Paddleboarding had just experienced a crazy growth in popularity in the past few years. And the trend still goes on to this day. People continue to take an interest in this new and intriguing water sport. With its growth in popularity, more events about paddle boarding are being held across the globe. Below are the top 5 SUP events around the world for paddle boarding enthusiasts.
1. Pacific Paddle Games, Dana Point, California-One of the Top 5 SUP Events in the World
While not specifically designed as a paddle race, this event is a celebration of everything that has to do with paddleboarding. Everyone is welcome to attend the Pacific Paddle Games- amateurs, youths, professionals, and just about any SUP enthusiast. Geared towards certain paddleboarding skills, this competition will test your surf skills, maneuverability, as well as speed.
Participants are required to complete two laps on a meandering course in Dana Point, off Doheny Beach, notorious for its shore breaks and rip currents. The course requires racers with a sharp wave sense while executing speed and control. The longest races in Pacific Paddle Games are about 6 miles, which makes it suitable for mid-level surfers and ocean goers. Another aspect attracting SUP’ers from all over the world is the prize money offered in these competitions. For quite a long time, Pacific Paddle Games have been known to offer the largest prize money in water sports history.
2. Yukon River Quest, Alaska
Deep in northern Canada’s raw and rugged wilderness is the Yukon. Ever since its exploration days, the untamed terrain has not changed much and still hosts a wide variety of species like mountain lions, caribou, grizzlies, and moose. Fast forward to today and the Yukon is one of the best harbors for stand up paddlers.
The Yukon River Quest is one of the most grueling races in the world. Stretching up to 444 miles, the SUP race requires up to 50 hours of paddling, going for 3 days and 2 nights. Due to Yukon’s wild nature, all racers are required to attend a pre-race briefing to keep up with safety precautions and hazards. Yukon River Quest’s pre-briefing is like no other and one of the most comprehensive pre-race meetings in the history of SUP sports.
Racers are equipped with all the firsthand knowledge on what to do if they encounter grizzly bears and other dangerous wildlife. If there’s an emergency, racers should be able to camp for as long as 48 hours prior to receiving professional medical support. It is essential for paddlers to carry important supplies including food, GPS trackers, medical kits, dry clothes, and tents.
3. Paris SUP Open, France
Attracting hundreds of paddlers across the world, the Paris Sup Open has been recognized as the largest SUP race in the world. Formally known as Nautic SUP Paris Crossing, the race is nowadays limited after clocking 700 worldwide competitors in 2017. Entry requirements have become quite competitive. Hundreds of paddlers flock to River Seine to participate in this 10-km event cutting through several famous landmarks in Paris such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower.
The paddling experience in Paris SUP Open is truly exhilarating and apart from the aesthetics, the race has a buzzing crowd of pros, enthusiasts, and beginners alike. The organizers are keen to improve the overall feel of the competition and increase the number of participants to 1000 in the upcoming event in December 2019.
4. Tribal Clash UK
One of the largest multi-person SUP races in the world, Tribal Clash is a daring competition held at various locations in the UK. The competition attracts thousands of SUP’ers across the globe eager to win the tribal Clash title. Tackling the event requires high levels of teamwork and each group consists of six paddlers all in one board. The organizers at Tribal Clash ensure the event is packed with surprises and all the levels of the competition are announced a day before the event.
Each heat has its own obstacles and tests the racer’s skills revolving strength and fitness. The Tribal Clash UK is also recognized as the world’s largest multi-person SUP event, attracting thousands of participants from all over the world.
5. Air France Paddle Festival, Papeete
Acknowledged as one of the most anticipated paddle events in the French Polynesian Island, Air France Paddle Festival is part of the Paddle League World Tour with 100 league points. This makes the event more attractive to high profile racers edging the event’s competitive nature. Air France Festival has five races including an advanced 23 km Elite Race and an 8 km Lagoon Race. The race sets the pace for the upcoming race season gives all racers (beginners to pros) an opportunity to compete in breathtakingly beautiful places.
If you want a more intense and engaging paddle boarding experience, taking part in a SUP event would be your best bet. And winning is not the most important part and what you should be after, it’s the fun and joy it brings that matters. Just grab your SUP board, get yourself pumped and enjoy the game.