The Yukon River Quest: 715km of dehydration, hallucinations and days that never end

It’s been more than a week since we finished the Yukon River Quest and I still can’t feel one of my big toes. Apparently nerve damage is a standard result of paddling three days, three nights and 715km (444 miles) down a long, cold river in Canada. My toe should “thaw out” in a month or two, but I’ll have to wait another 12 months to experience the Yukon again.

And that’s the craziest thing about this race: despite going through a torturous test of sleep deprivation, dehydration and hallucinations, I have an overwhelming desire to do it all again. There’s something addictive about these ultras.

The Yukon River Quest is so much more than just a race, and therein lies its appeal. It’s part-race, part-adventure, part-journey into your own mind and beyond. It’s both marvelous and miserable, beautiful and boring, fascinating and fucking difficult. And it all takes place in one of the most breathtakingly-remote parts of the world you’re ever likely to visit.   → READ MORE

Yukon River Quest: Quick highlights reel

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HIGHLIGHTS REEL 🎬 The Yukon River Quest is three days, three nights and one crazy big adventure. It'll test you physically, it'll try to break you mentally, and it'll leave you feeling a mixture of accomplishment and relief. Add it to your bucket list for next year if you want to push yourself beyond your limits, and sign up for one of the upcoming "ultras" in Jersey, Friesland, Scotland, Ibiza and Thailand in the meantime.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Welcome to The Ultra Paddle League ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Current event schedule: 8x races⁣⁣⁣⁣ Current distance: 1654 kilometres / 1027 miles⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 🌍🌎🌏⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Yukon River Quest ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 715km / 444 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ June 26-29⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Yukon Territory, Canada ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @yukonriverquestmedia⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Jersey Round Island Challenge ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 65km / 40 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ August 31 ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Jersey, British Channel Islands⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @jerseyroundislandchallenge⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 11 City Tour: Non-stop ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 220km / 136 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 7-8⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Friesland, Netherlands ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11citytour ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 11 City Tour: Five-day ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 220km / 136 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 11-15⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Friesland, Netherlands ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11citytour⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Great Glen Challenge⁣⁣: Two-day⁣⁣⁣ 92km / 57 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 21-22⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Scotland ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Great Glen Challenge: Non-stop⁣⁣⁣ 92km / 57 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 22⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Scotland ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ SUP 11 X: Ibiza ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 130km / 80 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ October 23-27⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Ibiza, Spain ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11x⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ SUP 11 X: Thailand ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 120km / 75 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Nov 27 – Dec 1⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Koh Chang, Thailand ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11x⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 🌏🌍🌎⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ We're aiming to add more great "ultra" events to The Ultra Paddle League in the coming weeks. Races such as Muskoka, MR340, AL650, Dordogne, Yukon 1000, Massive Murray, CFC, CRQ, C100 and many more are on our radar. Which other ultras would you like to see us promote? 🤔 #ultrapaddleleague @supyukon

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71 hours later… The Yukon River Quest is complete.

We made it! I’m not sure how, and I’m still not entirely sure why, but I finished the 715km Yukon River Quest alongside half a dozen other stand up paddlers and scores of crazy canoe and kayak competitors.

We had headwind, we had hypothermia, and we had one hell of a long paddle down a river in Canada. The Yukon River Quest is more than just a race, it’s an adventure. It’s a total trip that’ll stretch your body and mind far beyond its comfortable borders.

We’ll have more coverage in the coming days, but for now here are the final times of the SUP finishers.   → READ MORE

715kms down a cold river in Canada: When/where/how to follow the Yukon River Quest

Welcome to the Yukon River Quest aka “Why are we paddling 715km down a cold river in Canada?!”

Over the next three days, Bart de Zwart and myself, along with eight other stand up paddlers and hundreds of canoe/kayak competitors will be attempting to conquer the mighty Yukon River in ultra-remote, north-west Canada. Known as the “Race to the Midnight Sun,” the YRQ is the longest annual paddling race in the world.

