‘Last Commentator Standing’ …SUP Racer will attempt an endless live stream of this weekend’s Last Paddler ultra

 

I’m excited about Last Paddler Standing. This might just be the best new race format our sport has seen in years. Though it’s hard to tell: The race has never happened before.

The first edition of ‘Last Paddler’ is happening this weekend in Sarasota, Florida, and to celebrate the epic scale of this crazy event SUP Racer will attempt to host an endless live stream of the entire race, which could see us commentating for two days virtually non-stop.

Let’s call it Last Commentator Standing.

If you’re not familiar, Last Paddler Standing is an ultra-marathon with a twist. Paddlers start a 3.33 mile (5.35km) loop around a flat water course every hour on the hour, continuing lap after lap – all day and all night – until there’s literally just one paddler left standing. There is no time limit and organisers expect the race will last somewhere between 40 and 60 hours.

Just about anyone can paddle 3.33 miles in an hour, and that’s the point. Last Paddler is less of a race about speed and more a mental boot camp of mind-boggling proportions — competitors are more likely to quit from mental exhaustion than physical fatigue. Organisers expect average lap times around 45-50 minutes with competitors taking 10-15 minutes to eat, drink and maybe even steal a quick power nap before getting back on the water.

The whole thing is utterly bonkers, and that’s why I love it.

Around thirty paddlers have signed up for the inaugural challenge including tough veterans and new challengers from the ultra-marathon world. Guys like Goran Gustavsson from Sweden (one of the most decorated 11 Cities finishers), Bobby Johnson of Florida (winner of the Alabama 650), Italy’s Paolo Marconi (well-known elite athlete turned ultra fanatic) and Brendon Prince, who you may know as the guy that went for a quiet little paddle ALL THE WAY AROUND BRITAIN last year…

Competitors will begin paddling at 9am Florida time on Saturday 3 December. If the race is still going by 9am Monday morning, each lap will be increased to 5 miles in order to force a result.

Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida – host venue of Last Paddler

In solidarity with the paddlers, we’re going to skip a couple nights sleep ourselves and try to live stream the whole race. Follow along as we enter the abyss and start losing our minds alongside these ultra-marathon maniacs.

I’ll be producing the Last Paddler live stream remotely from Australia and adding a bit of commentary along the way, while SUP original Kristin Thomas and Mason Gravley from the Adventure Sports Podcast will be hosting the show on location in Florida.

We’ll attempt to run the live stream on both Facebook and YouTube from start to finish, but given the length — some paddlers have a goal of 60 hours — we’re certainly not making any promises about how well the stream will hold up.

At the very least, we aim to have a bunch of on-screen graphics — lap counter, number of paddlers remaining, etc — so you instantly know what’s happening in the race when you tune in and out over the weekend. We’ll also have interviews with the paddlers during their breaks and after they retire to give you some insight as to WHY?! anyone would sign up for this.

Considering the technical challenge of pulling off an endless live stream, my usual “Don’t expect ESPN quality” disclaimer definitely applies here. I’ve never done anything remotely close to this, so no promises, but I think Last Paddler Standing is going to be a pretty epic new race, so hopefully our show will give you a little window into this madness.

I’ll also be interviewing a few of the athletes this week as they prepare for a sleepless weekend — tune in on Instagram live for those chats over the next few days.

Here’s when to watch Last Commentator Standing:

(The race starts 9am Saturday in Florida (Eastern Time) and we should be on air about 30 minutes before that for a preview)

Don’t worry if you can’t make the start — this race will last so long that you could turn on SUP Racer any time during the weekend and still catch some of it 😅

Saturday 8:30am Eastern
= Saturday 5:30am California
= Saturday 1:30pm UK
= Saturday 2:30pm Italy/France/Spain/Germany
= Saturday 3:30pm Ukraine
= Saturday 8:30pm Thailand
= Saturday 10:30pm Japan
= Saturday 11:30pm Queensland (god help me)
= Sunday 12:30am Sydney/Melbourne

…but again, this live stream will hopefully last 24-48 hours so just tune in any time!