On August 26th, the 4th Annual Great South Bay Paddle Board Race was held, as it is every year, at The Bay Shore Yacht Club, a hidden gem right on The Great South Bay.

South Shore Paddle Boards, owned and operated by Karen Vaccaro Marvin, was once again the host and organizer.

That in itself says everything about Karen, for on April 20th a fire at a nearby business caused extensive damage to her award winning store in Babylon (Note above that she has since been working out of a temporary location at the Long Island Yacht Club). It was through her grit, and through the support of the SUP community that rallied around her, that this year’s event was even possible.

Here’s some “before” pictures — and a preview of what her resurrected store will look like.  She is a true retailing genius, and an inspiration:

We all wish Karen much success on her new store, once she can reopen.  Amazing she was able to hold the event this year under the circumstances!

The race attracted 97 contestants of all ages on a sparkling, but increasingly windy and choppy day on the bay.   People came in from as far away as Utah to compete.

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There were three different courses — 1, 3, and 6 miles. Conditions, as the paddleboarders described it, got increasingly “wonky’: Winds going one way, currents another, and growing chop. It was by all accounts a challenging but exhilarating encounter with our bay. Here’s the start:

Save The Great South Bay brought an immense amount of swag to the event:

Here are some of the items we had for sale, now available on our store — click on the images to get to our online store:

We sold out Jeanine O’Grady’s (aka South Shore Betty) book, The Great South Bay.   Just a beautiful picture book with over 30 pictures.   Perfect for kids at the beach house!

The race, and of course the apparel and the book raise money for Save The Great South Bay’s key initiatives — Our Creek Defender Program and our Bay Friendly Yards Program.    There are 42 creeks that lead to The Great South Bay, and thousands and thousands of yards on The South Shore.  What if we reintroduced native plantings and habitats to the uplands and our front yards?  To what extent could we improve water quality flowing down to the bay as the plant roots draw out the excess nitrogen from the ground water, and break down pollutants?

The Creek Defender Program also helps to organize local cleanups — ideally in every shore town.   The paddleboarding / SUP community, led by Karen, has stepped up on these cleanups, where the paddlers get to places at the creek mouths where no one else can.

Mike Busch, Director at Save The Great South Bay, was on hand as per usual taking drone shots, plus a ton of photos, including of the awards ceremony.  We will be seeing those soon!

The after party, held at a great high end mexican restaurant in Bay Shore called Verde Kitchen, was fantastic!


And “Drink The Bay Clean” was very much on the menu!

Drink The Bay Clean, like the event itself, also raises funds for our Creek Defender and Bay Friendly Yard programs.   An American Pale Ale, it is delicious!

Great event!   I wish it was next year already!

When Karen’s new store opens, we will be sure to let you know.  Karen, here’s our ‘wave of thanks!’