Here’s how to follow…   → READ MORE

Boothy and Fiona make it a clean sweep of the Greek Islands

Fiona Wylde and Michael Booth have made it a clean sweep of the Greek Islands for team Starboard, claiming today’s “Agios Nikolaos on SUP” event after conquering some of the gnarliest conditions we’ve seen all season. This follows on from their big wins on Corfu last week. ⁣⁣⁣
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Today’s 14km race on the island of Crete had a bit of everything, from downwind to flat to one or two brutal kms of crazy headwind. The winners both went hard early but earned their big leads in different parts of the course: Boothy shut the door on the chase pack of Vinni Martins, Martin Vitry, Ty Judson, Arthur Arutkin, Noic Garioud and Enzo Bennett in the grueling upwinder, whereas Fiona setup her victory early on during the smoother downwind section. ⁣⁣⁣   → READ MORE

This is the ‘Yukon River Quest’ (OR: “Why am I paddling 715km down a cold river in Canada?!”)

In exactly seven days’ time, I will be paddling down a long, cold river towards the village of “Carmacks” in Canada’s wild and remote Yukon Territory in desperate search of rest.

If all goes according to plan, I will have already been on the water for more than 24 hours at that point, paddling all through the night of Wednesday 26 June. However I’ll still only be about one third of the way towards my final destination of “Dawson” in the far north.

Carmacks is the first of two rest stops along the 715km (444 mile) course of the Yukon River Quest, the world’s longest annual paddle race and an almighty challenge both physically and mentally.

I’ll be joined on that cold river in Canada next week by ten other stand up paddlers and scores of kayak and canoe competitors for the 21st running of the “Race to the Midnight Sun,” an event that has become something of a mythical beast in the world of paddling. The word “Quest” in the race title is very fitting in my opinion. This isn’t just a race, it’s an odyssey.

So after covering the race from the comfort of my laptop for the past few years, I’m nervously-excited to say that I’ll be taking part in this year’s challenge, and we invite you to virtually join us on this crazy adventure.

Though at this point you might be asking yourself the same question I’ve been contemplating the past few days: “Why on earth are you doing this?”   → READ MORE

Team Starboard reigns supreme: Masterclass from Michael Booth, Fiona Wylde in the Greek Islands

Team Starboard super duo Michael Booth and Fiona Wylde have claimed this week’s EuroTour race with emphatic victories against both a strong field and a draining hot sun in the Greek Islands.

Boothy claimed the ‘Corfu Emerald Cup’ to bounce back from his big mistake at last week’s battle of Bilbao and put an exclamation mark on his status as the world’s strongest paddler, while Fiona was a little too strong for Italian wildcard and rising star Caterina Stenta.   → READ MORE

EuroTour update: Amandine Chazot and Tom Auber have won the downwinder in Spain

Spain’s Laura Quetglas (photo: @eurotoursup)

In brief: Tom Auber and Amandine Chazot have claimed the latest round of the EuroTour in the north-east of Spain. The French duo saluted at the Cap de Creus SUP Challenge in a great downwind run a couple of hours north of Barcelona.

Tom’s toughest challenge came from compatriot Martin Vitry, while last week’s third-place finisher Vinni Martins repeated his result after out-sprinting Martin Letourneur and Ty Judson in the final hundred metres.

Amandine triumphed over fellow Frenchwoman Olivia Piana, while Laura Quetglas hit the podium for Team Spain for the second week in a row. It was another big showing from the junior girls out of the Spanish island of Mallorca, with young training team-mates Duna Gordillo, Sonia Caimari and Sonia Hurtado all hitting the top 10.

