2011 final report:
"It's a Golden Isles thing...You had to be there."
The field spreads out after the start on the 7.5 mile Elite course
(Listen to event recap on The Sup Radio Show with Leslie Kolovich on 30A Radio, 107.1FM, out of north Florida.)
(See complete event photo albums on Golden Isles SUP Classic facebook page.)
(See complete race results here.)
If you've ever been here, you know what it's like. It's the Golden Isles way of life: Quality trumps quantity... every time.
Consistent with that vibe, the 2nd annual Golden Isles SUP Classic on St Simons Island, GA on Oct. 15th extended its reputation as the finest little SUP race on the right coast of the country. Co-hosts,
|Kim James has a stroke with stoke! |
Whitecap SUP and Paddle and Putt Shop, put the emphasis on aloha spirit which was evident everywhere as the event priority. Sure, with the likes of Packet Casey, Iain McFarland, Kim James, Wesley Stolp, and up-and-comer Sarah Langdon on hand, excellent competition was there if you wanted to test yourself against the best. But the Golden Isles event is about the "everyday" stand up paddler out there, the regular Joes and wahines. Instead of a prize money purse, which always goes to the same tiny handful of predictable winners, we wanted to spread the stoke! The incredible level of sponsor support went into big, SunBum swag bags for all 46 competitors with trophy quality commemorative mini-boards for every participant, tickets to the McGladrey Classic PGA golf tournament on the island that weekend, prizes like full-size Whiskeyjack paddles engraved with event logos, GoPro cameras, personalized custom deck
Mark Landis, Ken Russel, and Packet Casey with Jimmy Lewis BLADE race board given away in raffle
traction pads from Suplove, and much more. Entrants also got automatic eligibility in a raffle with a
really sick collection of items, including a Jimmy Lewis 12'6 BLADE race board and a beautiful Fanatic 9' wood SUP, fine art from local artists, more paddles, and a nice collection of other booty. Friday afternoon saw a nice demo-day session, including a FREE race stroke clinic by national champion, Packet Casey, the Jimmy Lewis team rider. Also, the two event parties were simply awesome. The Friday night registration party at Coastal Kitchen, out on the veranda of the marina docks was the perfect setting. (For you foodies out there, we had lobster nachos along with a low country boil. Lobster... really.) The Saturday night awards party -- again, with great food and all the free Kona Longboard beer you could drink -- was a block party atmosphere in Redfern Plaza in front of the Paddle and Putt Shop. Lots of great energy from a fantastic day's paddle with the recognition of placing competitors and the anticipation of the all-in raffle... I'm just sayin'....you had to be there.
Race day Conditions: We hit perfection on those elements out of our control: the weather, the beach and the water conditions. 84 degrees, not a cloud. Flatest, quietest water at St Simons' East Beach all summer, too. 2 hours into an outgoing tide. Shiela, the event mascot and a fitting symbol of the allure of the ocean - our 15' high mermaid - presided once again over the pre-race proceedings in front of the St Simons Surf Sailors famous boatyard. She also marked the finish line. Davis Love III, the 5th place all-time money winner on the PGA tour and avid paddleboarder, shared some inspiration at the end of the meeting and it was time to race.
The 3-mile "Recreational" course was set within the sandbar confines in a loop visible throughout from the main beach. The 3-mile course was intended to feature those who choose to paddle a stock surf shape board. This triangular course resulted in scorching fast times due to the first ¾-mile leg hugging the shore line, with minimal current, and then a turn at the buoy to the longest leg with a very, very strong current which carried the paddlers to the last turn for a short leg back to home.
A trifecta of inland dudes dominated the 3-mile stock surf shape class, Men's Division, with Zach Roerig of Atlanta taking 1st at 33:49, only 1 and ½ minutes behind the two fastest 12'6" race boards. Speaking of which, heck of a race on the 12'6" race boards with only 10 seconds separating the first two finishers, Michael Fleetwood of Savannah taking first. In the Wahine Division, Brooke Holder of Atlanta continued inland paddlers domination and surprised everyone, herself the most, with a strong first in the stock class. But the 12'6" Race class in the Wahine Division came down to 5 second difference! Sarah Langdon, always a strong competitor from the Jupiter Paddleboarding group passed under Shiela's arm
Dad and daughter, Mac and MacIntyre Barnhardt of Mooresville, NC, both were 3rd place winners!
only steps ahead of the Golden Isles own Lori Hurley. What a race! And get this: 12 yr old MacIntyre Barnhardt of Mooresville, NC, took 3rd!
