EuroTour 2018: Here’s the Full Schedule for the European Summer of SUP

 
Euro-Tour

The postcard-perfect Greek island of Crete offers one of the most under-rated stops on the EuroTour

One of the funnest parts of the SUP racing season, the EuroTour, has just announced its schedule for the 2018 European Summer of SUP. Featuring 10 races in 10 weeks across 8 different nations, and with everything from flat water racing to downwinders to beach races in iconic surf towns, this is the most diverse mix of conditions and destinations the Tour has ever seen.

Catering to both the pros and the average joes, the EuroTour has built itself into the largest (and did I mention: funnest?) tour in the sport over the past few years. Part race series, part adventure, part European summer holiday, these 10 weeks in Europe are always a highlight of the season.

And while many familiar stops will return next year, there are a couple of new additions to the 2018 schedule that starts on the first weekend in May and runs every single weekend through til early July.

Week 1: Zandvoort, The Netherlands
Week 2: Namur, Belgium
Week 3: Vendée, France
Week 4: Crete, Greece
Week 5: Costa Blanca, Spain
Week 6: San Sebastian, Basque Country
Week 7: Bilbao, Basque Country
Week 8: Hossegor, France
Week 9: Scharbeutz, Germany
Week 10: Sieravuori, Finland

(scroll down for the detailed schedule)

Each stop on the tour is an independent event, with the EuroTour providing the media, rankings (and famous board trailer) that ties everything together and helps unify the sport in Europe. And while not every single European summer race is on there (there’s literally hundreds of option between May and August), the tour covers a pretty big chunk of the Continent’s racing scene.

Bilbao

Bilbao’s famous Guggenheim Museum offers an iconic backdrop

The 2018 EuroTour kicks off with the Battle of the Coast in the Netherlands, an established “beach race” event that’s been Holland’s national qualifiers but is a EuroTour debutante, before heading to the classically laid-back, flat-water stop in Namur, Belgium.

Another new entrant debuts in week 3: The “Vendée Gliss Event” in France that has the chance of being a cracking downwinder. And we could be in for back-to-back bump runners next summer with the windy (and rather picturesque) Greek island of Crete taking over the week 4 slot.

Week 5 is another new event in Spain – Costa Blanca – before the hunt for the EuroTour crown starts getting serious with the classic Basque Country double-header (San Sebastian and Bilbao). The iconic French surf town of Hossegor returns and will have a big impact on the tour standings once again, with the Hossegor Paddle Games holding down week 8 before the major SUP World Cup in Scharbeutz, Germany, will crown the champions. Scharbeutz is also the richest stop on the tour at €20.000 ($24,000)

The tour ends on a much calmer note though, with the peaceful, lakeside outpost of Sieravuori in Finland (another SUP Racer favourite) hosting the 10th and final week.

While the EuroTour is rightfully putting a strong emphasis on the weekend warriors, first-timers and juniors next year (there’s grom races every weekend), it’s still going to attract plenty of big names, with Bilbao, Hossegor and Scharabeutz likely see the strongest international fields.

Hossegor Paddle Games

The world-famous surf town of Hossegor returns in 2018

With at least €94,000 (about $110,000) on offer over the two months of racing, the EuroTour takes its prize money seriously. Which is why it’s taken the bold but obvious step of introducing gender-equal prize money for the podiums at every stop of the tour.

This gender equality means means the top three men and women will earn the same all summer.

The payouts will still go deeper on the men’s side to reflect greater participation, but at the top end it’s all even, which is a pretty fair compromise to what has been a particularly hot-button, hashtag-driven issue in recent months.

Hopefully the move also ensures a few more of the top international women head to Euro land next June to compliment the large men’s field, while EuroTour regulars such as Sonni Honscheid, Olivia Piana and Fiona Wylde are already expected.

SUP World Cup

The Mercedes-Benz SUP World Cup is the richest stop on the tour

But no matter whether you’re a Boothy or Sonni getting set for a payday, or you’re a total beginner just looking to have fun and test yourself against your mates, the best part about the EuroTour often isn’t even what happens on the water.

While the racing is great, what makes this tour so much fun is everything that happens off the water: It’s exploring new countries, it’s the last-minute roadtrips, it’s the late-night culinary tours through old city centers, it’s the spontaneous adventures, and it’s all the cool people you meet along the way that make summertime in Europe such an awesome place to be for paddlers.

The EuroTour is your excuse to have a European summer holiday adventure, and even if you can only join in for a couple of weeks you’ll have an experience to remember. It’s definitely one of my personal highlights every year, and I’m already excited about next season even though we’re still a full five months away from the opening stop.

What started as a fun and fairly simple little side-feature here on SUP Racer back in 2013 has grown into a major pillar of the sport thanks to head honcho and nomadic Spaniard behind the tour, Belar Diaz, who took over in 2015. Of course huge thanks also goes to the dozens of hard-working, independent event organisers, race directors, volunteers, supporters, brands, team managers, camera crew, sponsors and media that provide the vital ingredients for this whole show.

And 2018 looks set to be the biggest one yet.

Follow the EuroTour on Facebook and Instagram for more, or head to eurotoursup.com for the finer points. And of course we’ll have full coverage (and a few live streams) next summer here on SUP Racer.

In the meantime, here’s the full lineup…

2018 EuroTour Schedule

Week 1: Battle of the Coast

Zandvoort, The Netherlands
beach race, 6th May
€4500 prize purse

Week 2: Namur SUP Race

Namur, Belgium
flat water race, 12th May
€4500 prize purse

Week 3: Vendée Gliss Event

St Jean de Monts, France
downwinder, 19th May
€12000 prize purse

Week 4: Agios Nikolaos on SUP

Crete, Greece
downwinder, 26th May
€12000 prize purse

Week 5: Costa Blanca SUP Games

Alicante, Spain
calm ocean race, 2nd June
€12000 prize purse

Week 6: San Sebastian Paddle Tour

San Sebastian, Basque Country
flat ocean race, 9th June
€7000 prize purse

Week 7: Iberdrola Bilbao World SUP Challenge

Bilbao, Basque Country
flat water race, 16th June
€12000 prize purse

Week 8: Hossegor Paddle Games

Hossegor, France
flat/ocean/surf race, 24th June
minimum €6000 prize purse

Week 9: Mercedes SUP World Cup

Scharbeutz, Germany
flat ocean race, 30th June
€20000 prize purse

Week 10: Sieravuori SUP Masters

Sieravuori, Finland
flat water race, 7th July
€4500 prize purse