Siesta Key Gulf-to-Bay Marathon Paddle


Jun 4, 2016


Sarasota, FL

Sanction and Insurance

USA Canoe and Kayak (USACK)

Event Directors

David Miner – 941-545-9709

Steve Butler – 941-376-3524

About Siesta Key

A gorgeous barrier island adjacent to Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach was ranked the #1 beach in the U.S. in 2011. Siesta Key has world-class dining and shopping along with outstanding accommodations. Bring your family and friends to enjoy a great race and a special weekend.

Read about Turtle Beach Park here:

About the Race

Looking to challenge yourself in a longer paddle race? Want to test yourself in both the Gulf and Bay waters of beautiful Sarasota, Florida? If so, then don’t miss this 16-mile paddle race starting and finishing at Siesta Key’s Turtle Beach Park! Wanting to race but paddle a little less, we're also offering a 6-mile out-and-back challenge.

The 16-mile race starts on the Gulf side of Turtle Beach and finishes in Blind Pass at Turtle Beach on Siesta Key. Starting in the Gulf, participants will paddle north past Siesta Key’s famous Beach and into Big Sarasota Pass. Riding the incoming tide into Sarasota Bay, participants will paddle around the north end of Siesta Key and then swing south under Siesta Key’s North Bridge. Paddling south, participants will enter Robert’s Bay going past mangrove islands and beautiful waterfront homes. Once under Siesta Key’s South Bridge, participants will enter Little Sarasota Bay. Turning right around a race marker buoy, participants will paddle towards and then into Blind Pass Canal after rounding a point of the island. Once in Blind Pass Canal, participants will paddle north to the finish line at the end of the canal. 

The 6-mile race starts and finishes in Blind Pass Canal. You'll start from the finish line area and paddle south down the canal and out into Little Sarasota Bay, turning north up the bay to a race marker buoy where you'll turn around and paddle back to the finish line.

Race Divisions (craft types)


  • Standup Paddleboard Stock (12′ and under)
  • Standup Paddleboard 12′6
  • Standup Paddleboard 14'
  • Standup Paddleboard Unlimited
  • Paddleboard Stock (Prone)
  • Paddleboard Unlimited (Prone)
  • OC-1
  • OC-2
  • Surf Ski
  • Sea Kayak single
  • Sea Kayak double


Race Entry Fee details - (Race is limited to the first 150 entries, so register now!)


  • 16-mile marathon race: $99 per paddler
  • 6-mile challenge race: $69 per paddler


Entry fees include the following:


  • Insurance for each participant
  • Hired motor boats and/or jet skis for safety and course monitoring
  • Custom Race T-shirt
  • Finisher medal (16-mile race ONLY and if you finish)
  • Post race social meal
  • Post race social FREE beer
  • Goodie bag with cool stuff from our sponsors
  • Cool special gift you'll get during the goes nicely with beer!
  • Race bib number


Rules and Safety Details


  • All marathon paddlers MUST be able to complete the paddle in 5 HOURS. This means if there is ZERO current, you should be able to paddle 1-mile in about 20 minutes. If you’re not within the final 1/4-mile of the course within 5 hours, you may be pulled by the motorboat pilots and shuttled to the finish line.
  • All paddlers MUST attend the pre-race safety meeting, which will be held on race day morning just prior to the race starting.
  • The only means of propulsion is by you, the paddler. No other forms of propulsion can be used during the race.
  • All paddlers MUST provide their own nutrition (water, electrolytes, calories) for the entire race and have a means for securing it to their craft. There are no water stations out on the course.
  • All paddlers MUST carry a whistle and wear an approved PFD while paddling.
  • All paddlers paddling a SUP, prone paddle board, surf ski, OC-1, or OC-2 MUST have a leash for safety!!
  • All paddlers should know how to self rescue on the craft they're paddling. This means that you know how to and have practiced getting back onto your craft if you fall off/out. Getting back on board in choppy/windy conditions is much different than getting back on board in calm conditions...practice, practice, practice!
  • All paddlers MUST have a cell phone secured in a dry bag for use in case of an emergency.
  • All paddlers MUST wear their provided bib (race) number throughout the race.
  • All paddlers should be able to swim 100+ yards without stopping and unassisted. 


Safety out on the course

Water safety will be provided by powerboats and/or jet skis on the course. An EMT will be onsite for any medical issues. Each powerboat will be flying a small orange flag and each jet ski rider will have an orange mark on the back of their life jackets for identification. Safety personnel will be instructed on how to assist a distressed paddler and trained medical personnel will be available to assist in emergency situations. The MANDATORY pre-race meeting will review common communication signals for paddlers to use and recognize out on the course.

What YOU need to do out on the course for YOUR safety:


  • WEAR your PFD and leash for safety!
  • Pay attention to the course map.
  • Use good judgement when boat traffic is nearby.
  • Respect each other out on the course.
  • Don't paddle in the middle of the boating channel!
  • Pay attention!
  • Have your whistle and cell phone readily available in case you need it!
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Listen to the support craft personnel. They are there for your safety! 


In case of inclement weather, unusually adverse surf conditions, or any other factors that may arise, an event committee composed of the event directors and safety personnel may modify the starting time or cancel the event. 

Weather conditions

Expected air temperature: Morning 76-78 F, Afternoon 83-88 F

High tide in Sarasota Bay: 12:01 PM (there will be an incoming tide as you paddle into Big Sarasota Pass)

For current conditions, click here.


Pre-race: TBD

Race day: Morning check-in starting at 6:30 AM. Sign waivers, pick-up goodie bag and race number, stage craft on beach for race start.

Pre-race Social

TBD - Stay tuned for a possible pre-race social where you can check-in the day before the race.

Awards and Post Race Party

Awards will be presented during the post-race party. See Schedule for the exact time. A post-race meal will be provided during the party as well as FREE beer. Hang out after the race and enjoy some great food, beer, the beach, and socialize with your fellow paddlers!

Need to rent a craft to paddle in the race?

Contact our sponsor Economy Tackle to rent a kayak, SUP, tandem, etc. Ask for someone in paddle sports and tell them that you're participating in this race. They'll take care of you! Call 941-922-9671.


Want to volunteer...great, we need your help!

Click here to volunteer and help us out with the race. Family, friends coming to the race, have them volunteer while you race. Thank you!

Hotels in the area

On the mainland by Siesta Key's south bridge:



On south Siesta Key:



Parking at Turtle Beach Park

Parking at Turtle Beach Park race morning is first-come, first-serve, so don't show up too late! There are a number of places to park so see the map below for details.