The "Elite" course was a 7.5 mile out-and back course wrapping around the southern horn of the island, past the village pier, down past the Sea Island Golf Course so tight along the fairways that an errant drive from a long-hitting PGA pro in the McGladrey Classic could take you out. It was intended to feature the 12'6" and 14' race and touring displacement-hull shapes. Turnaround point is the looming, 200' high radio towers - a mark that seems to never come into sight until "there it is"... and then never seems to get closer. It's adds an unexpected, little psychological twist to the long course. Racers paddled against weird, contrary undercurrents all along the south end of the island but catch the tide on the way back home.
Packet Casey predictably took 1st in the 12'6" race board class, Men's Division at 1:27:53, with IainMcFarland in 2nd, about 3 minutes back. In the Wahine Division of the 12'6 Race Board class, Allison Shirley of Jacksonville was only 8 minutes behind Iain. Very competitive... You go, girl!!
Wesley Stolp was the first under the finish line with a 1:21:29 time in the 14'+ Class, Mens' Divison. The Men's Division in the stock surf class saw winning times right on the 2 hour mark with Corey Curtis, another one of those strong Wilmington, NC paddlers, taking 1st at 1:59:17
Don Eisenman, 2nd in 3-mile 12'6 race class, and Gracy had enough left in the tank to compete in the For The Dogs Race
For The Dogs Class! Packet Casey and the highly experienced mixed breed, Hershey, were a formidable team, no doubt, but April Zilg and her elegant boxer, Kaya, just about chased them down on a stock board. Some very nice bling from Yellow Dog Designs went to each entrant in the For The Dogs Class. The crowded beach gathered with cameras popping for the spectacle of dogs surfing at East Beach.
Lori Hurley with some of her raffle winnings
Your generosity in the event raffle earned $1565 for theMarc Tucker Foundation. The event contributed over $2,000 to this cause, overall.
Complete Race Results:
Men's 3 Mile Stock/ Surf Class:
Zachary Roerig (Atlanta) -- 1st -- 33:49
Richard Schwartz (Augusta, GA) -- 2nd - 37:31
Mathew Walls (Atlanta) -- 3rd - 37:46
Wesley Stolp and Brooke Holder, winners!
Men's 3 Mile Tour/Race Class:
Michael Fleetwood(Savannah) -- 1st -- 32:24
Donald Eisenmann (Miami Beach)-- 2nd -- 32:34
Wister Lewis (Savannah) -- 3rd -- 34:00
Wahine 3 Mile Stock/Surf Class
Brooke Holder (Atlanta) --1st -- 45:03
Jennifer Steff (Brunswick, GA) -- 2nd - 45:22
Polly Schwartz (Augusta, GA) -- 3rd - 49:44
Wahine 3-Mile Tour/Race Class
Sarah Langdon (Jupiter Paddleboarding crew) --1st -- 34:51
Lori Hurley (Brunswick, Ga ) -- 2nd -- 34:56 (5 second difference! -- what a race*)
McIntyre Barnhardt (Mooresville, NC) -- 3rd -- 42:01 (Only 12 yrs old!!)
Men's 7.5 Mile Stock/Surf Class
Corey Curtis (Wilmington, NC) --1st -- 1:59:17
Steve Lear (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) - 2nd -- 2:06:14
Julio Flor (Brunswick, GA) -- 3rd -- 2:16:20
Men's 7.5 Mile Tour/Race Class 12'6"
Packet Casey (Ft. Lauderdale) -- 1st -- 1:23:57 (Jimmy Lewis rider who also won the "For the Dogs" race with his canine co-rider, Hershey.)
Ian McFarland (Merritt island, FL) -- 2nd -- 1:27:04
Mac Barnhardt (the "XL Mac"* of Mooresville, NC) -- 3rd -- 1:31:05 (of Charlotte, NC.)
*This is not the Mac Barnhardt of St Simons who also raced in this event, coming in only 14 minutes later.)
Allison Shirley (of J'ville, FL)
Wahine 7.5 Mile Tour/Race 12'6" and Under Class
Allison Shirley (Jacksonville, FL) --1st -- 1:35:27 (pretty darn competitive with the top guys!)
April Zilg (Wilmington, NC) -- 2nd -- 1:40:00
Kimberly James (Wilmington, NC) -- 3rd -- 1:46:53
Men's 7.5 Mile 14'+ Unlimited Class:
Wesley Stolp (Decatur, GA) -- 1st -- 1:21:29
Andrew White (Jacksonville Beach) -- 2nd -- 1:32:54
Michael Bandy (Savannah) -- 3rd -- 1:39:16
Report by: Chuck Hardin and Danny Johnson
Whitecap Stand up Paddleboarding
Davis Love III, Mark Landis of Paddle and Putt: Danny Johnson, Chuck Hardin of Whitecap SUP, and Mac Barnhardt...and Shiela.