The inaugural Providence Paddle Battle took place on Sunday August, 24, 2014. Utlizing Providence’s first public access boat launch at Gano Park, over 100 people congregated on a beautiful morning to battle it out in upper Narragansett Bay. The event was hosted and organized by Kristin Kaczmarek and John Andel, owners of Paddle Board RI.
Seven months of planning, conference calls, meetings, course changes and permits led up to the big day. Kristin and John were expecting around 20-30 registered paddlers. When the horn sounded to start the races, 72 paddlers had registered, traveling to Providence from as far as Maine, NY, New Jersey, Cape Cod and even one couple that flew in from Dana Point, CA.
The event featured a recreational 3-mile race along with an “elite” 9-mile race. Both races started just north of route 195, at the Gano boat ramp, and then entered the city, through the hurricane barrier and past the old bridge footings before turning and heading back out. The short course finished once they arrived back at the starting line. The long course continued another 3 miles up the Seekonk river, into a grueling headwind and outgoing tide. Once they reached the north turn buoy, they were treated to a downwind, down current ride back to the finish line.
The event attracted many local sponsors. Graphic Perspective of Warwick created and donated all of the beautiful event t-shirts. Speedboard USA, Unilock and Z Resolute Racing stepped up as platinum sponsors, which really offered some nice additions to the event such as food, handmade awards for 36 different places and an awesome raffle containing some great prizes. Narragansett Surf and Skate, along with BIC Sup, donated a beautiful carbon fiber SUP paddle.
All in all, the race was a HUGE success and has received very positive feedback already. Plans for the 2nd annual Providence Paddle Battle are already underway.