KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The 12-mile distance around the island of Key West is to become a saltwater racecourse for competitors on paddleboards and self-propelled watercraft Saturday, Oct. 2, during the 24th annual Key West Paddle Classic.
Presented by the Florida Keys’ adventure tour company Lazy Dog, the challenge is open to watersports enthusiasts on all self-powered watercraft including stand-up paddleboards, prone boards, outrigger canoes, surf skis, rowing vessels and kayaks.
Participants can compete in the elite race as individuals or as a team of two, three or six people. Other divisions include those for three-person stand-up relay teams and five-person gig-rowing groups.
Events are headquartered at Higgs Beach, located at 1000 Atlantic Blvd. on Key West’s Atlantic Ocean shore.
Saturday’s action kicks off with a 7:30 a.m. check-in and 8:30 a.m. racer meeting at Higgs Beach. The 12-mile race is slated to start at 9 a.m. after a Hawaiian blessing.
The course takes competitors past Key West landmarks such as the Southernmost Point marker, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and Mallory Square, site of the renowned nightly sunset celebration. After circumnavigating the island, racers finish at Higgs Beach.
A lunch and awards event are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Salute on the Beach, located at Higgs Beach.
Entry fees for the renowned race begin at $85 for individual participants and range from $160 to $360 for teams, depending on team size and division.
Event information and registration: paddleguru.com/races/KeyWestPaddleClassic2021