It seems it’s easier to keep track of which events haven’t been cancelled these days… Not a minute after I posted the news about the epic Yukon 1000 being pushed back ’til 2021, word came through that this year’s famed SUP World Cup in Scharbeutz, Germany has also been cancelled.
The news, which has grown increasingly inevitable over the past few days as Europe effectively shuts down to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, was officially confirmed moments ago on the SUP World Cup’s Facebook and Insta.
Organisers of the World Cup, the original international SUP race in Europe since 2009 and an event that has always rated as one of the most competitive in the sport, have opted not to find an alternative date later in the year, most likely due to the uncertainty over exactly when life will return to “normal” (not to mention the relatively short “summer window” in northern Europe). The event, held in the northern seaside resort town of Scharbeutz, is known for being arguably the best-organised SUP race in the world. Past winners include Sonni Honscheid, Olivia Piana, Fiona Wylde, Michael Booth and Lincoln Dews.
The cancellation of the SUP World Cup follows other major event cancellations and postponements, including the iconic Carolina Cup (moved to November), the big Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti (currently seeking alternative dates in the second half of the season), the Aloha Spirit Festival in Ilhabela, Brazil (same deal) along with dozens of races and regional leagues across the United States, China, Japan and increasingly Europe.
The loss of the World Cup puts an immediate question mark on Europe’s other headline events in the summer, including big races in Spain and France, both of which are currently under lockdown.
Right now it seems like everyone in Europe, from the EuroTour (we expect to hear an update from those guys in the coming days) to the Alpine Lakes Tour (next event on 18 April has officially been postponed) to virtually every other domestic series, national championships and standalone SUP race across the continent is scrambling to find alternative dates later in the year or simply conceding ’til 2021. Europe is basically on lockdown right now, with Spain, France, Belgium and parts of Germany joining Italy in total social isolation, a move that will likely spread to more countries in the coming days.
Elsewhere, the elite-only APP pro tour, which doesn’t begin until mid-year in France, put out a curiously-optimistic press release yesterday saying things were still on track but that an update on the Europe situation would come next week.
The wider sporting world now finds itself in the unfamiliar territory of becoming somewhat irrelevant as nations grapple with the bigger economic and societal impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s only temporary, and while much of “season 2020” is going to be a write-off, the sport, like all nations affected by the virus, will surely come back bigger and better in 2021.
While it seems almost condescending for me to remind you that “Hey, it’s just a sport, there are bigger issues!” (duh), we need to start considering and planning for the possibility that season 2020 might not happen at all. And if that’s the case, we should use this time wisely to plot a more positive course for the sport in 2021 and beyond. The world seems like it’s going crazy, but there will be many positives that come out of this crisis.
For now, here’s the official news from the SUP World Cup (Google translated). Mark the ‘SUP World Cup’ in your calendars for summer 2021 (exact dates to follow soon).
Dear friends and fans of the SUP World Cup Scharbeutz,
In the past few days, news about event cancellations has been raging. And we as organizers of the SUP World Cup Scharbeutz, together with the tourism agency Lübecker Bucht, also had to think about whether the SUP World Cup Scharbeutz could take place this year.
The current unclear situation affects not only our long-term partners and sponsors of the event, but also the athletes and associations. Everyone has to adapt to the constantly changing challenges. Long-term planning and investments are necessary for an event that is 100% made possible by sponsors. Unfortunately, this is not possible in the current economic situation. In coordination with the Lübeck Bay tourism agency, this situation caused us to cancel the SUP World Cup Scharbeutz this year. Of course we thought about a postponement, but due to the necessary lead time for a large international event, we think this measure is unrealistic.
We are infinitely sad about this development and ask for your understanding. It is now important that we all concentrate on the things that are currently necessary so that we can meet at the SUP World Cup Scharbeutz in 2021.
We will inform you of the new date in good time. Until then, take care of yourself and stay fit. See you in Scharbeutz in 2021!