Paddle makes perfect

Fin Martin helps guide his dad Neil to shore. Neil organized the fourth annual Appleton Rum Run Stand Up Paddle Board Challenge. Photo: Matt Lamers

Asa McDougall did not win his heat in a stand-up paddleboarding competition on Saturday but walked away a champion nonetheless. It was his second time competing in the groms race. “I like the adrenaline,” he said. “It’s a great thrill.”

He was among a couple of dozen kids at the Appleton Rum Run Stand Up Paddleboard Challenge. Events included a stand-up paddle clinic, corporate relay, groms race and men’s and women’s sprints. Sunday’s race was 8 miles from Rum Point to Camana Bay.

Professional stand up paddleboarder Chuck Glynn put on a clinic on Saturday and competed on Sunday.
Overall, more than 130 people participated throughout the weekend, an increase from about 110 last year.

Neil Martin, the organizer and an owner of Cayman Stand Up Paddle Co., said he started the competition four years ago as a way to get more people interested in stand up paddleboarding.

“For me, it’s about introducing the sport to more people,” he said. “It’s just taking off. It’s a way to get people into it and show them that it’s not just a casual paddle down the beach. The sport of paddleboarding is quite varied.”

The native of Montreal, Quebec, originally got into paddleboarding seven years ago to rehab a knee injury. He has not looked back since.

“It’s fantastic for rehabbing,” he said. “It’s an incredible workout.”

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now