12 TOWERS: Noic Garioud puts on a masterclass, Karla Gilbert wins title #7 and a 13-year-old shocks the veterans

Noic “Chicken” Garioud and Karla Gilbert have claimed the 12 Towers ocean race in Australia today, with more than 150 paddlers enjoying a firing downwind run along Queensland’s famed Gold Coast to cap off a big weekend at Australia’s premiere paddling event.

Nobody got near Noic. The New Caledonian was in a league of his own. It was a masterclass. A clinic. A dominant performance from a 17-year-old athlete who shows maturity well beyond his years both on and off the water. Noic was reading the bumps so well that he probably took fewer paddle strokes than anyone else in the race. ⁣   → READ MORE

FULL REPLAY of the “12 Towers” ocean race in Australia

Full replay of today’s big ocean downwind race in Australia, the “12 Towers”. Conditions were almost perfect with firing winds and beautiful downwind bumps for the approximately 13km course along Queensland’s Gold Coast.

(video not loading? watch the replay direct on Facebook)

Bringin’ back the BOP: 12 Towers weekend starts with super fun surf race; Ty Judson, Karla Gilbert win in the waves

In brief: We had a super fun surf race to kick off the 12 Towers Ocean Festival on Australia’s Gold Coast today 🌊💥 It was so good to see this kind of format back in Australia — it really reminded me of the good old Battle of the Paddle days.

The Queen of the towers, Karla Gilbert, was too strong for New Zealand’s Brianna Orams and local gun Ke’ale Dorries despite being older than the combined age of her rivals. Ty Judson snuck through a tight pack to claim the men’s paddle battle ahead of the new darkhorse on the block, Johnny Hagan, and New Cal super junior Noic Garioud.   → READ MORE

BREAKING: ICF to skip 2020 World Champs due to legal uncertainty but confirms 2021 event in Hungary

I just spoke with the International Canoe Federation (ICF) in Europe and they’re about to announce a pretty surprising move: The 2020 ICF SUP World Championships have been put on hold due to legal uncertainty surrounding their court case with the ISA (International Surfing Federation). But in an interesting twist, canoe’s governing body has already confirmed the host nation for the 2021 Worlds: Hungary.

The decision to postpone the 2020 event comes after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) failed to reach a conclusion to the long-running “Olympic SUP” debate between the ISA and ICF. Both federations were expecting some sort of answer in December, but the saga of all sagas appears to be dragging on a little longer. The ICF also suggested that increasing concerns around the coronavirus – which has already seen thousands of sporting events canceled around the world – was another factor in their decision.

This is a developing story. More to come…

LIVE STREAM: When, where and how to watch the “12 Towers” Ocean Festival in Australia this weekend

They say there’s “something in the water” in Australia. The sparsely-populated country continent has somehow managed to produce a significant chunk of the world’s best paddlers over the past decade despite having a population half the size of California. But for all the talent, one thing Australia seems to lack is international events. There are plenty of grassroots clubs and regional events that keep the sport ticking along, but Australia has never matched Europe or the U.S. when it comes to marquee events. There are really only two — 12 Towers and King of the Cut. And the former is happening this weekend.

The 12 Towers is probably the longest-running stand up paddle event in Australia. And it’s arguably the most prestigious. Since 2012, a who’s who of paddling royalty have claimed the title, from Travis Grant to Titouan Puyo to Michael Booth to Terrene Black and Karla Gilbert.

Who will add their name to the famous trophy this year? You’ll find out on Sunday as we bring you the 12 Towers ocean race LIVE from Australia’s Gold Coast.   → READ MORE

Downwind in paradise: Tahiti’s Air France Paddle Festival ditches the grind, embraces the wind

In an announcement that will surely spread delight among the international ocean paddling community, one of the toughest races in the world just got a lot easier (and a lot more fun). The famous Air France Paddle Festival, long known as the premiere international race on an island long known as the world’s premiere paddling nation, has changed course this year. Literally.

The infamous 23km long distance race, an often flat-water affair whose hot, brutal conditions have eaten the world’s best paddlers alive over the years, is now an 18km downwinder. There’s also a foil race added to the schedule alongside the 8km open race (which will remain a largely flat-water course inside the lagoon).   → READ MORE

Chased by the Midnight Sun: The documentary about Canada’s 715km-long ‘Yukon River Quest’ is finally complete


 
It was 3am Tuesday. I’d been staring at the remote Canadian wilderness for 16 hours straight. I hadn’t slept much, and I was seriously questioning why I was doing it all in the first place. This was the Yukon River Quest, which at 715km is the longest annual paddle race on the planet. It’s a mind-bending experience that pushes the body to its limits and the mind well beyond.

But on that early Tuesday morning, I wasn’t looking at the Yukon up close: I was watching it over and over again on a computer screen. Because for the past three weeks I’ve been doing nothing but working on a documentary about one of the grandest adventures in the world of paddling.

Chased by the Midnight Sun is an hour-long tribute to the splendid beauty and sheer absurdity of the Yukon River Quest. It explores what happens to your body and mind when you paddle three days down a very long, cold and lonely river with little sleep and even less of an idea why you’re doing it to begin with.

Featuring Bart de Zwart, myself and half a dozen very bold stand up paddlers who attempted this crazy mission, the film is now finally complete, and I’d love to share it with you at the online streaming premiere on Saturday 14 March.   → READ MORE

Paddlecast #010: Noic “Chicken” Garioud talks travel, training and why he stubbornly refused to try SUP in the early days

New Caledonia’s 17-year-old superstar Noïc Garioud dropped by the Paddlecast studio for a chat while on holidays in Australia. We talked travel, training and why he stubbornly REFUSED to try stand up paddling in the early days. Plus: What it’s like to compete against guys like Boothy and Titou.

Noïc has quickly established himself as one of the best downwind paddlers on the planet, and last year he had some breakout performances on flat water to cement his position in the top tier of the sport — he ended 2019 as the world number one ranked junior. The Sunova team rider has a long career ahead of him and a wise head on his young shoulders.

I really enjoyed chatting with Noïc, and I’m looking forward to watching him and the downwind crew in action at the 12 Towers Ocean Festival from 6-8 March here on the Gold Coast of Australia (I’ll be livestreaming the whole weekend on The Paddle League). Follow @noicgarioud on Insta to keep up with his adventures.

If you enjoy the show, you can subscribe to Paddlecast on Spotify, YouTube and Apple Podcasts to never miss an episode.

Listen above or click through to watch…   → READ MORE