Friday, June 21, 2024

Team Belize Pro Dive Center wins 3rd Annual Easter Sunday Kayak Race

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In this year’s Easter Sunday Kayak Race, Jessie Smith, and Daniel Gregorio, kayaking for Belize Pro Dive Center, won first place. Eighteen teams paddled to Secret Beach from downtown San Pedro in the third edition of the annual competition.

On Sunday, March 31st, kayakers met at the race starting point in front of the Holiday Hotel. The race started at midday and included teams competing in the male and female divisions. Contrary to previous races, participants were challenged to kayak on the seaside and then enter the lagoon side through the Boca del Rio channel this year. Along the route, several support vessels, including the Belize Coast Guard and the San Pedro Police Formation, followed the kayakers. A few participants could not complete the race and were assisted by the supporting boats, while the rest paddled on to Secret Beach, determined to win station prizes and the coveted champions’ title.

The race lasted almost two hours, with Team Belize Pro Dive Center leading the competition. As the finish mark came into view, the team in second place attempted to overtake Belize Pro Dive Center, but they could not close the gap, and Smith and Gregorio upped their pace comfortably crossing the finishing line in first place.
At the end of the race, Miss San Pedro Mariel Calderon presented the winners with the top prize trophy and $2,000 cash. Smith shared that it was a team effort and that he had been training for the past few weeks. He added that kayaking with Gregorio was another advantage to their winnings. Gregorio, a third-class Coast Guard Petty Officer, is a veteran kayak racer. He recently competed in the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, held from March 8th through 11th, with his team winning third place.
In second place was Team Embarcadero Boys, manned by Brian Bradley and Jesus Linarez. They took home a trophy and $1,000.Finishing in third place were Eric and Mariano Donis of Team Elvi’s Kitchen Boys, who won a trophy and $500.In the female category, Team SP Hardware, Mazey and Joana Lopez took the first-place trophy and the $2,000 cash prize. Kristy Novelo and Rashida Ferguson of Team Casa Nova Cabañas place second, walking away with a trophy and $1,000.

All the winners also received medals and their respective station prizes. After the race, the party ambiance continued at Secret Beach with live performances as many enjoyed the turquoise, clear waters.

The organizers thank all sponsors for making the kayak race possible. Special recognition goes out to Secret Beach Bar and Grill Waterpark for hosting the event and Island Emergency Services for providing their services during the event. Kayakers were also commended for taking the challenge and invited to participate in the following Easter Sunday race in 2025.

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