What at Tight Race! – Last year competitors of the San Pedro Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge battled the elements as rough seas and high winds tested each paddler to their limit, but this year it was each team against each other. The battle for first place was hotly contested by two teams only ten seconds apart. The 11th kayak race took place on Saturday, May 22 to Sunday, May 23, 2015.
The overall sentiment of all the participants is that the kayak race is very difficult, testing the strength, endurance and will of each team. Out of the 24 teams that started the race on day one, six did not make it to the finish line the next day. The race includes a 25-mile paddle to the northern border of the island on the back side and back down to the 17 miles to San Pedro Town and the finish line.
Ten seconds or roughly ten hard strides was what separated first and second place in this year’s competition. Taking the first place trophy and $3,000 was Carlos Ramirez and James Alford, the Environmental Defense Fund team under the name ‘Hole Me Tite’. They beat out Alfonso Lind and Daniel Gregorio, the Belize Coast Guard team under the name BCG Boys. It took both teams roughly about nine and half hours to complete the two-day race.
The battle for first place during the San Pedro Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge Kayak Race
Receiving much attention this year was a team of two young boys who proved to have what it takes to complete the grueling race. The MVP award was given to Carlos Esquivel and Miguel Castillo, the youngest boys to ever compete in the race. Even though they were the last team to cross the finish line, the boys’ spirit, commitment and strength was what impressed all those who witnessed them cross the finish line. They completed the race in 13 hours and 42 minutes.
Although very grueling, the annual kayak race keeps being a big draw to those who want to challenge themselves. Below are the Top Ten placements on the senior division and the top three in the junior division.
1st Place - #18 Environmental Defense Fund – Hole Me Tite (Carlos Ramirez & James Alford - Total Time: 9:29:28)
2nd Place – #24 Belize Coast Guard (BCG Boys – Alfonso Lind & Daniel Gregorio, Total Time: 9:39:49)
3rd Place - #13 Belize Pro Divers/San Pedro Sun (Bull Dog – Jimmy Polonio & Roy Bradley, Total Time: 9:47:37)
4th Place - #27 Captain Morgan’s (Team 2G – Charles & Arden Garay, Total Time: 10:01:09)
5th Place - #21 Green House (Green House Boyz – Jesus Linarez & Jason Trapp, Total Time: 10:10:42)
6th Place - #19 Venezia del Caribe (Venice Ganddlers – Cesar Salazar & Tony High, Total Time: 10:34:08)
7th Place – #16 Venezia del Mar (Venezia del Caribe – Jesus Castillo & Irvin Humes, Total Time: 10:35:21)
8th Place - #9 Tiki Turtle Gift Shop (Tiki Turtle – Will Lima & Adolfo Ayuso, Total Time: 10:48:12)
9th Place - #12 Canary Coves (Reef Boys – Emir Recinos & Chris Rodriguez , Total Time: 10:49:55)
10th Place – #11 Caramba Restaurant (Caramba Paddlers – Jason Chee & Lionel Cornejo, Total Time: 11:22:53)
1st Place - #20 Elvi’s Kitchen (Elvi’s Kitchen Boys – Carlos Linarez & Kevin Chavez, Total Time: 10:35:30)
2nd Place - #8 Anti Offshore Drilling Boys (Blue Water Grill – Alex Pineda & Wilmer Hernandez, Total Time: 11:13:10)
3rd Place - #3 Wodinators (WOD Zone Fitness Center – Josue Marin & Cade Segura, Total Time: 11:22:34)
MVP – We Dem Boyz – Carlos Esquivel & Miguel Castillo (Youngest Team) Total Time: 13:42:12
Day 1 Race Kick-off: