Water-Related News

Mark your calendar for Battle on the Blueway

Fort Myers, FL, March 9, 2015 — Paddling enthusiasts mark the return of a competitive Calusa Blueway race event with the Battle of the Blueway SUP Race to be held May 30 at Fort Myers Beach.

The event is a World Paddle Association Region 5 sanctioned points race that will include a seven-mile and two-mile race, a Calusa Kids Race, a Special Olympics Fun Race, demonstration area, vendor and environmental education area and a barbeque.

Paddlers will gather at 7 a.m. May 30, which is the weekend after Memorial Day weekend, at Crescent Beach Family Park, 1100 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931. Race starts are planned for 8:30 a.m. for SUPs and 10:30 a.m. for the Open Vessel class with demo-activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Following the awards ceremony, the Best Western Plus Beach Resort will be hosting a barbeque from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

The event is free for spectators. Race entries are $45-$65. After May 1, race prices increase to $65-$85. No registration the day of the race. Extra barbeque tickets are $8 each. Beach parking typically has a fee.

More than $5,000 in prize money and WPA points will be offered; competitors from throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States are expected.

If you aren’t competing, this event is designed to introduce people to paddling as well, with a spectator area and places for those who want to try out a paddleboard or surf ski. Nonprofits will also be onsite to display wildlife, Native American artifacts and environmental education materials.

“Fort Myers Beach is perfect for this type of event and we’re happy with all the community support and sponsorship interest,” said Calusa Blueway Coordinator Mike Hammond of Lee County Parks & Recreation.

The event is designed to showcase the Calusa Blueway, Lee County’s 190-mile marked paddling trail for SUPers, kayakers and canoeists and help raise money for the Special Olympics-Florida.

Sponsors of the Battle of the Blueway include the Best Western Plus Beach Resort, B103.9, Fish Tale Marina, Holiday Water Sports, the LINK, Point Ybel Brewing, SWFL SUP Club, Tarpon Bay Explorers and YOLO Board Adventures. For more information on sponsorship and vendor opportunities, contact Mike Hammond at 239-707-7981.

“It’s great to see the return of a sanctioned paddling race to Lee County,” said Jeff Mielke, executive director of Lee County Sports Development. “We always want to support events that bring positive attention to our waterways, and the explosion in popularity of SUP racing is great for our sports tourism initiatives.”

Paddlers and spectators coming in from out of town can find lodging information at the Lee County Sports Housing website, http://leecountysportshousing.org/event/647 or by calling 1-888-529-6588. The host hotel for the race is the Best Western Plus Beach Resort. Discounted rates for those participating in the event are available if noted upon making the reservation. Call 239-463-6000.

Race details and registration can be found at: https://paddleguru.com/races/BattleontheBluewaySUPRace

For more information, call Mike Hammond at 239-707-7981 or 239-533-7275. Find Calusa Blueway on Facebook or CalusaPaddle on Twitter. Trail information is at www.calusablueway.com or www.leeparks.org/blueway. Visit the iTunes store or Google Play to download the free smart-phone app. Visitors can find information at www.fortmyers-sanibel.com.