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Turtle and Scuba Diver
Green Cay Marina
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A family friendly, activity packed day dedicated to enjoying the surroundings while promoting the preservation of our island’s natural beauty and resources.Over Labor Day weekend, the Friends of St. Croix East End Marine Park hosted its second annual Stand Up Paddle Board Race. A membership based group organized to support the St. Croix East End Marine Park, members volunteer to help with park projects, raise and donate funds and provide a link between the park and the community.East End Marine Park MapThe St. Croix East End Marine Park is located on the east end of the island and encompasses 60 nautical square miles including 17 miles of shoreline. The Marine Park maintains marine protected areas to minimize the impact of pollution, erosion, and over-exploitation of resources through biological monitoring and educational public outreach.The Stand Up Paddle Board Race is a fundraiser designed to raise awareness about the park while promoting sustainable recreation activities and introducing Stand Up Paddle Boarding as an example. SUP is an activity fit for all ages and skill levels. Funds raised support the Marine Park and their efforts to protect the various habitats and species found within.

The Run Down of Events:

  • The day starts with an elite race for experienced SUP-ers that is 6 miles in length (yikes!).
  • The open race for adults is geared toward recreational SUP-ers that is 1.5 miles in length.
  • Kids Fun Races are a shorter distance and separated by gender.
  • The relay race is teams of four, each individual completing a short loop.

Acting as the ringleader was Isabelle Picard from Kite St. Croix, making sure all racers knew the course, were lined up between the start flags with their boards and that everyone went off with a strong start. This year the open race attracted enough participants to have several heats, culminating with a final heat to determine the winners. The parents and kids race made for a fantastic photo-op with the kids lounging on the front of the board while mom or dad did all the paddling. The cheering section was out in force for all races, but things really heated up during the relay race. Not only did the teams try to out paddle each other, it seems they tried to out cheer each other as well.On top of the scheduled events, there was plenty else going on. Kids building sand castles, spectators sunning themselves, swimmers bobbing in the water and SUP boards for sale, among other things. There were even extra SUP boards available for anyone to try out, courtesy of Kite St. Croix.Lunch was provided for those participating and for sale to spectators. This year was typical Labor day BBQ fare: burgers, hot dogs, baked beans and corn on the cob. Washed down with a cold beverage of choice from the bar, it was a very satisfying way to re-fuel from a day of friendly competition.A raffle rounded out the fund-raiser with a plethora of highly anticipated prizes ranging from meals at restaurants, boat trips and jewelry to a brand new Stand Up Paddle Board donated by Kite St. Croix.This is an event that is designed for all age groups and encourages spending the day with family and friends enjoying the beautiful calm summer waters of St. Croix. The spirit of this race is less a competitive sporting event and more an organized activity day on the beach to encourage friendly competition. The atmosphere is supportive, with everyone cheering for everyone else, new friends and old. Where two brothers slow down to wait for their littlest brother so they can all cross the finish line together.Next year’s event will be held over labor day weekend. For more information about the race check out www.friendsofstxeemp.org.For more information about the St. Croix East End Marine Park check out http://stx-eemp.dpnr.gov.vi/.Not on St. Croix for the race? Check out Kite St. Croix to try SUP-ing while you are here.