Missoula, Mont. - Clear skies, smooth water, and excitement lead the way for the first ever Missoula Windermere paddle board race. The unique river course provided challenges for many but everyone finished with big smiles on their faces.
John Troppmann the fifth place finisher is glad to be a part of this unique race. "Anytime there is a first I like to be a part of it, and it's really well organized, great little paddle community here. The river is perfect."
Five thousand dollars is the award for victory in both Women's and Men's elite categories. Once at the end of the 4.2 mile river race, paddlers had to sprint up the hill and pass the finish line riverside by the Holiday Inn. Winners are not determined by who finishes first but who has the best time once across the finish line. Sweetwood Paddle Board sponsor Terry Click has two racers in the competition and loves that stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is being reached out to in Montana.
"Such a casual atmosphere, but also very serious racing," Click said.
Whether it was their first race or not, competitors from all over the country enjoyed the picturesque view from the Clark Fork and said it was all but satisfying once they come into the home stretch.
Ex-pro surfer Timmy Chavez from Oceanside, California would loves the paddle family in Missoula. "I really liked it and enjoyed it. It added to you know just like the, kind of getting to the finish, you know just getting to civilization I guess you could say. Just really tapping it."
Seconds ticked away at the finish line, but this year's SUP CUP was conquered by former Montana State grad Cyril Burguiere. He is sponsored by the local company Sweetwood paddle boards out of Bigfork and now resides in Portland Oregon. He set the time to beat with completion in 31 minutes and 46 seconds.
"People are really excited here in Missoula. I think it's always about the people so the vibe definitely number one, but number two is a different race course. I'm not used to going that fast, a little rapid section."
Proceeds of this year's race will go to maintaining and improving the local Brennan's Wave feature.