The EuroTour Announces Final Lineup: 14 Races, 10 Countries, 1 Big Summer of SUP

 
Lost Mills

The Lost Mills will once again be a EuroTour headline act (photo: Prade/Lost Mills)

The 2016 EuroTour lineup has been finalised, with one new race being added to the original baker’s dozen that was announced in January. All up there are now 14 races in 14 weeks across 10 countries, along with $87,000 in combined prize money that many of the world’s best paddlers will be fighting for.

The 2016 EuroTour, presented by Starboard, kicks off in Portugal in early May, then stretches across the entire continent from France to Finland, Portugal to Poreč and plenty of other awesome summer destinations in between, before wrapping up in the UK in early August.

The new addition is in Greece (the On Board Festival), which slots in at week 9 after the St Ives Celtic Cup in the south of England was switched to the final round.

While every race on the EuroTour adds something to the stand up paddling scene in Europe, the “headline acts” will clearly be Weeks 3, 4 and 5, with the classic SUP Race Cup in St. Maxime, the big Lost Mills in Germany and the Bilbao Paddle Challenge in the Basque Country of Spain set to attract a healthy chunk of the world’s best alongside Europe’s finest.

I’ve been talking schedules with most of the top ranked athletes over the past few weeks, and it sounds like the Lost Mills will, once again, be one of the most competitive races in the world, while St. Maxime and Bilbao won’t be too far behind. This trio of events will also go a long way to determining the overall standings on the Euro Tour Leaderboard.

EuroTour 2016 has a total pot of €76,000 ($87,000) up for grabs, however prize money isn’t what the EuroTour is really about. This tour is about growing the local paddling communities, while also giving the elite athletes a legit series of competitive contests to test themselves and give their sponsors some exposure. It’s also about bringing some much needed unity to the fantastic but very fragmented race scene in Euro land; There’s always been plenty of great standalone events, but until now we’ve been missing a solid line to connects the dots.

The EuroTour crew, led by the nomadic Spanish veteran Belar Diaz, don’t actually organise any of the events, instead they simply provide a common platform to help elevate each race. This is the second official year of the EuroTour, however the series has its roots way back in the early days of the European SUP racing scene, when there was always a loose collection of great regional events in the powerhouse nations of France, Germany and Spain.

SUP Race Cup

The last time Connor Baxter was in St. Maxime he did this. Connor will be one of several top ranked athletes returning to Europe this summer (photo: Michel Terrien)

Outside of the racing, one of the coolest features of the EuroTour is the official board trailer, which will ferry athletes’ race boards all the way around Europe free of charge. Dozens of 14′ race boards will be stacked on the trailer after each race and driven to the start line of the next event, no matter how near or far that might be. I spoke with tour manager Belar and he predicted the trailer would cover 22,000kms (13,600 miles) over the three months. To say that’s going to solve a few headaches for the paddlers would be a massive understatement (ever tried flying with a race board?).

To make things even easier for the paddlers, all of the EuroTour races are on a unified board class (14′ for both men and women) which saves the athletes from having to drag two boards around Europe.

But while the EuroTour is primarily about racing, it’s also got one very special feature that makes it truly unique in the world of stand up paddling: The EuroTour is your chance to have an awesome summer holiday in Europe.

From the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca to the iconic French Riviera to the wild lakes of Finland to the golden beaches of Italy and Croatia to the delicious culture of the Basque Country to the… Well, you get my point — there are a lot of very cool destinations on the 2016 EuroTour.

And I think that’s what the paddlers are most looking forward to — I’ve spoken to dozens of top international athletes that are just as stoked about the “travel and adventure” of the EuroTour as they are about the racing and competition.

Porec Croatia

Poreč, Croatia, the host venue for Week 7 of the Euro Tour: Part-race, part-holiday…

Personally, as someone that was lucky enough to live in Europe for half a decade, I can’t wait to return to my spiritual home next month: SUP Racer will be stationed in Europe for the entire summer, and hopefully I’ll make it to at least 10 or 11 of the 14 stops to report directly on how it’s all going both on and off the water.

In the meantime, follow the official Facebook / Insta / website to get the latest updates, and check out our original EuroTour announcement for more info.

It’s going to be a big summer of SUP in Europe.

The 2016 EuroTour presented by Starboard

WeekRaceMen'sIndexWomen'sIndexDateCountryPrize Money
1Port Setubal SUP RaceLeo Nika5.0%Laura Quetglas5.0%May 7/8Portugal€3,500
2Port Adriano SUP RacePaolo Marconi5.0%Sonni Hönscheid9.5%May 14/15Spain€3,500
3SUP Race Cup (St. Maxime)Connor Baxter30.5%Sonni Hönscheid31.0%May 21/22France€5,000
4Lost Mills Michael Booth48.0%Sonni Hönscheid35.5%May 26-28Germany€8,000
5Iberdrola Bilbao World SUP Challenge Connor Baxter40.0%Seychelle Hattingh23.5%June 4/5Basque Country€10,000
6San Sebastian Paddle TourTitouan Puyo29.0%Olivia Piana15.5%June 11/12Basque Country€5,000
7SUPer Challenge PorečMichael Booth18.5%Fiona Wylde9.5%June 18/19Croatia€6,000
8Happy Summer NamurJeremy Teulade5.0%Petronella van Malsen5.0%June 25/26Belgium€5,000
9On Board FestivalLeo Nika5.0%Susak Molinero5.0%July 2/3Greece€6,000
10Sieravuori SUP MastersLeo Nika5.0%Susak Molinero5.0%July 9/10Finland€7,500
11Noli SUP RaceLeo Nika8.0%Susak Molinero5.0%July 16/17Italy€5,000
12Adriatic CrownLeo Nika6.0%Susak Molinero5.0%July 23/24Italy€5,500

 
St Ives

Speaking of destinations – this is St Ives, the final stop of the 2016 EuroTour. Not a bad spot to spend a long weekend…