Words and photos by Lorenzo Menendez

In the grand spectacle of an event like #PPG2017, it’s easy to find the small moments that make our sport so great.

It’s never just about the pros, year after year I see it unfolding throughout the weekend and before my lens. This event is about family, community, good sportsmanship and friendship. It's about the up-and-coming generation who have dreams of turning pro and about their dutiful parents who have committed their lives to helping their sons and daughters succeed. They stand there in the hot sun giving pep talks, going over strategy, giving reassuring hugs, quelling fears and cheering at the finish line.

The Pacific Paddle Games is about neighbors, friends and family showing up to offer their support. That aspect has never changed and it’s one of the reasons I love photographing this event.

This year, I was stoked to see the pros taking a much more hands-on approach. From Zane Schweitzer helping lead the charge for a beach clean-up, to Candice Appleby helping groms at the finish line with water or posing for photos with kids that undoubtedly look up to her.

This gallery includes a few of those magical moments that capture the true spirit of SUP. How our sport has the unique ability to bring us closer as friends, family and a community of paddlers.

Related

Open racer portrait gallery from #PPG2017.

Open Technical Race gallery from #PPG2017.