South Tahoe Standup Paddle’s Race the Lake of the Sky has a first place prize all its own.
The South Shore stand-up paddle race which drew some of the sport’s top international athletes last year was chosen as the No. 1 standup paddle event in the world by paddle athlete Anthony Vela on the Supconnect Live Show earlier this year.
“They went through the top 10 and we didn’t think we’d made it. And then it came on — we were No. 1,” South Tahoe Standup Paddle CEO Chris Brackett said. “I started to get choked up, I started crying.”
In 2012, Brackett knew he wanted to launch a fun stand-up paddle event that would bring the community together to celebrate a sport he loved. What he didn’t know was just how successful that race would be.
It took seven months of planning and the sale of one tractor, but Brackett and his family organized the South Shore’s first-ever World Paddle Association-sanctioned race, Race the Lake of the Sky, last June. The event drew hundreds of athletes, about a thousand spectators and international acclaim from the stand-up paddle community.
“The No. 1 event of the year— the race that I had the most fun, the best food, the most beautiful, it was just incredible — and South Lake Tahoe, give it up for Chris Brackett, and the Brackett family and everyone who helped put on Race the Lake of the Sky,” Vela said on the Supconnect Live Show.
Vela praised the event’s organization, variety of courses, unique vibe, spectator-friendly atmosphere and the best shrimp tacos he said he’d ever eaten.
“It had everything. It was a real family event. Beautiful awards … That’s definitely a race you want to be at,” Vela said.
Brackett doesn’t plan to stop with the 2012 race. Planning for the second annual Race the Lake of the Sky started a couple weeks after the first event wrapped up and Brackett said he hopes to draw double the number of competitors and spectators.
This year’s race is slated for June 29-30 and will offer youth races, a distance race, a team relay, the El Dorado five miler and a SUP cross event similar to its snow relatives, ski and boardercross.
Brackett said he anticipates about 500 athletes and 2,000 spectators.
“I’m already so amped. That adrenaline drives me all the time,” Brackett said.