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Virginia Key Ocean Challenge

Cover Photo

Paddlers of all disciplines gather on Saturday, June 29th, at the 2nd Annual Virginia Key Ocean Challenge (a/k/a the Eric Chan Open). Whether you're a competitive racer, first time adventurer, recreational paddler, professional spectator, World class party goer or just want to have fun in the sun, come out to the beach for a common gathering at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. All paddling clubs, teams, racers and individual paddlers are invited to participate in Race South Florida’s Summer Celebration & Race.

Race Courses open to all paddle crafts, teams and individuals. SUPs, OCs, Surfskis, Sea Kayak, Recreational Kayaks, and all other human powered paddle crafts are welcome. Categories will be determined based on registration. Race for fun or for glory, but race!
Registration & Contributions

This is a not-for-profit event. We do ask for contributions and suggest a minimum contribution of $20. In trying to keep things equitable, we have broken it down by race registration and cookout contributions.

Racers -- Early Registration, paid by June 26th, is only a $10 person. Your donation covers event insurance and chase boat. Onsite registration is $20. Yes, this is meant to encourage early registration so that we can properly prepare for the event.

Cookout -- Cookout Contributions are, you guessed it, $10 per person by June 26th, $15 onsite. We will have chicken, corn-on-the-cob, rolls, fruit, snacks, drinks, treats.

Race Courses and Race Classes

Race Courses open to all paddle crafts, teams and individual, Race for fun or for glory!

Race classes will be based on registration.


7-Mile Virginia Key Ocean Challenge
Approximately 7-miles from the beach to the range markers and back. This is a triangular ocean course. Competitor categories will be determined according to participants entering the event.

3-Mile Sunshine Beach Dash
Paddle out and back outside the markers please. How fast can you dash?

1-Mile Historic Beach Sprint
Paddle down the beach and back. Excellent for relays and sprints. Teams are encouraged to participate

50-Yards -- Anything But A Boat Challenge. Rules are simple, you can compete on anything that floats, but a boat. Get creative and keep it simple. This is an after lunch event.

YOU MAY PARTICIPATE IN ONE OR ALL EVENTS. It all depends on just how fast you paddle. Now that would be a blast.

Registration starts at 9:00 AM
First race starts at 10:00 AM


All human powered paddle crafts are welcome including SUPs, Outrigger Canoes, Sea Kayaks, Surfskis, dragon boats, recreational kayaks, and any other human powered paddle craft. Awards are by class for three places.

Final categories will be based on registration. WPA and Sound Rowers designations are used in determining classes. Gender banding will apply to single events only. Teams will be considered teams regardless of age or gender. Unless, of course, we change our minds. The judges decisions are final and subject to change at the judges' whims. Judges may be required to perform feats of strength when disagreeing on a decision. Bribery is encouraged but unlike since there is no prize money involved. Side bets are on your own.
For the Non-Racers

If you don't want to race and just want to hang out, this is the perfect spot. You can paddle or enjoy the park's beautiful nature walk. You can hang out under a shady tree, swim with friends; lay on the sand as you bake in the wonderful South Florida sunshine.

More information on the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park is available at the parks website

All you have is an inflatable seahorse or kiddie lifesaver? Bring it! Okay, come race that in the 50-Yard Anything But a Boat Challenge. You might be able to swim faster, you'll certainly walk faster, but it wont be quite as much fun. Winners in this race will be awarded bragging rights.

The races are not sanctioned by any governing body, just by the awesome paddlers that come to enjoy a fantastic park on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

There will be raffle items and some giveaways for race winners.

About VKOC

It was late April 2012 when our good friend and OC paddler Eric Chan approached us to help assemble an event for a group of out-of-town racers visiting the first weekend in May. Two weeks later, with the blessing of the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, the first Annual Virginia Key Ocean Challenge took place. Other park visitors joined us as we held a friendly race with club members and friends.

The VKOC is now an annual social event in which the paddling community gathers on the beach to simply enjoy what we all love to do, together. It's a day of paddling and partying. All clubs, teams, and individual paddlers are invited to participate. SUPs, Outrigger Canoe, Sea Kayaks, Surf Skis, recreational kayaks, dragon boats and all other human powered crafts have an opportunity to try their hand at a friendly race.

You are encouraged to beat the heat with the Anything But A Boat Challenge. Rules are simple, you can compete on anything that floats, but a boat. Get creative and keep it simple.

Sponsorship & Demos Boats and Boards

In keeping with the spirit of building community, Epic Kayaks, The Paddle House, Riviera Paddle Surf will be on hand with some demo surfskis, sea kayaks, rec kayak and paddleboards.

Join or login to comment.

  • J. Peter H.

    It seems that this club is strictly a one day affair per year. It could be every Saturday, for the lack of need for a great number to kayak together

    July 9, 2013

    • Donna J.

      Hi Peter, welcome to the MKC! Check out our upcoming meetups on the left, as well as our past meetups. I think you are going to have to eat your words (LOL)! Looking forward to seeing you out on the water.

      July 9, 2013

  • J. Peter H.

    What is the time of the next group kayaking?

    July 9, 2013

  • Lourdes

    Great event Saturday, thanks Esther. Looking forward to the next one. Good seeing you again today.

    June 30, 2013

  • Michael S.

    Lots of paddle boards. Had a great time at Virginia key. Weather was perfect till the end...

    1 · June 30, 2013

  • Donna J.

    Very successful event in that everyone had a great time. Looking forward to doing it again.

    June 30, 2013

  • Sandy B.

    Good morning...This is a brand new experience for me. I would like to attend event and bring food for the event. Thanks

    June 29, 2013

  • Mary Ann M.


    June 28, 2013

  • Jeff W.

    Available for on water support or to master the grill.... I am from Texas after all and grilling is in our souls :-)

    June 28, 2013

  • Michael S.

    Looking forward to a fun day! Will help volunteer with ccoking and water support.

    June 28, 2013

  • Rolando P.

    Esther I am doing the 3 miles race. I will like to volunteer to help in the 1 mile, or 7 miles

    June 26, 2013

    • Esther

      Awesome. Thanks!

      June 27, 2013

  • Jaymie

    Will there be any loaner SUPs? I don't have my own.

    June 26, 2013

    • Esther

      Demo boards will be on the beach to try. Not sure if you can race it though.

      June 26, 2013

    • Donna J.

      Can we arrange for a few rental boards to be available? I imagine whoever is bringing the demo boards wouldn't mind bringing a few extra to rent out.

      1 · June 26, 2013

  • Esther

    We need volunteers! Can you help? We need volunteers on the beach and on-water. A few kayaks to watch the course up and down the beach would be awesome!! Please e-mail me if you can help [masked]

    June 26, 2013

  • Luis López And Dania M.


    2 · June 24, 2013

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