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Junior Olympic races draw competitors to venue
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Connor Kelly, 5, decides to try paddleboarding while sitting Saturday during a free paddleboard demonstration at the Clark’s Bridge Olympic venue. The Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club teamed up with Team Radosta Fitness of Hoschton, GUSU Paddle Sports of Destin, Fla., and The Outside World in Dawsonville as hosts of the free, stand-up paddle demo.

It was off to the races Saturday for those involved with the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club and the Baron and Brothers International Junior Olympic Program.

The 2012 Baron and Brothers International Championship Race was held at the Lake Lanier Olympic venue and included races for both youth and adults.

The kids raced in a variety of boats, including dragon boats, sprint kayaks, single- and two-person kayaks and canoes.

Adult participants competed in stand-up paddleboard races for the first time, with some 50 to 75 athletes expected to take part.

The stand-up paddleboard races included 1.5- and 3-mile distances.

A free paddleboard demo for those in the public to come and try paddle boarding for the first time or for the experienced paddle boarders to try out new boards.

Stewart Carr, coach of the Junior Olympic Program’s team, the Terrapins, and co-organizer for the stand-up paddleboard race said it was time for the sport to make its appearance.

“We wanted to come up with an exciting way to incorporate SUP into the club. We are hoping that this event is the first of many at the venue,” Carr said.

A variety of prizes were given to winning teams, including gold, silver and bronze medals, cash for the top elite racers and merchandise, plus the overall team award, the Dave Mason Trophy.

Billy Dodd, 61, a veteran sprint kayaker and stand-up paddleboard racer, came out to reminisce about his experiences.

“I love getting to come out and watch the young kids getting involved with these great sports,” Dodd said. “There is nothing more refreshing, more exciting than getting to compete on a team and in a boat. The two just go hand in hand.”

Dodd was a living example of one of the greatest aspects of the sport, according to Carr.

“What I like about SUP is that no matter what your age or experience, you can be involved in the sport for a lifetime,” Carr said.

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