Hands up if you want to go paddling in Barbados.
Red Paddle Co, the world’s leading inflatable brand, has today announced what might just be the funnest weekend of the year: The inaugural Dragon World Championship, a season-ending headline event for Red’s new four-a-board teams racing concept that will be hosted on the paradisaical Caribbean island from October 28-30.
In case you missed the big news a few months back, the Red Dragon is a 22ft long, 34 inch wide inflatable behemoth. It’s different from the traditional ‘Big SUPs’ in that it’s designed purely for racing, and not just any racing but a whole new concept of four-person teams battling head to head.
I haven’t tried it myself yet, but every Dragon paddler I’ve spoken to sums up the board and race format in one word: Fun.
The season-ending Dragon World Championship is being run by Red Paddle Co in partnership with Barbados Tourism & Marketing. There’s no real qualification for the event, the only requirement is that your four-person team competes at one of the Dragon events around the world in the lead-up to the championship (and obviously you’ve gotta be racing on a Red Dragon board).
Those regional events are being grouped together under the ‘Red Dragon World Series’ banner and will be happening in a dozen countries over the course of the season (click here for the event schedule).
The Dragon World Championship in October will feature three full days of racing alongside plenty of other entertainment (Barbados is famous for its rum, after all). There’s even going to be a 10k ‘Dragon Run’ downwind race for the more experienced teams. Yep. Four paddlers on one board. On a downwind run. Epic.
Unlike almost every other SUP race, the Dragon events are all about team spirit. Quoting from the official press release:
“Each race will vary in length and format, and has been designed to test team camaraderie, co-ordination, and determination as much as flat out speed and power. There will be several divisions enabling people of all ages and abilities to take part including mixed, women’s, men’s and family team categories. With celebrations and entertainment throughout the day and running on late into the night, the Championships are set to be the ultimate paddleboard event.”
Sounds like a pretty good time. And I mean c’mon, it’s Barbados, do you really need an excuse to go?
I certainly don’t. I’ve already penciled in the Dragon World Champs on my travel schedule, so now I just need to find three friends that can make me look like a good paddler. Any volunteers?
Oh and here’s some footage from one of the first Red Dragon races, which was held in Hong Kong a couple of months ago. Now just imagine this but with clear blue water on a tropical island… Yeah, I don’t think this event is going to be a hard sell.