What’s up with SUP? Stand Up Paddleboarding Event Coming Up!
Interview by: Molly Walsh, Free Press Staff Writer
BFP: There’s a big paddleboard event coming up on Lake Champlain. Tell us all about it.
Russ Scully: Ah yes, my favorite time of year. Stand Up for the Lake is an amazing event with a great cause. Kate Neubauer (the former executive director of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center) and I co-created the event back in 2009 as a way to promote the sport of stand up paddling while raising money for the Sailing Center. In the beginning, it was a group of friends getting together to race around a bunch of buoys in NASCAR fashion. It was largely local competitors who all knew each other, followed by a barbecue and some beers. Last year (2013) was the tipping point when it went from rag-tag to World Paddlers Association (WPA) sanctioned. We got serious about making it a destination event to attract top talent to the area. We registered approximately 50 paddlers — half of which came from outside the state — to compete in the event. This year I hit the greater New England race circuit to both compete and further promote our event to elite paddlers. Convincing competitors to come up to Burlington to paddle in a WPA sanctioned race is an easy sell. That being said, the event caters to more than just elite racers. We also run a 3-mile recreational race for those that want to have a race experience without the pressure of paddling against the elite group. We’ve also got a kids/youth race and a group relay race designed for fun as a throw back to those early NASCAR days.