It’s official: The Battle of the Paddle Brazil is ON, with organisers today confirming new dates and a new location as the iconic SUP race gets set to leave U.S. shores for the first time this October.
The venue and the name have changed slightly but everything else looks the same. Battle of the Paddle Brazil will have the same BoP format the same BoP prize money that we know and love from California, but in a much more exotic locale…
In case you’ve been living under a rock (on Mars, with your fingers in your ears) for the past year: The original announcement and dates for the BoP Brazil were released after last year’s Battle of the Paddle California, to much excitement from the paddling community (who doesn’t want an excuse to go to Brazil?). The event was first schedule for April 2013 but was then pushed back to ‘some time in October’. We haven’t heard much the past few months but the organising crew have obviously been busy behind the scenes, with today’s announcement bringing a bunch of new details.
The biggest news: The 2013 Battle of the Paddle Brazil is confirmed for October 26th & 27th.
As for the new location: BoP Brazil will be held in the town of Cabo Frio, which is 90 minutes North of Rio de Janeiro. The event was originally planned for Rio but that place has been a little too “busy” of late, so organisers moved the event to a quieter and more laid-back part of the region. That also means the event has officially changed its name from Battle of the Paddle Rio to Battle of the Paddle Brazil (technically it’s Battle of the Paddle Brasil, to reflect the local spelling…).
So the venue change is probably the biggest news to come out of today’s announcement. While some people will miss Rio, this is probably a much better location for the race. The town of Cabo Frio is fifty times smaller than Rio, which as you can imagine makes it a lot more peaceful (not to mention probably a lot safer as well). The spot is described as a surf town and as you can see from the pic above isn’t the worst looking stretch of coastline either.
But the coolest part about the new location is that Cabo Frio has WAVES. Waves are what make the Battle of the Paddle so exciting and while Rio is known to get decent surf on occasion, the conditions an hour or two up the coast are apparently a lot more consistent and much better for this kind of Stand Up Paddle race format.
Cabo Frio is also located right around the corner from Búzios, which has historically been a high-end tourist destination (the “St. Tropez of Brazil“) and has a burgeoning SUP race scene of its own. Art in Surf hosts their annual “King of Buzios” event there, while the W2 Downwind Race will run from Buzios to Cabo Frio this year. The latter will now be held one week prior to the BoP Brazil (October 19th & 20th), providing the internationals with a warm-up race and a good reason to spend a couple of weeks in Brazil (it’s not exactly a place you jet into just for the weekend…).
Apart from the strong local races we’ve already seen some major international events in Brazil, including the Stand Up World Series’ Ubatuba Grand Slam. Plus Brazil has already produced the SUP surfing world champion and has some serious dark horses on the racing side of the sport as well, with the local scene, by all reports, blowing up at the moment.
So combining a strong local community with an influx of international elite means the Battle of the Paddle Brasil should be a pretty cool event. Though exactly how big it will be is still very unknown… No doubt there will be hundreds of locals competing, but obviously it’s a little more difficult for most internationals to get to Cabo Frio than it is Dana Point. The fact it’s just four weeks after the Battle of California could also drain the travel budgets of some of the top names.
So to help get the American, Aussie and European paddlers down to South America, the official site notes that organisers will work with a local agency to coordinate travel, while there’s also plans for a forwarding agent to arrange shipping and transport of boards. More details on that will be coming next week, when registration will also open up.
Interestingly, when we chatted to the organisers yesterday they did mention some flexibility on boards. As everyone is painfully well aware, the Battle of the Paddle California requires elite paddlers to bring two boards; the Elite Race is held on 12’6″ boards while the Distance Race has money on the 14 footers. That’s enough of an issue in California, but having to drag two SUP race boards to Brazil would be that much harder. So while Brazil will be following the lead of California in most areas of the event, they also want to make it as easy as possible for the overseas competitors and therefore “one board class” is a possibility.
We did a quick straw poll among top paddlers and “one board class for both races” was the general consensus for travelling not only to Brazil, but for all major SUP races around the world. The key is having one board class, not one board. That would allow paddlers to travel with one board to make things simpler, while still leaving open the option of bringing two boards (a specialty surf race design and a specialty distance race design) if they really wanted to make the extra effort.
This whole board debate has been going on for months now, but with the potential flexibility of the organisers in Brazil plus the whisperings of a long-overdue “SUP Athletes Association” in the works (who will likely have “let’s pick one elite board class” at the top of their agenda), the inaugural Battle of the Paddle Brazil could suddenly become a landmark race in this regard. Organisers will discuss this with the Rainbow Sandals team and leading paddlers over the next week in order to find the best solution for the both the event and the athletes, so stay tuned for updates.
But all that will sort itself out in good time. The main thing to get excited about right now is that the Battle of the Paddle Brazil is ON! So start looking for flights, it’s 79 days and counting…
2013 Battle of the Paddle Brasil
Dates: October 25th – 27th
Location: Cabo Frio (90 minutes North of Rio de Janeiro)
Races: Same format as California (Elite, Distance, Open, Kids, Relay)
Prize Money: $25,000 (same split as California)
Boards: To be decided (potentially “one board class” for both Elite and Distance races)
Travel: Details about an Official Travel Agency and Forwarding Agent coming soon