top male and female surf ski competitors, won by Zsolt Szadovski and Emma Twambly, who each took home $250 and a trophy.
“Palm Beach Paddlefest was awesome to say the least with amazing weather and an incredible race turn out from all over -- not just Florida or the US, but worldwide,” says Matt Arensman of Blueline Surf & Paddle. “I feel like it is a great event to support, especially if you are a business in the marine, surf, paddle, fishing, tourism or hospitality industry because this event truly supports and collides all those markets into one,” says Matt.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
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