Paddle boarders, kayakers and canoers competed for bragging rights on the Peconic River Saturday in the second annual Paddle Battle LI to benefit two East End non-profits.
About 150 peopled raced in the charitable event on the Peconic Riverfront, up from 72 last year, said Bryan DeLuca, one of the event’s organizers and president of East End Tourism Alliance.
“We doubled our numbers which is fantastic,” DeLuca said. “We had people coming from as far away as Massachusetts and Connecticut.”
Proceeds from the races benefit the tourism alliance and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.
The 12-mile elite long course race for experienced paddlers starts in downtown Riverhead and travels to Simmons Point in Jamesport then over to Cow Yard Beach in Red Creek Park and back to downtown.
Other races ranged from a 2 1/2-mile amateur race, a 5-mile race, and a 200-yard sprint for children and one for adults.
Paddler Joe Laundrie, of Montauk, stopped to take a breath after crossing the finish line of the elite race..
“The last three miles were really challenging because the wind came against us,” said Laundrie, a yacht broker. “As soon as I saw that finish buoy, I put everything I had into it.”