Majors postponed: Tahiti’s Air France Paddle Festival and Brazil’s Aloha Spirit Festival on hold due to coronavirus

In brief: The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect the world of stand up paddling, with the beginning of the international season all but on hold after several events were forced to cancel or postpone.

The United States, China, Japan and several countries in Europe including Spain and France have confirmed event cancellations/postponements. And now two of the biggest races in the world have joined that list.

Today, the Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti and Brazil’s massive Aloha Spirit Festival in Ilhabela both announced they were postponing their upcoming events.    → READ MORE

Downwind in paradise: Tahiti’s Air France Paddle Festival ditches the grind, embraces the wind

In an announcement that will surely spread delight among the international ocean paddling community, one of the toughest races in the world just got a lot easier (and a lot more fun). The famous Air France Paddle Festival, long known as the premiere international race on an island long known as the world’s premiere paddling nation, has changed course this year. Literally.

The infamous 23km long distance race, an often flat-water affair whose hot, brutal conditions have eaten the world’s best paddlers alive over the years, is now an 18km downwinder. There’s also a foil race added to the schedule alongside the 8km open race (which will remain a largely flat-water course inside the lagoon).   → READ MORE

Titouan Puyo and Yuka Sato have claimed the Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti

Congratulations Titou and Yuka. Full report to follow…

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Congrats Yuka and Titou for winning a very long, very hot race in Tahiti today! Massive effort from both of you πŸ’ͺπŸŒ΄πŸ’¦ Special mention to 15-year-old @keoni_sulpice who was just 11 seconds behind "Silk" after more than two hours of tough paddling, as well as @oliviapiana who finished runner-up despite having to borrow a board at the very last minute πŸ™Œ Actually… anyone that even finished the 24k grind deserves a medal – that looked draining! πŸ˜…πŸ™ˆ Thanks a lot to @seychellesup for joining me on the @paddleleague live stream commentary, hope you all had as much fun watching at home as we did in the booth! 😁 Such a pleasure to work with the amazing crew from TNTV (plus The League's in-house producer @trev_sup) to showcase this epic event. See you next year, Tahiti! πŸ‡΅πŸ‡«πŸ™ @airfrance @tahitinuitelevision

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Air France Paddle Festival: Watch highlights from paradise.

Great highlights from the first stop of The Paddle League World Tour, where Marcus Hansen and Sonni Honscheid produced memorable victories and hundreds of paddlers enjoyed a swelteringly-hot day on the water.

If you’re having trouble loading the video on mobile, click here to watch directly on Facebook.

Sonni HΓΆnscheid Tames the Tahitian Sun to Defend Her Air France Paddle Festival Title

German powerhouse Sonni Honscheid has flexed her muscles and shown she’s a genuine contender for The Paddle League World Title this year, dominating the women’s field in sweltering conditions to claim back-to-back Air France Paddle Festival titles in Tahiti.

Sonni broke the field in the opening 10 minutes and paddled solo right around the 24km course, setting up a clean sweep of the podium for Team Starboard as Japanese dark horse Yuka Sato finished and impressive third and the gutsy Fiona Wylde outlasted Olivia Piana to claim third.   → READ MORE

Air France: Marcus Hansen Produces Stunning Comeback to Defeat Michael Booth and the Tahitian Warriors at First Stop of The Paddle League World Tour

Marcus Hansen has announced himself as a genuine contender on the international stage, producing a stunning comeback for Team NSP to overpower Starboard’s Michael Booth and defeat a big field of Tahitian Warriors at the Air France Paddle Festival.

As the first stop on The Paddle League World Tour, the 5th Annual Air France race drew a strong international crowd to compete against the Tahitians, and the battle royale didn’t disappoint. With weather that can only be described as too good, paddlers were met with mercilessly-hot blue skies, light winds and high humidity for a challenge that tested both physical and mental limits.

But in the end it was Marcus who conquered the torture chamber, saluting in an event that produced several rollercoaster stories.    → READ MORE

The Paddle League: Full replay of the Air France Paddle Festival

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Watch a full replay of the epic Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti, first stop of The Paddle League World Tour.

World Rankings: Here Are SUP Racer’s Star Ratings for Season 2017 (aka the Biggest Races in the World This Year)

Pacific Paddle Games

Two weeks ago, I sent out a survey to each of the world’s top-ranked paddlers asking which events they’d be competing in this year. The goal was to paint a picture of the biggest races in the world, which I think is not only an interesting insight for everyone in the sport to analyse, it also helps me to set clear ‘star ratings’ that will produce an ever more accurate World Rankings leaderboard.

Here are the results…   → READ MORE

Steeve Teihotaata Defeats Titouan Puyo and the Titans of Tahiti to Win the Air France Paddle Festival (Updated with Full Results)

Air France Paddle FestivalSteeve Teihotaata has taken out the 2016 Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti, defeating hot favourite Titouan Puyo as well as fellow Tahitian titans Rete Ebb, Georges Cronsteadt and Tamarua Cowan to announce himself as a genuine contender on the international stage.

Following two hours of downwind and flat water paddling around Tahiti’s north-west coast, and after a close battle first with both Titou and Rete, Steeve produced an amazing performance over the final kilometre, pulling clear to win in a time of 1:58:17, one minute clear of a tight race for second.   → READ MORE

This Weekend: Titouan Puyo Takes on Tahiti in the ‘Regional Major’ Air France Paddle Festival

Air France Paddle Festival SUP Tahiti (2)Fresh off his world-beating win at the Carolina Cup, Titouan Puyo is set to tackle the titans of Tahiti this weekend, with the big Air France Paddle Festival providing an international showcase for what is arguably the strongest paddling nation on the planet.

Titou will certainly have his work cut out for him though, with the NSP and Quickblade team rider lining up against the likes of Georges Cronsteadt and a dozen ultra dark horse contenders that know these waters like the back of their hand. The event will be webcast live on Saturday, and with over 300 paddlers pre-registered it should be a great showdown.   → READ MORE

Could The Air France Paddle Festival Be Tahiti’s First Big International Race?

Air France Paddle Festival TahitiThe paradisiacal waters of Tahiti have long been known to produce the world’s strongest paddlers. The island nation totally dominates the world of outrigger canoeing, and increasingly their paddle warriors are discovering the joys (and opportunities) that come with standing up.

But while Tahiti is home to many great stand up paddlers, what it’s missing is a great stand up race…   → READ MORE