Rum Run challenges surfers with new events

After the success of January’s Rum Run Challenge Weekend, paddle boarding continues with more events.  

The crossing of the North Sound as part of the Rum Run Challenge now becomes the climax of the Surf and Race Series.  

Neil Martin, race organizer, explained the mind-set behind the competition. “The 8.5 mile crossing of North Sound can be pretty daunting for people who are new to stand up paddling, so we wanted to create a series of races building up the paddling distance to January’s race,” he said.  

“Our first race was held on Easter Saturday, hosted by Surf Side Bar and Grill and saw 25 paddlers of all ages and abilities take part in a half-mile sprint. It was fantastic to see so many people come out and give it a go. 

“Joe Curley had a convincing win on the day and led the field from the front. Everyone is looking at him as the man to beat in the next event, which will be a one-mile race in June.” 

The race series is set out so that the distance doubles with each event: June 15 – Flowers Sea Swim, 1 mile; September 6 – Back to School 2 miles (plus kids race); and November 10 – Pirates Week, 4 miles. 

Duane Magis of Cayman Stand Up Paddle Co. is delighted with the planned program. 

“We have been really pushing the community element of stand up paddling,” Magis said. “For the last three years, we have held annual fundraisers for the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association and we have worked closely with the Flowers Sea Swim organizers to provide a team of 12 paddle boarders as part of the race water safety. Paddle boarding is our passion and now the race series provides a great opportunity to get more people out on the water and sharing in the fun.” 

Thrown into the race series mix are going to be some impromptu stand up surf competitions. The first of these was held earlier this month, with Russell Bunton finishing in the top spot thanks to his signature head stand move. Martin feels the series will push residents to be better paddlers. 

“Surf conditions can be very variable here in Cayman. Every now and then, the surf is epic and it gives a great opportunity for paddle boarders to push themselves with a completely different skill set from the flat water racing.” 

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Paddleboarding hopes to make a splash this year.

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