Gig Harbor the location for Paddlers Cup April 11-12

The annual Gig Harbor Paddlers Cup will hit the water April 11-12. The event features competitive paddle racing for kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards, as well as outriggers and para-canoes.

Organizers said they have added several new elements to the fourth annual event.

Among the new events will be the Gig Harbor Heritage Classic. The cup will celebrate Gig Harbor’s rowing history with the return of the Heritage Row, now renamed the Heritage Classic. Before there were bridges and ferries, people had to row themselves from location to location.

Paddlers in the Classic will start at Jerisich dock and paddle across the Tacoma Narrows to Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park and back. The route is approximately 6 miles round trip, and this event will take place April 12.

The Heritage Classic also will be part of the new Seafair Northwst Paddleboard Series. The top three male and female finishers will qualify to compete on the hydroplane course at Seafair in August.

Also new will be dragon boat racing. The corporate dragon boat races will be open to corporations, public service groups, and clubs sponsored by small businesses and high schools. Participants of any level of fitness can quickly adapt to and develop a passion for this sport — no experience necessary. Boats will be provided by the Gig Harbor Paddlers Cup. This event will take place April 12.

The weekend’s events will be based at Skansie Brothers Park and Jerisich Dock in downtown Gig Harbor with Saturday sanctioned event races taking place inside the harbor.

In addition to the races, attendees can visit vendors and booths with informational displays on water sports and equipment at the park. There also will be the opportunity to try out equipment, view new boats and learn more about paddling sports.

Proceeds from the benefit the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team.

Major sponsors of the cup are The Skin Cancer Center; Kim Rioux, DDS; Heidi Rowntree Realtor; city of Gig Harbor, and Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission. Additional support comes from Peninsula Light, Downtown Waterfront Alliance, Thrivent Financial, Timberland Bank, Umpqua Bank, and the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Club.