Mo Freitas and April Zilg claim 2017 Rincon Beach Boy and raise the bar to a whole new level!

Rincon Beach Boy Angelo Cordero photo
Josh Riccio rounds the far buoy at the Rincon Beach Boy photo: Angelo Cordero
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The 2017 Rincon Beach Boy, raising money for children with Down’s Syndrome in the local Rincon community, has a stoke factor like no other.  This is a stand up paddle race with heart.

Rincon Beach Boy Elite draft train at Lighthouse pic by Angelo Cordero
The pack of Elite men’s racers building a train to battle the wind and chop in the 8-mi course from the Villa Cofresi to Domes Beach and back. Photo by: Angelo Cordero

The 9th Annual Rincon Beach Boy held tremendous energy, good will and a dynamic cast of athletes to make this year’s stand up paddle race in Puerto Rico one of the best on their record.  At race time, 340 eager paddlers took to the water from the Under-7 age group all the way to the oldest paddler at age  75.  Elite athletes on the field included top names in the sport including Mo Freitas, Garret Fletcher and Jeramie Vaine for the men.  East Coaster’s April Zilg, Victoria Burgess and Stephanie Sheidler (and others) represented for the women’s division.   The level of competition for this event reached a new all-time high.

This year, the Beach Boy was included as a stop on the WPA Tour where athletes could earn points towards the final championship in the Salt Life Cup Series.   In addition, the Beach Boy race date coincided with the Coconut Cup, a puddle hop away in Saint Croix, so multiple paddle athletes were able to attend both events which were held a week apart.

The anticipation for the Beach Boy’s high octaine 8-mile Elite course mounted at the Coconut Cup as Focus SUP Hawaii’s mega team rider Mo Freitas traded first place finishes with F-ONE’s new dynamo Josh Riccio.  Based upon the energy and level of competition between these two, those in the know realized quickly the line up for the Beach Boy would be all-time fantastic.  5-time winner of the Rincon Beach Boy, Ryan Helm, definitely had his work cut out for him.

Rincon Beach Boy Puerto Rico
Josh Riccio hits the far buoy first in the Men’s Elite 14′ division. What a finish it was! Photo by: Angelo Cordero

Rincon Beach Boy:  Kids Races, Elite Courses, Recreational Adventure and a PARTY!

Contestants for the 9th annual Rincon Beach Boy opted for either the 8-mi Elite course or the 3-mi Recreational race.  The event kicked off at 9AM with a special children’s race which included several age groups from age 5 on up.  One of the highlights of the day were those tots on race boards, working their way around the buoys in front of a celebratory crowd, elite athletes and event organizers.  Everyone was on their feet and cheering.

Rincon Beach Boy Angelo Cordero
Kids of every age are celebrated at the Rincon Beach Boy where event organizers put the kids on center stage to promote the sport here in Puerto Rico. Photo by: Angelo Cordero

Elite Competition:  Sportsmanship and Photo Finishes

After the kid’s race, it was time to get the masses on the water.  By the time the Elite racers lined up, the wind had increased and racers were looking at a 4-mile downwind push to Domes Beach and a cross-bow wind on the return to the Villa Cofresi, the finish line at the Rincon Beach Boy .

Capital SUP had brought a hardy contingent of racers over from St. Croix and so the line up included top athletes including Mo Freitas, Kelly Margetts, Josh Riccio, and Ryan Helm in the men’s 14′ division.  Jeremie Vaine was also in the mix on his 12’6.  The horn sounded and a draft train was quickly established.  42-year-old and 5X Beach Boy champion Ryan Helm, had a whole new heavy line up to contend with.  The young guns dominated, taking turns at the lead until the final buoy where it was an all out sprint between Mo Freitas and Josh Riccio diving across the finish line to the time of 1:05:57 for a photo finish.  After some consultation, the win was awarded to Mo with huge kudos for Josh to be on the same chip time at the finish line.

Then, in an equally ferocious battle for 3rd and 4th came 42-year-old Kelly Margetts against 21-year-old Martin Letourneur who – again – dove across the finish at the equal time of 1:07:33 for a photo finish awarded to Kelly.   The results for the Men’s Elite 14′ included: n (1) Mo Freitas, (2) Josh Riccio, (3) Kelly Margetts, (4) Martin Letourneur, and (5) Garrett Fletcher.  It was quite a show!

Rincon Beach Boy Puerto Rico Men's 14 Elite Angelo Cordero
Two photo finishes in the Men’s 14′ Top 5 winners made for an all-time event. Photo by: Angelo Cordero

Women’s Elite:  One Class Act

On the women’s side of the equation, the field was no less fierce as April Zilg made an appearance hot off of her 2nd place finish to Fiona Wylde at the Coconut Cup in St. Croix.  In addition to April, Florida top racer and last year Beach Boy victor Victoria Burgess was in the house along with local favorite Mariecarmen Rivera, New Yorker Stephanie Sheidler and Captial SUP-er and Starboard National Team Rider Mary Howser.

The temps were hot and the race course grueling as the wind and bump made it hard to find a natural cadence and the gals had to dig deep to cross that finish.  In the end, April Zilg crossed the line first with a time of 1:18:19, followed by Victoria Burgess at 1:23:22.  Coming in 3rd was Mariecarmen Rivera with a time of 1:24:31, and 4th brought Stephanie Shiedler across the finish at 1:24:36.  Rounding out the Top 5 Elite women on 12’6 boards was Mary Houser with a time of 1:35:49.  Fierce female riders and a lot of good sportsmanship between the gals made this race one to remember.

Rincon Beach Boy Womens Elite April Zilg, Victoria Burgess Mariecarmen Rivera Puerto Rico
Always a smile on April Zilg, the women’s top winner in this year’s Rincon Beach Boy Photo by: Angelo Cordero

Rincon Beach Boy:  A Paddle with Heart for the Salon Angelitos D’Amor

In the end, at the Beach Boy, it’s all about the party … and the people.  A day-long feel-good event raising money for the Salon Angelitos D’Amor and children with Down’s Syndrome in the Rincon community to ensure that they receive the same educational, social and recreational activities as any other child. The dancing, the music and the party went on into the late afternoon and evening.  This year, the Beach Boy team was able to award the Hall of Angels of Love a check for $5,250.00.   A healthy day of giving indeed.

Rincon Beach Boy 2017
The Rincon Beac Boy team awards a check for $5,250.00 to the Salon Angelitos D’Amor for 2017 Photo by: Angelo Cordero

One Great Event: Put it on your 2018 Race Calendar

To wrap up, the Rincon Beach Boy is so much more than just a race.  It is a community event created with love for the paddlers and for the children.  It has a vibe unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before.  Everyone is on board for a good time. The race course is both iconic and beautiful and the presentation and execution of the event is professional, supportive and friendly.  A special shout out goes to the Villa Cofresi, the site of the Rincon Beach Boy for hosting 340 paddlers in their midst on race day and to Chuck Patterson for offering his stoke on the water, giving daily clinics and cheering on the paddles at the final buoy turn.  The vibe is real and the stoke for the cause unending.

Stay tuned for NEXT YEAR when the Rincon Beach Boy celebrates it’s 10th Annual event in April 2018!  You don’t wanna miss it.

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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.