The Majors: The World’s Five Biggest SUP Races (Plus: Predicting The Top 25 “Most Significant” Races Of 2015)

Major Stand Up Paddle Races
I asked the question last week: “What do we call the biggest races in stand up paddling?” The Majors? The Grand Slams? The Classics?

In a sport as fragmented and disorganised as SUP racing, I think it would be great to recognise and celebrate the big, standalone events that support and develop both the community and industry. To help promote them with a collective theme that highlights their significant contribution to the sport.

I say we call them the Majors, and these are the races that I think qualify. The five biggest races in the world this year are…   → READ MORE

The Top 14 Most Competitive Races Of 2014

Battle of the Paddle Salt Creek
There were a lot of SUP races this year. We had over 400 listings on the Rogue Race Calendar. We sent 137 race results to the Results by Riviera archive. You couldn’t go a week without your Facebook feed being flooded with photos of SUP races here, there and everywhere.

Some of those races were fun, local events. Some were grand, international spectacles. Most fell somewhere in between. And that’s just fine. Most races don’t need to be grand to be successful, they just need to be well organised, encourage a few extra people to give the sport a try and offer everyone a fun day on the water.

But some races push the boundaries a little more than the average. Some races attract, either through deliberate marketing or incidental brilliance, a disproportionately large amount of attention and elite talent. Quite simply: Some races are a lot more competitive than others. Click through to see the full list and read my overly-thorough analysis…   → READ MORE

This Photo “Won” The Gorge Paddle Challenge

Stand Up Paddling with a dogWho won the Gorge race last week? Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson may have scored the biggest trophies and fattest prize cheques, however one competitor (or rather two) stood out above the crowd.

Matt Willett and his golden retriever Hunter received the loudest cheers of any competitors. Plus if Instagram and Facebook are any measure, the two were the clear winners of the event. The shot below was the most liked pic of the entire Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge…   → READ MORE

Dan Gavere / Drone / Microphone (Day 2)

Gorge Paddle Challenge downwind videoDan Gavere returns with his drone and microphone to give us a look at Day 2 of the Gorge Paddle Challenge.

There’s a great little interview with Connor Baxter, some cool race footage and a slice of music that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Dutch coffee shop…   → READ MORE

Dan Gavere Takes His Drone And His Microphone To The Hood

Gorge Paddle Challenge videoWe’re still coming down from the high that was the 2014 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. It was an awesome weekend of racing and one that everyone assembled at Hoodriver Waterfront Park won’t soon forget.

But if you couldn’t make it to Oregon in person and the Gorge Paddle Challenge photos and results aren’t enough, here’s some early video highlights of the action.   → READ MORE

RESULTS: Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge – Annabel Anderson, Connor Baxter Sweep An All-Star Field In Hood River

Gorge Paddle Challenge results 2014 day 2

We’ve just wrapped up the second and final day of the 2014 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, with Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson dominating an all-star field in what will surely be remembered as one of 2014’s best events.

After their respective victories in Saturday’s Course Race, the Starboard duo made it a clean sweep by claiming today’s unique “Double Downwind” event. With the winds lighter than usual for the Gorge (but much better than we’d feared last night), the elite field battled their way up the Columbia Gorge in back-to-back downwind runs. The majority of the world’s top athletes were on show today, which gave us some intense racing and a great spectacle (especially from my vantage point out on the media boat).   → READ MORE

Quickblade Presents LIVE COVERAGE Of The Gorge Paddle Challenge (One Of The Biggest Races Of The Year)

Gorge Paddle ChallengeUPDATE #2: The Gorge Paddle Challenge LIVE BLOG has started… Head on over and follow the racing in the Gorge as it happens.

The Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge (or just the Gorge race) is happening this weekend in Hood River, Oregon. And it’s going to be one of the biggest races of the year…

Awesome lineup of competitors. Awesome race conditions. Awesome race format. Awesome event. Almost every big name in the sport will be at the Gorge this weekend to enjoy the trademark downwind conditions and feel good vibe. It’s going to be an event to remember.

And now, thanks to the support of Quickblade Paddles and the all star organising team behind the event, you can follow the Gorge Paddle Challenge all weekend with our LIVE BLOG.   → READ MORE

Gorge Paddle Challenge Unveils The Double Downwinder; Twice As Much Reason To Head To Hood River

Gorge Paddle Challenge downwinderThinking of heading up to Oregon for this year’s Gorge Paddle Challenge? Well now you’ve got twice as much reason to make the trip, because organisers have revealed this year’s GPC will feature not one but TWO downwind runs, with the awesomely-titled “Double Downwinder” race set to make its debut. In what is perhaps a world first, this year’s Gorge race will feature back-to-back runs on the famous Hood River downwind course, with both times counting towards the overall event rankings.

The “Double Downwinder” is exactly what it sounds like: You finish one downwinder, hop on the shuttle bus back to the start line and do it all over again. I’ve never heard of a SUP race holding two consecutive downwinders but when you’ve got conditions as good as the Gorge then it makes a whole lotta sense. Everyone goes there for the downwinding, so why not give people more of what they want?   → READ MORE

11 Awesome Photos From The Gorge Paddle Challenge

Gorge Paddle Challenge 2013Check out some awesome shots from the 2013 Gorge Paddle Challenge that was held in Hood River, Oregon on the weekend and won by young guns Kody Kerbox and Fiona Wylde.

