Paddle Marathon in Mexican Paradise

Inaugural event tours pristine Laguna Bacalar

 The first annual, 74-kilometer Paddle Marathon took place over two days, May 2nd and 3rd 2014, on Laguna Bacalar in Quintana Roo, Mexico, with competitors racing in kayaks and on SUP boards.

The Paddle Marathon traversed the 50-kilometer length of Laguna Bacalar, situated near the Caribbean coast on the east side of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and sometimes known as Laguna de Siete Colores for its multi-hued blue and aquamarine waters. This freshwater lake is of mixed depth and very clean water, fed by clear cenotes and a few slow-moving jungle streams. Entrants reported the race course beautiful and remote, with nearly all the shoreline either pristine jungle or low mangrove flats with no human habitation in sight. Bromeliads and orchids distracted paddlers the length of the journey and fish, turtles, fresh-water rays, rainbow-billed toucans and many other birds were spotted during the two days on the lake.

Gustavo Escamilla Flores of Monterrey, Mexico, took first place in the Kayak/Paddle Ski category, and Raul De Lille of Cozumel, Mexico, in the SUP category. Times for the 74-km course were 8:00:39 and 12:43:48 respectively.

Also in the kayak division were Gunnar Jentsch (2nd place, Bacalar, Mexico), Luis Fernando Amezcua (injury withdrawal day two, Mahahaul, Mexico). In the SUP division Ivan Segura (Cozumel) took 2nd place and Carlos Granados (Cozumel) took 3rd. SUP teams were Nicole Ferroni and Laura Chisolm (1st place, Cozumel) and Carolyn Thomas and Simone Kiedaisch (2nd place, Mahahual.)

Weather for the inaugeral event was mixed, with five-to-10-kilometer headwinds and low chop for much of the two-day race and moderate rain several times on both days. Balancing that were blue skies with sun and fair winds for half of Day 2. Although this first year was lightly attended, the event is important to the region and was well organized with support boats, emergency personnel, maps and buoys, Navy oversight, a paddle cine festival, events for spectators and an afternoon of free paddleboard instruction by De Lille Sports.

Scott Wallace piloted a safety boat for the event and is a freelance journalist who has lived in Bacalar for more than a decade. For more info about the Paddle Marathon, visit