In the first ever WILDCOAST Dempsey Pro-Am MPA Paddle, eight competitors raced 4.5 miles through the Tijuana River Mouth Marine Protected Area on a beautiful morning on Saturday September 28.
"It was a great race and a great course," said Mark "Kiwi" Field, who came in second overall and first in the SUP Stock division. "I was neck and neck with Robert Phelps (the overall winner) most of the way until we had to return and the offshore winds made it a bit more difficult."
Phelps, a Coronado Lifeguard, cruised to a finish of 49:34 on his 18' unlimited custom paddleboard. He recently completed the 32 mile Catalina Classic.
"It was great to have a race that celebrates the Tijuana River Mouth MPA reef that is such a unique and important part of our coastal and marine ecosystem," said competitor Jeff Knox, a retired teacher and longtime Imperial Beach surfer.
Isle Surf & SUP sponsored the inaugural event that started from just north of the Imperial Beach Pier.
1st Place: Robert Phelps, 49:34; 2nd Place, Mark Field,51:53; 3rd
Place, Jesse Wright, 56:27; 4th Place, Doug Pate, 58:27; 5th Place, Matt
Lord 56:31; 6th Place, Scott Storms, 1:05:00; 7th Place, Jenny Nizgoda,
1:10:23 and 8th Place, Jeff Knox, 1:14:25.