Local kids go the extra 22 miles
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Twenty-two miles is a long way to go. But three of Tahoe’s youngest paddle-boarders did it, starting at Camp Richardson and ending at Kings Beach for the 2011 Tahoe Fall Classic Paddleboard Race on Sept. 18.
The event featured 91 paddlers, who conquered the long race with times varying from three hours and 18 minutes to seven hours and 43 minutes. Contestants were as old as 69 years old and as young as 9 years old, who happened to be South Lake Tahoe’s Joshua Brackett. Brackett, his brother Josiah, 11, and friend Trent Carter, 9, participated in the race as the youngest competitors to paddle across the lake this year.
Josiah described the race as, “Hot and boring. You’re in the middle of the lake and it’s like seven hours and the sun is beating down on you; it’s hard.”
The Bracketts are timid boys, sporting hoodies and short blonde hair. Josiah has a similar haircut to his father, Chris, who owns South Tahoe Standup Paddle. Joshua is the younger one, though he paddled the length of the lake for the second time this year after competing in last year’s event.
They differ on how tired they were at the end of the race and the feeling of finishing, but the only reason they participated this year was because both wanted to.
“That was so cool; I was stoked they did it,” said their 17-year old sister, Julianne, who is a very good racer herself. “How many little boys want or have the desire to do that? It’s pretty awesome.
“Not many people are going to be able to say they paddled across the lake when they were 9 or 11.”
Paddling 22 miles isn’t a one-day affair. It takes a week of proper eating and hydration according to Julianne, who participated last year.
“It’s hard,” she said. “You can get dehydrated easily in the middle of the lake without any water.”
The boys took breaks on the water, sitting or lying on the board, and had granola bars with them to snack. It took the three seven hours and 39 minutes to finish, and by the end, Josiah said, “I felt like a cripple.”
It was quite an accomplishment for the boys to finish the race, which other competitors acknowledged as well. When the boys reached the finish, they ran arms locked up the beach under the paddles of fellow racers – something only reserved for the best competitors according to their father, Chris. And why did they finish arms locked?
“We just didn’t want to leave anyone out,” said Josiah. “And we felt like it’d be cool.”