Paddleboard race series begins on Siesta Key this weekend

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The 1st Annual Sarasota SUP Race Series kicks off on Siesta Key this weekend. SUP stands for Stand-Up Paddleboard, and race organizers are hoping that this first of 3 races is just the tip of the iceberg for the Suncoast.

"It’s open to the public as we try to bring back the old beach carnival type of atmosphere. So, bring your family down. It starts at 9 in the morning and goes to 4 in the afternoon," says race founder Rob Alfieri.

SUP is not new, but it is new to the mainstream. And most people nowadays take the sport up not to race, but for a core workout. "Huge core workout…balance, stabilization, it’s great," says racer Karen Wiegandt.

"This is a sport that allows anybody to participate with no risk of overuse injury. The worst that can happen is you fall off into beautiful water. How much better can it be?" says racer martin Burzynski.

For both Martin and Karen, paddleboarding began as a different form of exercise. But the racing was too much to resist. “Oh, I'm always after trying to win…going fast, diehard competitor. It’s something that anyone can transfer over to. I'm a competitive rower, but I wanted something to crosstrain with," says Karen.

Saturday’s race is the first in the series, and two other local races will follow in August and October. The races will highlight the beauty of the Suncoast, while the SUPing highlights the magnificence of the water. "You’re about four feet above the water, so you can see the manatees, the dolphins, and if you get a swell you can surf, too. I love it," says Alfieri.

"It’s an absolutely wonderful sport that attracts everybody from kids to octogenarians," says Martin.

For more information on the Sarasota SUP Race Series, visit