Summer SUP'n

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 03:50 PM.


PANAMA CITY BEACH — Stand-up paddleboarding is better in the summer, when you can get on board with races along the Gulf Coast.

 “It’s something anyone can do,” said Jon Parks, World Paddle Association certified instructor at Get Up Stand Up (GUSU) Paddlesports in Destin. “We’ve had from ages 5 years on up to a couple in their 80s come out, all shapes and sizes, people with all levels of skills and physical abilities. It’s really simple to pick up.”

GUSU Paddlesports started the Panhandle Stand Up Paddleboard Classic last year, with races in Niceville, Destin and Fort Walton Beach, but this year is adding Pensacola and Panama City Beach to the series.

“The whole idea is to get people from Destin to Panama City more and connect paddleboarders,” said Parks, who has been paddleboarding for the past 5 years and started racing more than a year ago. “It’s addicting once you get into it.”

Last weekend’s race brought out more than 100 racers and 50 to 60 spectators to Fort Walton Beach. The next race is scheduled for Aug. 25 at Sharky’s on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach. The races includes categories for Elite, Recreational, Kids and Beginner.

“Most people last race who showed up had never been on board, but the paddleboarding community is so nice and helpful,” Parks said. “Most people pick it up in 15 to 20 minutes and usually spend five to 10 minutes before the race trying it out.”

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