After three rewrites, it finally hit me. A dangling thought that wouldn’t quite break loose. After covering Shark Bite Challenge, Florida’s premier paddle event, on the pristine Honeymoon island, there was a reminiscent feeling in the air. In our current environment of malicious tweets, angry comments, partisan vilification, and just plain nastiness – the beach, boats, and boards made it all disappear. Among 600+ paddlers of an awesome variety of ages, races, languages, persuasions…… there were just gleeful souls smiling and hugging the day away.
Top 3 couldn’t stop congratulating each other.
Mom nature got her way and a planned multi day event was shrunk to one day of epic races. Furthermore, what’s old is new again. Not three races ago, SUP’s easily outnumbered all other craft. This time, they maybe made up a quarter of the field. With outriggers showing huge popularity along with surf skis. With a breezy day, chilly water, and many paddlers entering more than one event, I witnessed nothing but stoke, smiles, and camaraderie. Might just be time to let the beach melt away the hate.