Stand-up paddle boards have become a popular option for water transportation and the trend has hit Moab river runners as well. On May 12 Paddle Moab hosted the sixth Annual Back of Beyond SUP Paddle Race on the Colorado River.
The seven-mile race started at Dewey Bridge and ended at Hittle Bottom Campground. Competitors paddled through the classic and iconic red rock canyon in three categories: elite, open and youth 18-and-under. The weather and water conditions weren’t ideal, but competitors were able to push through the 25 mph wind gusts and a low river flow of 6,850 cubic feet per second.
“It’s all about having fun and getting people together in the paddle board community,” said Josh Surkes, the organizer of the event. “We have people who came out from all over: California, Colorado, Arizona, Australia and more. Plus we had our local Moab representation in Natalie Zollinger.”
Trent Hickman finished first in the elite male division and also had the best overall time of the competition at 58:35.7. In the elite female division, Dennis Higgins took first with a time of 1:09:07.1.
Gary Lacy completed the race first in the open men’s division at 1:00:45.3, and on the female side Marjo Curgus finished first with a 1:06:42.5 time.
Only four racers competed in the youth 18-and-under division. June Maxwell finished first with a time of 1:45:36.7, and on the male side Blake Hemming ended first with a time of 1:31:32.2.
Event sponsors included Badfish, Sol Paddle Boards, Hala Standup Paddle and Red River Adventures. The finish line at Hittle Bottom featured music from indie band Goinomadic and refreshments from Bohemian Brewery.