Follow The Euro Tour for more coverage. Here are the early results…

WOMEN’S TOP 10
1st: Amandine Chazot (FRA) Sunova/QB
2nd: Olivia Piana (FRA) Rogue
3rd: Laura Quetglas (ESP) Starboard/QB
4th: Melanie Lafenetre (FRA) Infinity
5th: Susak Molinero (ESP) RRD
6th: Noelani Sach (GER) NSP
7th: Duna Gordillo (ESP) F-One/QB
8th: Sheila Sirvent (ESP) Starboard/QB
9th: Sonia Caimari (ESP) SIC/QB
10th: Sonia Hurtado (ESP) Starboard/QB

MEN’S TOP 10
1st: Tom Auber (FRA) Fanatic
2nd: Martin Vitry (FRA) SIC/QB
3rd: Vinnicius Martins (BRA) JP
4th: Martin Letourneur (FRA)
5th: Ty Judson (AUS) NSP
6th: Ludovic Teulade (FRA) Oxbow/QB
7th: Enzo Bennett (TAH) 425
8th: Bruno Hasulyo (HUN) Lightboard
9th: Boris Jinvresse (FRA) Sunova/QB
10th: Kelly Margetts (AUS) Sunova/QB

Live stream replay: Watch the EuroTour ‘World SUP Festival’ in Costa Blanca, Spain

Full replay of SUP Racer’s EuroTour live stream at the World SUP Festival in Costa Blanca, Spain, where Ty Judson and Olivia Piana were victorious.

Thanks for everyone that tuned in to watch! It was great to be back on the microphone. And a special thank you to Quickblade Paddles and VMG Blades for supporting our European Summer of SUP and making this whole show possible.

We experimented with a new “split-screen” format this week. Definitely still got a few things to iron out, but I think it was a creative step in the right direction and a great way to (finally) be able to give women equal coverage.

We’ll be back with another live stream in San Sebastian on June 1st, followed by Bilbao (June 8th), Corfu (June 15th), Crete (June 22nd) and Prague (July 6th).

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EuroTour: Ty Judson and Olivia Piana have won the ‘World SUP Festival’ in Spain

In brief: Team NSP’s Ty Judson has put on an ocean paddling masterclass to claim the World SUP Fetival in Costa Blanca, Spain. The humble young Australian broke away early on the 15km crossing between the small island of Tabarca back to the mainland, finishing over a minute clear of determined duo Enzo Bennett (Tahiti/425) and Vinni Martins (Brazil/JP).

Brazilian dark-horse (though I think he’s officially graduated from that title) Guilherme dos Reis took fourth while his brother-from-another-mother David Leao won the junior division. Frenchman Ludovic Teulade, fresh off a record-attempting six-hour downwinder across the Mediterranean, rounded out the top five in a strong field of around 200 paddlers.

Team Rogue’s Olivia Piana bounced back from a 3rd and 4th place finish in the past two EuroTour events to claim a strong win, with only Susak Molinero (Spain; RRD) able to stay within sight of the powerful Frenchwoman. Italy’s Caterina Stenta (RRD) was impressive in third.

The event was highlighted by a surge in junior participation, with 15-year-olds Anna Tschirky (Switzerland; F-One) and Duna Gordillo (Spain; Starboard) both finishing top 10 in the women’s main event, while the short-course Grom Races featured over 50 future champions in a bright showing for the sport.

Full results on the EuroTour site; full recap coming soon…

TOP 10 WOMEN
1st: Olivia Piana Rogue
2nd: Susak Molinero RRD
3rd: Catherina Stenta RRD
4th: Melanie Lafenetre Infinity
5th: Susanne Lier F-One/QB
6th: Laura Quetglas Starboard/QB
7th: Noelani Sach NSP
8th: Sheila Sirvent Starboard/QB
9th: Anna Tschirsky F-One/QB
10th: Duna Gordillo F-One/QB

TOP 10 MEN
1st: Ty Judson NSP
2nd: Enzo Bennett 425
3rd: Vinnicius Martins JP
4th: Guilherme dos Reis SIC
5th: Ludovic Teulade Oxbow
6th: Giordano Bruno SIC
7th: Paolo Marconi RRD
8th: Kelly Margetts Sunova/QB
9th: Federico Esposito Infinity/QB
10th: Liran Machlev NSP