“The Ultimate Challenge” is about to begin again. On Wednesday morning, a hundred odd paddlers will be gathered on the water in Leeuwarden, a small city in the rural Dutch province of Friesland. Staring down in front of them will be 220 kilometres (136 miles) of canals and lakes, along with eleven cities (or mostly towns) that make up one of the most special races in the world of stand up paddling: The SUP 11 City Tour.
Now in its eighth year, the 11 Cities has grown to become one of the true classics on the international calendar. The race occupies a unique position in the world of SUP, providing paddlers with an extreme test: Five straight days of racing with an average of more than 40km (25 miles) per day. → READ MORE
We’re only 10 weeks out from the 2016 ISA Worlds in Fiji, and to help kick off the official countdown, the International Surfing Association has produced this slick little promo clip for the event.
As we’ve talked about in our coverage of the 2016 ISA Stand Up Paddleboard World Championship, the event is moving to the South Pacific paradise in November. → READ MORE
Strike this up to being in the right place at the time. Earlier this morning, a bunch of paddlers in Auckland, New Zealand, enjoyed a very close encounter with a pod of orcas, and fortunately for us it was all caught on film.
The video above comes via the experienced adventure paddler and racer Sam Thom, who told TV NZ “It was great to see the orcas coming right up beside us and touching the boards, we were all both excited and nervous to be so close to them.” → READ MORE
The past 31 days have seen a string of massive races light up the second half of the season, with Molokai, the JM Survivor Race at Huntington and the Gorge Paddle Challenge giving us plenty of great stories, highlights and leaderboard shake-ups.
But now that we’re in the middle of a three week lull, let’s take a breather and have a look at what’s coming up next. While the next major isn’t for another month – the Pacific Paddle Games – next week we’ve got two big races that’ll showcase two very different versions of our sport. → READ MORE
After the massive showdown that was The Gorge 2016, the crew from Hood River have wasted no time in setting dates for next year’s big gathering in Oregon.
The 2017 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge will be happening on the weekend of August 19 & 20, and I have no doubt it’ll again be one of the biggest, most competitive and funnest races on the calendar. → READ MORE
Kenny Kaneko has gatecrashed the Naish party in Hong Kong, defeating the superstar duo of Kai Lenny and Casper Steinfath, along with world number two Mo Freitas and the hero from Hood River, Bernd Roediger, to claim his maiden international race victory at the 2nd annual Hong Kong International SUP Championship.
In challenging conditions, with a mix of flat water, sidewind, upwind and downwind that saw most of the field either retire or get pulled from the 21km (13 mile) elite course due to time limits, Kenny crossed the line in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 28 seconds, giving the SIC team rider a big win ahead of Kai (2:34:48) and Casper (2:36:26). Bernd was 4th, while Mo was a mid-race retirement. → READ MORE
The 2016 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge was definitely one for the history books, with a massive turnout of elite and amateur athletes enjoying superb conditions in the paddling mecca of Hood River, Oregon.
And now, thanks to the excellent work of Jen Gulizia from Gorge-Us Photography, you can get a close up look at how the epic Double Downwinder went down yesterday. Go straight to the official Gorge Facebook page to view all 173 photos. Above: Connor Baxter, Bernd Roediger and Mo Freitas were the stand out performers.