“Is the Battle of the Paddle gonna be streamed live this year?”
“Will the BOP have a webcast?”
“Where can we watch the race?”
“Where’s the webcast?”
Every year I get this type of question from hundreds of fans around the world. The Battle of the Paddle is the biggest race on earth and SUP die-hards across the globe wanna see it go down as it happens. However in recent years they’ve been frustratingly cut out…
While more and more events invest in live streaming (Payette River Games and the ISA Worlds led the way this year), the BOP seems quite happy to forego the online fanfare.
The Battle of the Paddled used to have a live webcast. I believe the live stream ran from 2009 to 2011. It was a slick production that gave international fans a great window into the world of the BOP, however in 2012 it was cut from the program and has yet to return. The official reason is that a live webcast was too expensive (I’ve heard $50k) for the limited audience it reached (I’ve heard 5,000 uniques).
But what about this year?
While there will be a lot of cameras being used in an official capacity at Salt Creek next weekend, none of them will be broadcasting the race live. In a move that will no doubt roll the eyes of several thousand international race fans, BOP organisers have decided once again to have no webcast, instead choosing to work with an independent production company to try and get the BOP on TV.
It’s cool that the Battle is trying to get on TV again after flirting with the idea in 2012. From what I’ve heard, these producers are gung ho about the idea and genuinely believe they’ll get the biggest race in the world on the small screen.
However it must be said: No webcast at the biggest race in the world is just plain sucky.
Plus this independent production house is footing their own bill to film the event and try and sell it to the networks, meaning the BOP organisers aren’t spending anything at all on camera work this year. Why, with an estimated budget of $400,000, there’s no room in this event for even a minimal webcast is beyond me. High end productions can be done for under $10k. Hell you can even whip up a basic HD stream via your smartphone for free these days.
But the Battle is the Battle. Keep in mind that we owe this event and its Rainbow Sandals organising team a LOT: The BOP pretty much single-handedly kickstarted our sport as we know it. So while no webcast is a bit of a head-scratcher and a pretty major bummer, it’s not the end of the world.
So with no Battle of the Paddle webcast, how you can follow the event live?
Well as part of Starboard Battle Week, you’ll be able to follow all the action with our Battle of the Paddle LIVE BLOG right here on SUPracer.com
No, it won’t be the same as a live, HD, multi-camera webcast, but if you can’t make it to Salt Creek then it’ll be the next best thing.
I’ll personally be doing real-time commentary during the Elite Race, the Distance Race and the Team Relays. You can expect play-by-play updates every 10-15 seconds in our auto-updating LIVE BLOG format, with regular pics thrown in. Find out who’s flying, who’s failing and who’s getting smashed in the shorey. You’ll get to follow the entire Battle of the Paddle at Salt Creek as it happens.
We’ll also share what’s happening behind the scenes and throw in plenty of pics and clips to give you a small window into the event.
If you were around for our Showdown, Gorge or Molokai live blogs, you’ll know what to expect. Oh and we’ve also invested rather heavily in a new server to make sure SUPracer.com resembles Fort Knox, meaning there should be absolutely no repeat of the too-popular-for-our-own-good, server-crashing live blog that was Molokai-2-Oahu this year.
So if you wanna be the first to know who wins the biggest race of the year, tune in on Saturday the 4th for the Elite Race and Sunday 5th for the Distance Race and Team Relays. The action begins at 9am on Saturday with the Elite Race qualifying heats, before the finals hit the water mid-afternoon.
When to tune in?
The Elite Race Qualifiers: 9am California time = 6am Hawaii, 12 noon Florida, 6pm central Europe, 2am Sunday morning Australia…
The Elite Race finals are 3pm (Women) and 4pm (Men): 3pm California time = 12pm Hawaii, 6pm Florida, midnight in Europe and 8am Sunday on the East Coast of Australia…