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posted: 7/22/2014 3:54 PM

Paddle board fans sought for Founders' Days competition

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Returning to the Algonquin Founders' Days festival for the second year in a row is the stand up paddle board competition.

Early last year, Rick Pasturczak, owner of Algonquin's Alpine Accessories, brought the idea to the festival's board of directors, he said, and it was put on the event schedule.

"If you happen to like the sport, this is just another way of enjoying it," Pasturczak said.

Last year's event wasn't as successful as he had hoped due to poor weather conditions, he said. This year, he is hoping for a much larger attendance, though if the weather is rainy or stormy, the event will likely be canceled.

From 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, those who are at least somewhat familiar with paddle boarding can race in one of five divisions: youth ages 12-17, men ages 18-39, women ages 18-39, men over 40 and women over 40.

The challenge will begin at Riverfront Park, and competitors will race down the Fox River in two separate timed events. Prizes will be given out to the winners in each division.

The challenge is hosted and organized by Alpine Accessories, which will also provide the equipment.

"It's all identical equipment, so everybody is put on the same type of board with the same type of paddle," Pasturczak said. "That takes any equipment advantage away, and it makes it more fun and more fair for everyone."

On-site registration will begin at around 3 p.m. on the day of the event, but preregistration is also encouraged, Pasturczak said. Those who don't want to paddle board themselves also have the option of watching the races along the river. Oftentimes, it encourages them to participate in another paddle boarding event, he said.

"A little competition sometimes makes the sport more fun," Pasturczak said. "The point is, you're out there on the water for the enjoyment of it, you're out there to get better at it, and you're out there to have fun."

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