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Clinics, races bring the sport of stand-up paddleboarding to all

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By Andrea Papagianis

As the Mickey Muñoz Mongoose Cup’s fifth installment began Saturday morning, one thing became clear: The sport of stand-up paddleboarding knows no boundaries.

Competitors lined the sand: boards in one hand paddles in the other. The excitement built. With one loud buzz they were off, crashing into the quiet, calm waters off Baby Beach. A wave of teammates rushed to the waterline, each calling out words of encouragement, pushing the paddler toward that top spot.

When racers rounded the last of three buoys, action on the beach stirred. Arms waved frantically. Names were yelled. Paddles were raised high above heads in an attempt to get riders’ attention. Dozens of eager competitors waited for that last turn, the final sprint and their turn on the course.

The first transition was rocky but by the fourth rider, the teams—made up of competitors of all ages, shapes and sizes—had the hang of things. Relay races Saturday highlighted just how SUP has developed from a waterman’s sport to an all-inclusive activity where all walks of life are represented.

Hundreds took part in the day’s events that featured clinics for beginners, contests for all ages and races to benefit our nation’s wounded military men and women. Since starting out five years ago, the Mongoose Cup has grown and advanced right alongside SUP, reaching across financial and physical barriers.

This year’s event showcased just how SUP has changed with stand-up paddleboard yoga clinics, adaptive-wheelchair board demonstrations and a few rounds of XSUP, an Orange County-created game that combines SUP with components of lacrosse and soccer.

 

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