KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Paddle-sports practitioners of all ages can compete to circumnavigate the continental United States' southernmost island during the 26th annual Key West Paddle Classic set for Saturday, Sept. 30.
The 12-mile open-water distance race around Key West is open to paddlers on stand-up and prone paddleboards, outrigger canoes, surf skis, kayaks, pedal-craft kayaks, row and dory boats. Participants can compete as individuals or in two-person, three-person and six-person teams as well as in relay teams of three.
All events are headquartered at Key West’s Higgs Beach, 1000 Atlantic Blvd. Saturday’s action kicks off with a check-in and packet pickup at 7:30 a.m. at the beach, followed by a meeting for racers at 8:35 a.m.
Start time is 9 a.m. for stand-up and prone paddleboard entrants and those on relay teams. Athletes in all other categories are to start at 9:30 a.m.
Competitors depart the beach and follow a clockwise course past island landmarks such as the Southernmost Point marker, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and Mallory Square before arriving back at the beach for the finish. Entrants have up to five hours to complete the course.
Participants can relax after the race at a 1 p.m. lunch followed by an awards celebration.
Presented by the Florida Keys’ adventure tour company Lazy Dog, the race is a World Paddle Association national points event.
Entry fees for the renowned competition begin at $85 for individual participants and range from $170 to $360 for teams, depending on team size and division.
Event information and registration: paddleguru.com/races/KeyWestPaddleClassic2023
Paddlers on paddleboards, kayaks and other craft follow a 12-mile open-water course in the annual Key West Paddle Classic.
Start time is 9 a.m. on Sept. 30 for paddleboard entrants and relay teams departing from Higgs Beach.