Paddle Second Chance adds kayaks, cornhole for fourth year


Coastal Point • Submitted: SUP riders compete in the Supsquatch Team Relay during last year’s Paddle Second Chance at Holts Landing State Park near Millville.Coastal Point • Submitted: SUP riders compete in the Supsquatch Team Relay during last year’s Paddle Second Chance at Holts Landing State Park near Millville.While the Paddle Second Chance standup-paddleboard (SUP) races will back by popular demand for a fourth straight year next week, new by popular demand will be the addition of both kayak races and a competitive cornhole tournament.

The event benefitting Operation Second Chance — an organization that helps military veterans and their families — has seen steady growth since getting its start in 2013. According to PSC Chairman Walt Ellenberger, adding activities for non-SUPers looking to join in just made sense.

“It’s kind of turning into more of a festival for Operation Second Chance,” Ellenberger said of the two-day event, which gets under way with a pre-registration packet pick-up and happy hour at The Starboard in Dewey Beach on Friday, June 24, before race day on Saturday, June 25.

“We got a lot just over time, a lot of inquiries about kayaking. It’s such a neat venue, that oftentimes we have spectators or supporters that get everybody ramped up to get them out on the water, and then there’s a little bit of down time.”

While the new kayak races will follow the same course as the SUP races, land-lovers can now enter the cornhole tournament in that downtime.

And while the tournament is, of course, geared toward having fun, it’ll be every bit as competitive as the water races, adhering to American Cornhole Association (ACA) rules and with 10 sets of boards ready to go for teams to compete for the cash prize.

“It’ll be relaxed, but we put some structure to it,” Ellenberger said. “In the SUP community in particular, there’s a lot of energy, a lot of fun, a lot of camaraderie. There’s a healthy level of competition. They enjoy competing as much as having a good time.”

The SUP races will follow the same format as previous years, getting underway with the main paddle events in Elite and Open SUP divisions at 10:30 a.m., competing on a set course at Holts Landing State Park near Millville.

The cornhole tournament will begin at 11:30 a.m., with a Kid’s Paddle at 12:30 p.m., followed by the grand finale Co-Ed Supsquatch Team Relay at 1 p.m.

Ellenberger said that the Supsquatch Relay — where racers pile onto a giant inflatable paddleboard and compete together — is always the premiere event.

“The team relay at the end of the race is just a lot of fun and very entertaining,” he noted. “There’s always a good energy.”

Following the Supsquatch will be a picnic and awards ceremony to cap the day, and as always, the Starboard house D.J., D.J. Smoky, will provide the soundtrack throughout the day.

Despite the fun-natured festivities, however, the event is still about supporting the vets.

“Operation Second Chance is an official non-profit entity that’s grassroots in nature,” Ellneberger said of the Maryland-based operation. “They do a wonderful job. Their focus is helping wounded military men and women and their families back into civilian life from active duty.”

This year, PSC’s goal was to raise $30,000 for the organization — a mark that they were closing in on this week with race day approaching. With the event’s steady growth, Ellenberger said it was a mark that he was expecting to reach.

All of the money raised from PSC goes specifically to local veterans in Sussex County, with any funds left over then being filtered to veterans throughout the state.

“I’m happy to say that we’ll come very, very close, if not exceed that mark,” Ellenberger said. “To see the money actually go to work, and the friendships I’ve developed with some of these vets over the years — it’s just a pretty special thing.”

The races are set for Saturday, June 25, with the pre-race happy-hour scheduled for Friday, June 24, at The Starboard in Dewey Beach. For more information, or to sign up, visit www.paddlesecondchance.com.