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Registration underway for all-ages Long Island Paddle Battle to support sea turtles

The Paddle Battle raises funds for the Riverhead

The Paddle Battle raises funds for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation, which rescues stranded and injured sea turtles. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Get your paddles primed and ready to race along the Peconic River in Riverhead to help fund an organization that rescues stranded and injured sea turtles.

The 2019 Paddle Battle Long Island event on July 27 will feature three courses: a competitive five-mile challenge; a 2.5-mile recreation course and a 2.5-mile casual paddle. The event is open to participants of all ages. All proceeds will support the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation.

This is the event’s sixth year, but the first time it will include a noncompetitive paddle.

Participants can choose to bring their own stand-up paddleboards, recreational class kayaks, sea kayaks or unlimited kayaks, such as double or prone kayaks. Rentals are available for $30. Individuals can register before the event for $60 per person or $75 per person on the day of the event.

The nonprofit Riverhead Foundation gets most of its funding from grants and private donations, says Maxine Montello, rescue program director for the foundation. “So this fundraiser is a really great program for us to get the word out about what we do and also get a little money in-house to help with the operational and husbandry costs of these sea turtles,” Montello says.

The Riverhead Foundation, Montello explains, is the primary response team for live sea turtles in New York, many of which get stuck on Long Island during a cold snap and are unable to migrate or are hit by boats or injured by fishing hooks during the summer. “We also are the only facility in New York permitted to rehab sea turtles," she says. "That’s all the way from Montauk ...  through the Hudson River in upstate New York. So we’re one facility covering that whole area.”

Check in on July 27 is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Peconic waterfront, where identification will be required.

To register, go to paddlebattleli.com.

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