21 photos from the Great Peconic Race

The final paddlers to complete the 19-mile race. (Credit: Madison Fender photos)

The final paddlers to complete the 19-mile race. (Credit: Madison Fender photos)

About 150 paddlers circled Shelter Island for the third annual Great Peconic Race on Saturday, a charitable competition which benefits shellfish and eel grass bed restoration projects.

Described by organizers as one of the East Coast’s premier competitions for elite, intermediate and novice paddlers, the race kicked off from Wades Beach for a 19.5-mile circumnavigation of Shelter Island. New this year was a 9-mile race course, a 3-mile untimed, recreational course, and a beach party.

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Back to the Bays” initiative, and will contribute to habitat and shellfish restoration work being conducted by CCE and the paddle community.

“Our goal is to raise money to bed as many scallops and improve the eel grass as much as we can,” said race organizer Billy Baldwin. The race honors Mr. Baldwin’s brother, Ted, who died at age 48 in 2011.

“We try to honor him by saving these waters,” he said.

Racers were also given a bag of seed clams — 10,000 in all — to spread in designated planting sites.

A full list of winners and the total amount of money raised was not yet available.

See our pics from the race below.

Contestants received shirts as they checked in for the event.

Contestants received shirts as they checked in for the event.

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First place kayaker, Mark Weber crosses the finish line.

First place kayaker Mark Weber crosses the finish line.

First place winner Billy Sweezy Jr. ahead of the pack of 80 paddlers.

First place winner Billy Swezey Jr. ahead of the pack of 80 paddlers.

Cherryl Bradley of Adventure Paddleboards paddling hard to complete the 19 mile race.

Cherryl Bradley of Adventure Paddleboards paddling hard to complete the 19 mile race.

Billy Baldwin going over the route and safety precautions before the race.

Billy Baldwin explaining the route and safety precautions before the race.

Cherryl Bradley and Evelyn O'Doherty.

Cherryl Bradley and Evelyn O’Doherty.

Cherryl Bradley ecstatic that she finished her first race, 19 miles around shelter island

Cherryl Bradley ecstatic that she finished her first race, 19 miles around Shelter Island.

Alexa Suess placed 4th in the women's division.

Alexa Suess placed 4th in the SUP women’s division.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. was a sponsor of the race's after party.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. was a sponsor of the race’s after party.

The final paddlers to complete the 19-mile race.

The final paddlers to complete the 19-mile race.

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First place winner Billy Sweezy jr.

First place winner Billy Swezey Jr.

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the mens division.

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the mens division.

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Howie Bergusen of Farmingdale.

Howie Bergusen of Farmingdale.