The St. Thomas team of Adam Quandt, Tristan Mermin, and Diedre Roy took the top spot in the 2024 Painkiller Cup stand-up paddle race in the BVI. Held on Saturday, January 24th, the event featured a 14-mile team race for teams of 3 paddlers, plus the smaller 2.5-mile Mini-Painkiller Cup.
Conditions were ideal with lighter wind, a respite from the recent heavy weather conditions of the last week, and beautiful clear skies. Second place in the team race went to the BVI Trio of Lee Donavan, Amanda Baker, and Graham Harney. A 9:50 am start saw the competitors in the team race set off from Trellis Bay adjacent to the Beef Island airport.
The course was down Tortola’s North Shore, then across to Jost Van Dyke with a finish at Hendo’s Hideout on White Bay. The lead traded off between the USVI racers and the BVI team featuring event veterans Donovan and Baker with newbie Graham Harney. Harney took the early lead in a neck-and-neck race with Quandt. Tristan Mermin, however, stepped out against Amanda Baker on the next leg. The Team race portion of the Painkiller Cup sees competitors switch every 25 minutes in a predetermined rotation. Tactics play a big part in winning the race, which can be arduous.
“This year’s team race offered nearly ideal conditions,” explained Tristan Mermin. “I’ve done the team race maybe five times, and it’s much harder when there is more wind and a swell. The lead changed back and forth, but as we approached Sandy Cay, but on our last rotation, we managed to pull ahead.”
Quandt, Mermin, and Roy pocketed a $1,750 prize for winning, with the BVI Team earning $1,000 for second place. St. Thomas paddler Chris Cilliers took first place in the Mini-Painkiller Cup. A simple 2.5-mile sprint from Sandy Cay to White Bay saw 28 racers line up for the beach start and the sprint to Hendo’s Hideout. Second in this race went to Steven Denure from Toronto, Canada, while Andy Morrell from Tortola took third. The annual Painkiller Cup is sponsored by HIHO, The Moorings, Hendo’s Hideout & Salty Daze.
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