FREDERIKSTED, US Virgin Islands - The first World Paddle Association sanctioned race in the Caribbean is heading to St. Croix on May 9. It's going to be three days of SUP Races, demos, clinics, music and entertainment, in what can only be described as a slice of paradise on earth. We are very stoked (and somewhat jealous) to bring you the official release from the Coconut CUP SUP Race organizers below.
This year the World Paddle Association has chosen St Croix to host the first World Paddle Luxury Destination Race in the Caribbean. This event’s race is one of the Elite 9 World Paddle Association sanctioned races in the world, and the only one in the Caribbean for 2014. Never before hosted in the Caribbean, this is a unique opportunity for St Croix to be featured as the premier Caribbean paddle destination for stand up paddle boarding (SUP) sports tourism, and highlighting agro-tourism and health tourism. As the sport builds momentum as the # 1 water sports across the globe, This 2014 event will take place during mother’s day weekend in which this festival will top last years event with double participation and the ability for paddlers of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in water and on shore community activities and sports.
The vision of the event is to feature St Croix as the premier SUP Destination in the Caribbean. Its focus is about integration of agriculture, health and wellness with SUP tourism as a lifestyle brand. No other Caribbean destination has ideal SUP conditions as St Croix. This has positioned St Croix for being chosen by the World Paddle Association (WPA) as a featured world-class luxury destination in their networks and race system. This event’s race is one of the Elite 9 WPA sanctioned races in the world, and the first one in the Caribbean. As the SUP popularity and athleticism builds to Olympic status having been featured this year in the junior Olympics as a demo, this is positioning St Croix residents and natives with an entry point into the development of an Olympic sport.
The event objectives are to are to brand St Croix as the #1 SUP Caribbean Destination, to support Freedom City Surf and Grill’s business goals, to use SUP sports tourism to generate travel to St Croix, to increase Caribbean awareness of the SUP sport, and to facilitate the economic and infrastructure capacity of Frederiksted, St Croix and to create the opportunity for the youth of the VI to get involved in the #1 growing global water sport in the world through Freedom City Surf Shop and Grill’s ability to provide exposure, education, training, access to equipment and access to international marketing networks. It is also to offer racers a unique race event that is different from any other race by hosting more than just a one-day race. The festival is to create several experiential opportunities of travelers to enjoy St Croix that will keep them coming back every year.
To host a successful festival.
Increase racer registration by 50%.
To generate at least 50 room nights at participating lodging businesses.
Last year’s race, Paddle the Pier was a success. Freedom City hosted organizers from the WPA and FOCUS Co that lead to the WPA’s decision to choose St Croix as the luxury race of the Caribbean.
WPA has already expressed a commitment to making this an annual race that can secure St Croix’s role in SUP leadership in the Caribbean. Through this event, St Croix will be the premier leader in the Caribbean SUP world as the place to go for product launches, SUP sports trends, and SUP equipment. By creating awareness of St Croix to the SUP world, it will be providing future opportunities for Virgin Island racers, and lead to SUP events and training throughout the year.
More to come. Here are few reviews from last’ year’s racers.
Elite racers Eric Walker and Gail Vento of St Thomas, VI. “Shoreline is perfect, viewed as the best down winder race.” They race internationally including a 36 Mile Ocean Channel crossing in Hawaii)
Professional female racer Dianne Correrro of Puerto Rico, “can’t wait to come back”.
Jon Deny, from California, “St Croix is an incredible destination”.