Gasparilla SUP Invasion 2016: Race Recap

This was my first race since November last year, well actually I did sign up for a race a few weeks back but that one was cancelled due to race conditions being too dangerous. Anyways, I was so excited for this race because it was in TAMPA, FL… All my family lives there so it was going to be a fun weekend with everyone!

I had my aunts and uncles come to the race to cheer me on, which was awesome but the event quickly turned for the worse…

Here’s what happened:

  1. First of all, parking was 15 dollars!
  2. You had to walk your board about a half mile to the dock
  3. The race was supposed to start at 10:20 am, we didn’t get started until 11 am.. Oh and it was 90 degrees outside!
  4. The dock was a single file line that took forever because it was super small with a long path to the actual dock
  5. There was no picture of the course for racers to look at, which made it difficult to picture in your head where to go exactly
  6. No one knew the buoys were little white crab trap buoys! Who does that??!!
  7. We all missed the first buoy! Going a half mile further, until the police came from behind us telling everyone to turn around. They should have told my friend, Brad, who was in the lead to turn around first so the order of the Elite class would not be messed up
  8. About 3-5 people turned around (those people ended up beating us all) and they were also in the back of the group to begin with…
  9. The rest of us, about 12 people sat in the water discussing what to do next since the race was now messed up
  10. We decided to start from there and create the race again, so we did
  11. Times were really messed up because we stopped for about 15 minutes and then stopped after the first lap because the race director didn’t know what was happening
  12. Then half the group went in due to frustration and the rest of us did the second half of the course to finish the race
  13. A 6 mile race turned into over 7 miles of confusion
  14. Plus, boat traffic was insane, so many boats!
  15. Also, the race finished around 1 pm but awards weren’t until 4!! Who wants to wait around for a piece of paper, I heard that’s what the trophies were because I left before the awards since times were so screwed up
  16. Overall, it was a mess

The good thing was I got a great workout in and meet some really cool paddlers out on the water!

Here are some pictures from the race:


Paddling in Tampa, FL


Going under the bridge


Trying to finish


The start


When we were discussing what we all were going to do

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Full Moon Paddle Boarding

Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa

The other night was one of the most fun things I got to do: Paddle board at night underneath a full moon. I have never paddled at night before so I was really excited. All the lights reflecting on the water was such a pretty sight to see.


This past week, I got to paddle board 4 times while I was at school because I know keep my board up in Tampa with me. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. The shop, Urban Kai, stores my board and they were the host of the moonlight paddle board event.

Everyone that paddled!

Everyone that paddled!

There were about 25 people there and some of my close friends came so it was well worth it. We wore headlamps and some people had glow sticks to wear to help keep us lit up on the water. Where we paddled was right by downtown Tampa so there were many lights on both sides of the river and it was a super clear night.

My friends

Everyone there was so nice and chill that the atmosphere was great. My friends have never paddle boarded before and after this event they love the sport. I like to see people get hooked on the things I like to do, especially my friends! NEW PADDLE BUDDIES!

I definitely recommend trying paddle boarding at night! Go in a group, wear lights, and be safe, also watch for bugs. I bet this would be a great date idea too! Have fun everyone 🙂