On Sunday, July 21st, Windward hosted the first Annual Skyline SUP race and demo day at North Avenue Beach here in Chicago. Temperature wise, we could not have asked for a better day. The sun was shining, the temps sat right around 80 all day and the beach was packed and ready for a fun filled day. 

Registration was packed from the moment we opened up, full of racers interested in both the 3 mile and 6 mile races. Participants from all over the midwest were there to compete for the top spots and some good ‘ole cash money! A huge thank you to our on site demo crews from Naish, Starboard and Riviera Paddlesurf. These rep tents were packed with people all day chatting about board tech and trying as many rides as they could. We watched the demo fleet come and go all day and we definitely got some first timers hooked on the sport. The Windward shop tent had beach games running all day and boxes full of goodies to giveaway from all our favorite brands like Volcom, DC, Sun Bum, Hurley add more. Bags tournaments and frisbee games were just a few ways you could get your hands on some of these awesome prizes. 

The other huge draw of the day was our 5 on water clinics that took place throughout the day. We offered SUP Race Techniques first thing in the morning so anyone participating in the races could polish up on their skills beforehand. Local racer, SUP sales rep and good friend of the shop, Matt Lennert led the group through some specialized techniques that they could use during the races that day. Next up was Intro To SUP for all our beginners out there. Instructors went over basic fundamentals of the sport and turned a crew of inexperienced paddlers into lovers of the sport in under an hour. Intro To SUP Pilates was up next and Chicago SUP instructor Eme Cole was on hand to give participants some basic Pilates stretches and exercises that can be easily done on a paddleboard. For the workout enthusiast, Chicago SUP then hosted a SUPFit clinic that is cross training at it’s finest. If you are a someone looking for fun non-traditional ways to burn some calories, SUPFit just might be for you. Finally, for our last clinic of the day, Intro To SUP Yoga with our good friend Mary Lou Cerami was probably the most popular clinic of the day. The participants had a blast and considering the choppy late day conditions, the group did really well. We heard some laughter as a few took spills off their boards trying to hold their poses but we’ve found that to be a pretty fun part of the class. A huge thank you to all of our instructors for helping to make these great clinics happen!

In between all of these fun clinics, our 3-mile recreational race and 6-mile elite class race took place. A big shout out to all our competitors in the increasingly choppy conditions, this was definitely a race day that would require persistence and determination. The first of the two races was the 3 mile recreational race. With 26 participants this was a blast to watch. The land start had everyone lined up and charging towards the water to start their 3 mile journey. The top finisher came in just under 50 minutes with the last clocked at around an hour and a half (for full results see below). The big 6-miler was the grand finale and what a challenging race those guys and girls had. By this time of the day the conditions were more than just a little choppy and was challenging for even the seasoned race crew. For 2 hours, 12 racers battled their way thru the chop and finished like champs. Again, a big thank you to all our participants!

Official Race Results

3-Mile Recreational Race

Mens Division

1. Marvin Schaffer 49.34

2. Matt Sommer 49.40

3. Todd Miller 50.52

Women’s Division

1. Susan Cook 1:05.42

2. Leslie Maclin 1:08.28

3. Casey Niego 1:13.56

6-Mile Elite Class Race

Mens 12’6 Division

1. Ross Schager 1:42.28

2. Kevin Phillips 1:43.46

3. Matt Lennert 1:50.48

Mens 14′ Division

1. Michael Westy Westenberger 1:41.35

2. Demitri Burukhin 2:03.18

3. Rob Patton 2:06.46

For the full race day treatment, check out our photo gallery below. We already look forward to making next years race day even better than this year. Thank you to all that made this day possible and we will see you on the water!