Paddle board race draws crowd despite cold in Wrightsville Beach

Reported by Tim Pulliam - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Fans of paddle boarding braved the frigid temperatures outside Dockside Restaurant and Bar Saturday for the 2nd annual Cold Stroke Classic.

The competition in Wrightsville Beach brought out some of the best in the sport.

Jeoffery Nathan organized the stand-up paddle board race event. He says it's the fastest growing water sport in the world.

"Pretty much, if you can stand up and have decent balance, you can do it," says Nathan. "Just stand on the board and paddle around."

One hundred racers stood on their boards and paddled around Harbour Island competing for a golden trophy.

"It's been phenomenal that we've had this kind of response and everyone is stoked to be here," says Katherine Nathan.

No one was more "stoked" than Chuck Patterson. He's been paddle boarding for four years.

Patterson came all the way from California just to see beginners enjoy the growing sport.

"For me, it's not about winning or losing," says Patterson. "I get satisfaction from seeing others get excited. I'm probably going to be the last person coming across the finish line with the last person, just to share the stokes. I'm here to have a great time."

Proceeds from the event support the Surf-rider Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps protect the environment.

If you would like to learn how to stand-up paddle board, there's a shop called Coastal Urge on Military Cut-off Road that offers demonstrations.

Copyright 2010 WECT. All rights reserved.