Fletcher wins in East Coast Paddle Board Championship

Garrett Fletcher, 24, of Destin placed first in the East Coast Paddle Board Championship in Dayton this past weekend. Fletcher who has aspirations of going professional is currently looking for sponsorships.

Destin’s Garrett Fletcher has played many sports, but none have wet his appetite like paddle boarding.

“I was addicted the first time I stepped on a board,” said the 24-year-old who is now in his second year of competitive racing.

This past weekend Fletcher took first place in the 18th annual East Coast Paddle Board Championship in the 14-foot Elite Racer Division. He completed the 12-mile race in the Atlantic near Daytona in two hours and 8 minutes.

With the win, Fletcher also received the State of Florida Michael O’Shaughnessy Award as the top SUP racer in Florida. The award represents the lowest combined times from this year’s Florida State Paddle Championships in Cocoa Beach, Key West and the one this past weekend in Daytona.

“I love competiting,” Fletcher told The Log.

Fletcher has played baseball and football in Destin as well as at Niceville High School. He even played football on the college level where he excelled at Huntingdon, setting school records.

“I loved them all but, I didn’t have the passion like I do for paddle boarding,” he said.

And once he found out that he could compete in paddle boarding it was game on.

“That first year I went to everything I could get to,” he said.

“But now I’ve started picking my races.”

Up next for Fletcher is a race at Gulf Shores, Ala. at the Florabama on July 25, followed by the Destin Paddle at the Porch at the Back Porch on Aug. 15 and then off to Hood River in Oregon for the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, Aug. 22-23.

“It’a a whole new mindset,” Fletcher said when it comes to paddleboard racing.

“It’s an endurance sport,” he said, noting they have 6- to 14-mile races.

So to get in shape for the events, he hits the weights about four times a week.

“But you have to have time on the water as well,” he said.

Fletcher trains on the water four to six days a week and tries to kept his workouts around an hour.

However, the week of race he extends his time on the water.

Right now he’s doing races about every other weekend.

“I’m most always a contender for the podium in Florida,” he said.

But his ultimate goal is to go professional.

“If you are one of the top dogs, you can make a living at it.”