If you happen to be driving past Pony Pasture tomorrow around 3:30 p.m., there’s a good chance you’ll see something no one’s ever seen before: an interscholastic standup paddleboard competition.
“I’m pretty sure this is the first one anywhere,” said Ben Moore, Riverside Outfitters‘ head standup paddleboard guide and the organizer of tomorrow’s race.
It’ll be Trinity Episcopal versus Collegiate in a slalom time trial that starts in the slack water above Pony Pasture rapid and ends around the takeout steps at Pony Pasture Park. The racers — about 10 from each school — will have to navigate the rapids and buoys anchored in the water (thus the slalom classification) for what what Moore estimates will be about a two-minute time trial.
“It’s an open high school paddleboard race,” Moore said, meaning any school could enter, but right now Trinity Episcopal and Collegiate are the only area schools with organized SUP programs. Moore said they might be the only two in the country. “I did some research (when he was helping Trinity start its team), and I couldn’t find any others.”
But Moore has bigger plans for interscholastic SUPing in the region. He said it looks like St. Christopher’s will start a program soon, and his hope this winter is to approach the Richmond Public Schools about getting kids into the sport.
“I’m really passionate about getting it into RPS,” he said, noting the work Richmond Cycling Corps has done developing a high school cycling team at Armstrong HS.
Moore said he’d love to have as many people as possible come watch tomorrow. It’s a spectator-friendly course — you can take in the whole time trial from the bank without having to move. And who doesn’t want to see a real American first?
(And in the meantime, check out the above video by RO contributor Elli Morris on Trinity Episcopal’s groundbreaking HS SUP team. Click here to read her article about it.)