‘Last Paddler Standing’ is probably the best new race format our sport has seen in years

It’s been 14 years since the Battle of the Paddle kickstarted the sport of stand up paddle racing, and that fateful day on the shores of Southern California in 2008 would set the tone for more than a decade to come. For years, SUP events around the world simply copied the BOP format of “course race + distance race” because it was the race. Innovation be damned, it was a competition to see who could best emulate the Battle.

For a while, this imitation helped grow the sport by providing structure and familiarity. But eventually flattery turned to lethargy. Too many races looked the same, which led to burnout as competitors ached for something different. The promotion of 200 metre sprints to world championships and the rise of the ultras have at least offered alternatives, but apart from Jamie Mitchell’s Survivor Race and Paul Jackson’s Super Lap there hasn’t been much innovation in the actual race formats — especially not in the past half a decade.

That’s why I’m so excited about a new event happening in Florida in December: Last Paddler Standing is an ultra-marathon mind game of (potentially) epic proportions. I say potentially because nobody knows just how long the race will be — and that’s the beauty of it.   → READ MORE

ICF cancels SUP World Cup in Russia, joins Olympic world in banning athletes

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has joined the Olympic world in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition. This follows an announcement last week by ICF President Thomas Konietzko that the Federation was cancelling (with the potential of “relocating”) its three international events to be hosted in Russia this year, which included a SUP World Cup in Moscow that was going to be a pretty big deal in the leadup to the ICF Worlds in Poland in September.   → READ MORE

The day I went paddling in Kyiv

It was a cold February day, not unlike today. The ground was covered in fresh snow that crunched under foot like a strange kind of sand. Foreign but somehow familiar. The ice sheet covering the Dnieper River was starting to break up and release its grip on the city.

It was 2018 and I had stopped over in Kyiv on my way home from the GlaGla Race. I had met the core of the Ukrainian SUP community – Andriy, Alex and Slava – in France two weeks prior and was invited for a winter session in their hometown. I jumped at the opportunity and thus began one of the coldest paddling days of my life.   → READ MORE