The Frisco Rowing Center’s annual Dillon Challenge rowing and paddleboarding regatta returns to the Frisco Bay Marina for its sixth year this Sunday, Aug. 3.
“It’s a fun event. Some people take it seriously but mostly it’s for fun,” Frisco Rowing Center president Joanne Stolen said. “We’re the highest most scenic regatta in North America, maybe in the world.”
Organizers expect about 175 participants across all race categories at this year’s event as the stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) portion of the competition continues to grow.
“Every year we’ve had more stand-up paddlers,” Stolen said. “We’re expecting double the amount this year.”
She said the number of SUP racers may soon pass the number of rowers.
The rowing club added stand-up paddleboarding races to the event four years ago, but with a wetsuit requirement on Dillon the event struggled initially.
“It just did not work out very well,” SUP race organizer Carl Selles said.
Stolen said some racers even suffered from heat exhaustion due to the wetsuits. Dillon Reservoir officials lifted the wetsuit requirement last year and the sport has grown substantially.
Sunday’s competition will include SUP races, canoe and kayak races and crew-style rowing races.
Each Dillon Challenge competition will have a 6-mile long course or 2.5-mile short course option. The long course will start at the Frisco Bay Marina and head toward Farmer’s Korner, while the short course will head toward Giberson Bay and back.
The rowing competition will use an individual timed-run format with staggered starts. Paddleboarding and other paddle categories will have mass starts.
SUP racers will be broken into age groupings and board styles. Rowers’ times will be handicapped based on age.
“If you’re old and fast, you’ve got a good advantage,” Stolen said, saying the competition will include racers ranging from teenagers to competitors in their late 70s. Skill levels will be equally broad, with everything from former Olympians and national team members to beginners.
Racing gets underway with rowers at 7 a.m. Sunday, followed by paddling categories at 8:45. Early registration is $25 online or $35 onsite.
The rowing club will have onsite registration Saturday evening from 5-7 p.m. along with a pre-race party at the Island Grill.
Proceeds benefit the Frisco Rowing Center’s numerous youth, senior and adaptive programs.
Race information and registration is available at www.friscorowing.com