A race may not seem like the best time to pick up a paddle for the first time, but weekly stand-up paddleboard races at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore offer everyone a chance to get on the water.
The South Tahoe SUP Series returns for a fourth year May 28, taking place every Wednesday for 14 weeks and concluding Aug. 27.
The events started a few years ago as informal races among a handful of enthusiasts and have grown to attract 100 or more paddlers to El Dorado Beach each week, said South Tahoe Standup Paddle owner Chris Brackett on Tuesday.
Everyone is encouraged to paddle, but the event attracts just as many, if not more, spectators.
“It’s for everybody,” Brackett said. “It doesn’t even matter if you’ve paddled before. Just come out and watch the festivities.”
Even for novice paddlers, the spirit of competition abounds.
“You try a little harder because of all the energy around you,” Brackett said.
The 2.5-mile course takes novice paddlers about an hour to finish and elite paddlers under 30 minutes, Brackett said.
Each week, in addition to recognition for winners, the series hands out a “Most Awesome” award to whomever best embodies the spirit of the event.
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. each night. The series costs $20 to enter and includes dinner. Categories are available for all skill levels. For those without paddleboards, rentals cost an additional $20.
El Dorado Beach is located at the corner of Lakeview Avenue and Lake Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe.