The 10th Annual San Pedro Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge proved to be one of the toughest kayak races to date as teams battled through rough seas driven by close to 20mph winds that battered them during the two days of competition. Close to half of the teams did not manage to complete the race and dropped off the competition after the first day.
Twenty teams entered the kayak race that commenced on Saturday, May 10, 2014, departing from the lagoon side of the island at the Sunset Boardwalk. They all faced the tough challenge to paddle 25 miles to the northern border of the island on day one and back down the 17 miles to the finish line in town. But this year the race was a huge mental and physical challenge due to the weather conditions; high winds, strong currents, choppy seas and the beating sun were all factors that made the race even more challenging.
Teammates got exhausted, paddles and back rests broke and others lost their shoes while traversing the muddy mangroves at the northernmost tip of the island; these were just some of the challenges the kayakers encountered during the race. The large, vast and choppy Laguna de Cantena was the hardest part of day one as the 7-mile stretch proved to be a killer for most teams.
Day One Kick Off
“I compete in this race every year and the route is the same, but this year the weather conditions proved to be a challenge. It took me two more hours to complete the race than on previous years,” commented one of the participants.
The following day almost half of the teams had called it quits. After camping at the first pit stop overnight and rejuvenating their energies the remaining paddlers started heading to town by 10a.m. Even some of the teams that were disqualified on the first day joined the journey back just for the fun of it.
Cutting through very choppy seas and withstanding heavy winds, the kayakers grit their teeth and muscled through the remaining 17-mile journey (3-hour) back to town at the finish line located at Central Park.
Congratulations to all teams who participated. The following are the results for this year’s Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge:
1st Place - #19 Coco Beach (Coco Beach Cesar Salazar & Irvin Humes Total Time: 10:08:02)
2nd Place – #11 Coco Beach (4 G 1 – Charles Garay & Arden Garay, Total Time: 10:12:08)
3rd Place - #13 Seaduced by Belize (Seaduced – Roy Bradley & Brian Bradley, Total Time: 10:26:28)
4th Place - #10 Belize Pro Dive (Bull Dog – Jimmy Polonio & Daniel Gregorio, Total Time: 10:27:53)
5th Place - #20 Belizean Shore (Belizean Shores – Edwin Casasola & Tony Salazar, Total Time: 10:29:07)
6th Place - #14 Super Buy (Reggae Boys – Mario Chimal & Jesse Smith, Total Time: 10:42:38)
7th Place – #12 Coco Beach (4 G 2 – Asher Gary & Jeremi Garay, Total Time: 10:49:06)
8th Place - #5 Tuff-E-Nuff (Angry Boys – Joe Garcia & Jose Villamil, Total Time: 10:56:01)
9th Place - #6 Indigo (Indigo Island Boys – Horacio Guerrero & Joshua Nuñez, Total Time: 11:58:49)
10th Place – #8 Amigos del Mar (Big Boyz – Jason Valladarez & Eduardo Hernandez, Total Time: 12:40:29)
11th Place - #7 Tropic Air (Tropic Air Force – Kenrick Duncan & Ezekiel Myvett, Total Time: 13:13:47)
12th Place - #1 JeffinBelize.com (Curves Ahead – Vicki Ellias & Tamera Blankenship, Total Time: 13:57:26)
First Place Winners Coco Beach Cesar Salazar and Irvin Humes
Second Place Winners Coco Beach Charles Garay & Arden Garay
Third Place winners Seaduced by Belize Roy Bradley and Brian Bradley
1st Place - #16 Sunbreeze Suites (Breezy Boys – Kyrone Vasquez & Jovanni Campos, Total Time: 13:17:59)
Day Two Race
Teams cross the finish line at Central Park
Even high school student took on the two day challenge of the kayak race
Participating Teams celebrate completion of the two-day grueling race