2015 marked the 18th annual Key West Paddleboard Classic! The Key West Paddleboard Classic is a favorite among paddlers because of it's location, challenging and fun races, as well as it's push to raise money for the Special Olympics. The BOTE team showed up in full force to represent the DarkRoom. With tents, tvs, swag, and a number of brand new custom boards, the BOTE crew showed Key West what BOTE and the DarkRoom was all about!
There are a number of different races to paddle in at the Key West Classic to include a grueling 12 Mile race that you can even paddle tandem! An open 4 mile, a Special Olympics race, as well as Relay Races!
The Official BOTE Results:
12 Mile SUP Classic
BOTE Co-Founder and Ambassador Magda Cooper on a 12'6" DarkRoom Custom Board took 4th in her division with a time of 02:31:29.83
BOTE Ambassador and DarkRoom Director Pete Buzzelli on a 14' DarkRoom Custom Board took 2nd in the Men's 50-59 with a time of 02:19:21.10
BOTE Ambassador Ethan Luppert on a 12'6" DarkRoom Custom Board took 3rd in the Men's 20-29 with a time of 02:28:34.60
BOTE Ambassador and Team Flying Fish Paddlesports John Meskauskas on a 12'6" DarkRoom Custom Board took 3rd in the Men's 40-49 with a time of 02:28:36.61
Joey Huempfner, BOTE Ambassador and first time DarkRoom rider, took 2nd in the Men's U19 division on a 12'6" DarkRoom Custom board with a time of 02:25:02.73. Check out his Ambassador Highlight below!
Billy Swezey, of Flying Fish Paddlesports, also DarkRoom first time rider, took 2nd in the Men's 20-29 14' with a time of 02:06:09.13
4 Mile Open Race
David Feliciano, also on a 12'6" Custom DarkRoom board, took 1st in the Men's 20-29 Open 4 mile race with a time of 00:59:52.75
Congrats to all of the paddlers! For all official times and results click HERE.
After all the race festivites were over, the after party began! The awesome part about the Key West Classic After Party was the raffle that was raising money for the Special Olympics. BOTE and a number of companies and local business contributed items to the raffle. Magda, of Team BOTE won a WatersEdge Guy Harvey Paddleboard in the raffle and turned it into a $900 donation for the Special Olympics in an impromtu live auction! Way to give back Magda!
During Sunday's Relay Fun Races, Team BOTE took 3rd!
Thank you Lazy Dog for another awesome event! Next up: The Orange Bowl Paddle Championship in Miami! BOTE is sponsoring this event, so come and check out our DarkRoom setup!
AMBASSADOR HIGHLIGHT: Joey Huempfner
The Key West Paddle Classic was by far the most challenging SUP race I have competed in, as well as an incredible experience. This year was my first time competiting in the KWPC and my first time racing a custom Dark Room board. From the moment I stood up on the board it felt solid and ready to rocket off the start line. Its stability and rounded nose served me well while navigating the incessant wind chop throughout the race. Most of the 12 mile course was exposed to a NE wind which we paddled against most of the race. It wasn't till about mile 8 that we entered the calm and protected waters of Cow Key Channel with an outgoing tide to assist us. At this point, I was able to use the energy saved from drafting to power out to the Atlantic and begin the 4 mile downwind section. By this point, all I could think about was getting a drink of ice-cold water, as my Camelbak was nearly dry. The thought of cold water at the finish drove me to did deep and get back to the beach. Once I ditched my board and ran to the finish, I was glad to have completed the race and stoked to have used the Dark Room board. Like I said before, the board serves me well: I finished with a time of2:24 and got 5th overall for 12'6 and 2nd in the 19U division. I'm looking forward to more strong finishes on the Dark Room this season.