Saychelle and Larry Cain win 2017 Neptunalia Winter Challenge in Florida!

Neptunalia Winter Challenge, Melbourne Florida 2017
Neptunalia Winter Challenge, Melbourne Florida 2017
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Cold weather, drizzle and fire in their hearts, Florida paddlers showed UP for this year’s Neptunalia Winter Challenge standup paddle race to make the first race of the WPA 2017 Race Series a success!  Here is the breakdown reported by BIC Team Rider Justin Schaay.

Neptunalia winter challenge 100s
Rain nor drizzle could dampen racers spirits at this year’s Neptunalia Winter Challenge in Melbourne, Florida!

Is this really Florida?  

With temps in the low 50’s you had to wonder. Needless to say, it was a cold & cloudy start for the 2017 Neptunalia Winter Challenge in Melbourne Florida, but the pace was fast and the turnout great despite the weather.

The energy levels were high when the multiple waves of starters set off from Ballard Bay Park, a perfect location for spectators to watch the action.  After a series of buoy turns just off the Ballard Bay shoreline and a short run up the Eau Gallie River, racers then headed out across Indian River, past Dragon Point and into the Banana River for the turning buoy.

Neptunalia Challenge Starboard BIC men's elite
Racers braved rain and cold temps to stoke out this year’s event at the Neptunalia Winter Challenge this past weekend.
Photo by: John Sluder Photography

Are you up for the Kraken Challenge?

There were three course distances on offer in this year’s Neptunalia Winter Challenge.  There was the fun and frisky Dolphin Dash at 3 miles, the Manatee Madness race for 6 miles and the Kraken [for money] or Dragon [for pride] which were both 10 mile races.  The shorter races made up almost half the fleet of paddlers and there was A LOT of stoke out on the water.

Despite their best efforts in the 10 mile Kracken race, the young guns; Brad Ward (2nd), Samuel English (3rd) and Robert Hess (4th) could not match the power and speed of Larry Cain (1st) as the Canadian dominated this local race with a time of 1:38:35.

Neptunalia Challenge mens winners Larry Caine
Men’s winners at the Neptunalia from left to right: Brad Ward, Larry Cain, Sam English
Photo by: John Sluder Photography

Kraken Slayer : Seychelle Hattingh

In the ladies division, it was super refreshing to see how encouraging winner Seychelle Hattingh (1st) was to young 16-year-old paddler Maddie Miller (2nd) as they crossed the Indian river. Third went to stealth bomber Kristen Thomas.  Saychelle’s time was 1:50:44 over Maddie’s super human strength bringing her in at a time of 1:52:50.  Another great effort was put forth by a brother- sister combo Hailey (13) and Will (16) Marston who took 1st and 2nd in their respective divisions.

Neptunalia Challenge Maddie Miller Kraken
Young guns, up & coming:  16-year-old Maddie Miller slides into 2nd for the Women’s Kraken division. Photo by: John Sluden Photography

Thanks to Bic Sports, Kumo Board, Paddling Paradise, Ke Nalu and Shelta Hats for sponsoring the race and Dan and his crew of volunteers for putting the race on.

Race Results link:


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Justin Schaay wishes he was born in the age of discovery, exploring and traveling the world. He grew up along the rugged coast of South Africa enjoying the wonders of the ocean. He now lives in historic Charleston SC, when he’s not teaching or guiding he can be found hanging out with his family or planning his next travel adventure. Justin is one of only a few that have completed South Africa’s Dusi Canoe marathon on a standup paddleboard and also holds the Sup record for Florida’s Everglades Challenge, 300 miles self-supported race from Tampa to Key Largo. He did it in just under 5 days. Check out Justin’s BIC Sport Team Profile