Ukrainian paddlers are fighting for their freedom – here’s how you can support them

The first thing I noticed when I met Ukrainian paddler George Zamana is that he was always smiling. I thought he was just excited that we were about to paddle in Kyiv’s sub-zero temperatures (adventure!) but it turns out George is one of those happy-go-lucky guys that’s always sharing a positive face with the world. George is smiling in his latest photo, too, except he’s not standing next to his board with a paddle in hand–he’s sitting beside an anti-tank missile launcher.   → READ MORE

OG Anthony Vela announced as “Strategic Advisor” for ISA as surfing defends against canoeing’s Olympic advances

One of the living legends of stand up paddling, Anthony “AV” Vela, has been announced as SUP manager for the ISA as the surfing crew begin to wake from their covid slumber and start getting shit done again now that the canoe boys have made their presence felt.

AV brings his incredible knowledge of paddling to the ISA as its official ‘Strategic SUP Advisor’ in a role that will see him even more involved with the World Championships (where he was already race director) as well as the Association’s overall SUP strategy.    → READ MORE

The Great Danish Paddle: Casper Steinfath is paddling 1400km *around* Denmark

When Casper Steinfath recently told me about a “new adventure” he was planning, I was already excited before he’d even shared the details. The Danish Viking is one of those guys who embodies the spirit of paddling I admire most — a desire to push oneself in the name of curiosity.

In the old days, Casper would have been setting sail on ships for distant lands. In modern times, those who yearn to explore must contend themselves with unfamiliar ways to experience places already on the map. And that’s exactly what The Great Danish Paddle is all about.

Over the next 40-50 days, Casper will paddle all the way around his home country of Denmark in a voyage of some 1400 kilometres (870 miles for the metrically challenged). Paddling 6-8 hours a day and camping most nights, Casper will circumnavigate the entire country. That’s like doing the 11 City Tour seven times back-to-back or 28 lengths of the Chattajack course without a day off. It’s bloody long.   → READ MORE

‘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