Rum Run was choppy but fun

Paddle boarding’s 2015 Appleton Rum Run was hosted locally over the weekend with participants taking to the ocean in two days of competition.

Glassy, still waters at Public Beach on Saturday provided the perfect setting for a day of sprint races.

Pro riders Chuck Glynn (Laird Stand Up) and Jeremy Riggs (SIC Maui) hosted a paddle clinic to assist new paddlers get the basics and help intermediate paddlers improve their skills.

The interest in paddle boarding continues to grow in Cayman and this year more than 100 people participated in the short course racing.

Hope Academy was well represented in the Groms Race as 16 youngsters battled in out on the water.

First place in the over 8s went to Freddie Robson, and first place in the younger age group went to Zachary Garnett.

There was plenty of banter and rivalry as 12 corporate teams competed in the mixed relay race.

Defending champions Ocean Dental took the winners’ trophy, with Hope Academy second and Pro Yacht third.

Sunday saw the signature long-distance race with 26 people taking on the challenge to cross from Rum Point to Camana Bay on a stand-up board and a further six on surf skis.

With changeable weather conditions, Chuck Glynn dominated the race from the outset, making the crossing in 1 hour, 17 minutes.

Jeremy Riggs, the downwind specialist, made it look easy, using the bumps and swell in the Sound to finish second, with local paddler Joe Curley coming in a close third.

Fastest woman, and sixth place overall, was Jane Magis, followed by Katie Matos in second and Deanna Smith third. Although the starting conditions were relatively calm, the wind picked up and the sea got increasingly choppy as rain squalls came through, and paddlers had to dig deep to finish in those conditions.

Neil Martin, race organizer, thanked the title sponsor, Appleton, the volunteers, and local businesses who supported the event, including Compass Marine, Sienna Tile, Carey Olsen and Cayman Stand Up Paddle Co.

“All the participants deserve to be congratulated for their crossing of the North Sound,” Martin said. “It’s a big personal challenge to attempt the full eight miles.

“We are so thrilled to be able to introduce more and more people in Cayman to the varieties of paddle boarding. We even had an impromptu surf session on Seven Mile Beach in the afternoon.

“Our visiting pro riders were an inspiration to us all and we are delighted that the event has raised funds to support Cayman ARK.”

Full results and photos on or on the Cayman Islands Rum Run Challenge Facebook page.

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