These pics are from the Course Race on Day Two and include everything from determined faces and fast starts to some very fit athletes and a VERY stoked young lady.

Click through for the full gallery…   → READ MORE

Kody Kerbox, Fiona Wylde Win The Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge (FINAL RESULTS)

Gorge Paddle Challenge 2013Kody Kerbox and Fiona Wylde have taken out the 2013 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, Oregon ahead of a stacked local and international field. Kody beat some big names in Georges Cronsteadt and Slater Trout, while local surprise packet Fiona Wylde put in a commanding overall performance to knock off the likes of Andrea Moller, Candice Appleby and Jenny Kalmbach.

Click through for the full results…   → READ MORE

One Weekend. Three Big Races. $63,000 In Prize Money…

Stand Up Paddleboard racesWe’re getting into the serious part of the SUP racing season now. Six weeks out from the BoP and things are starting to heat up, with this coming weekend set to be the biggest single two days of Stand Up Paddle racing all year long.

From San Fran and Oregon to Hamburg, Germany, three big SUP races will feature a huge chunk of the world’s elite paddlers plus a huge chunk of prize money. Here’s what’s happening…   → READ MORE

Return To Hood River: 2013 Gorge Paddle Challenge Dates Revealed

Gorge Paddle ChallengeWe’ve just found out the dates of the 2013 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge (CGPC). This proved to be one of the highlight events of the 2012 SUP Racing season, so we can expect plenty of action again this year. This year the Gorge Paddle Challenge SUP race will be held over the weekend of August 17th & 18th in Hood River, Oregon.

Announcements regarding prize money and race formats will be coming soon, so we’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear more. The massively successful Positively Kai kids SUP clinic is also returning. After attracting 200 eager young SUP groms last year, the Positively Kai event will once again be held the day before the race (Friday 16th August).   → READ MORE

[VIDEO] Kai Lenny’s Gorge Paddle Challenge SUP Race Highlights

Check out some slick action from last month’s Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge in Oregon, which was dominated by young gun Kai Lenny.

In the latest installment of Positively Kai, we get some insights into what it takes to win an elite SUP race. Kai took out both the Elite Course Race as well as the downwinder, beating an absolutely stacked field that included the likes of Connor Baxter and Jamie Mitchell. Click through to watch the full video…   → READ MORE

Connor Baxter Plays A Quick Game Of Frogger @ The Gorge

Check out this shot of Connor Baxter playing a bit of “Frogger” at the Gorge Paddle Challenge Downwind Race on Sunday.

Connor wasn’t the only SUP racer dodging the windsurfer/kitesurfer crowd either, just check out these shots of Kai Lenny and Dave Kalama. Oh and there was a massive log ship passing by at one point as well, just for good measure…   → READ MORE

Talia Gangini Disqualified For Paddling “Wrong” Board

If you’ve taken a look at at any point in the past five days, you couldn’t have missed our coverage of the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. The event was massive. It drew one of the most elite fields of any SUP race this year, and with conditions turning it on, became an instant classic.

Saturday saw a hard-fought Elite Course Race while Sunday produced strong winds for an epic Downwind Race. Talia Gangini, fresh from winning Molokai in record time, was one of the favourites for the Downwinder. The young Maui paddler delivered, putting in a strong performance to claim second place, behind only Candice Appleby.

However Talia didn’t make the podium, she didn’t even get an official place. All she got was a DQ next to her name…   → READ MORE

The Awesome, High-Res “Gorge Downwinder” Race Photo

Check out this epic photo from yesterday’s Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge Downwinder.

Gives you a good idea of how awesome the conditions were. In the foreground you’ve got the 40 odd Elite paddlers, with the 100+ from the Open Race (which started 5 minutes later) in the background.   → READ MORE

[PHOTOS] Check Out The Intense Action From Day 1 @ The Gorge Paddle Challenge

The Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge is happening all this weekend at Hood River, Oregon. Yesterday was the Course Race and today is the Downwinder.

As we’ve been saying all week this is one of the most competitive SUP races of the year, with a good chunk of the world’s top paddlers in town. Yesterday didn’t disappoint, with young gun Kai Lenny taking victory in the Course Race ahead of Jamie Mitchell, while Candice Appleby was too strong in the women’s (>>> full race results).

But if you weren’t lucky enough to be in Oregon to witness the action then don’t worry. Local SUP store Gorge Perforance was on hand and took some awesome shots of the action. Click through for the highlights…   → READ MORE

[RESULTS] Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge: Kai Lenny, Candice Appleby Dominate

The 2012 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge has just wrapped up at Hood River, Oregon, in spectacular fashion. The stacked field of paddlers and awesome race conditions have helped this go down as one of the best SUP racing events of the year.

With $18,000 in prize money on the line, a virtual “who’s who” of the stand up paddle world battled it out for this year’s Gorge Paddle Challenge. Just making the Top 10 in this event would be as impressive as a podium spot in almost any other SUP race around the world. Click to see the full results   → READ MORE