What are the “biggest” SUP races in the world?

The ‘New Race Index’ attempts to answer this question by recognising, ranking and rewarding stand up paddle races based on elite, amateur and junior participation along with the quality of an event in general.

The New Race Index powers the new-look SUP World Rankings, the original world rankings since 2013.

Scroll down for the methodology.

 

 EVENTINDEXNATIONDATE
1Bilbao World SUP Challenge105.00%Basque08 Jun
2Paris Crossing102.00%France07 Dec
3Osaka Open88.50%Japan21 Sep
4Carolina Cup83.00%USA27 Apr
4ICF Worlds: Beach Race83.00%China27 Oct
6San Sebastian79.50%Basque01 Jun
7ICF Worlds: Marathon78.00%China25 Oct
8Gorge Paddle Challenge77.00%USA17 Aug
9ICF Worlds: 200m Sprints74.50%China26 Oct
10SUP World Cup68.50%Germany29 Jun
11London Open65.00%UK18 May
12Azur Paddle Days63.50%France30 Apr
13New York Open63.00%USA07 Sep
14World SUP Festival62.00%Spain18 May
15GlaGla61.00%France19 Jan
16ISA Worlds: Marathon58.00%El Salvador25 Nov
17Air France Paddle Festival57.50%Tahiti30 Mar
18ISA Worlds: Surf Sprints55.50%El Salvador24 Nov
19ISA Worlds: Beach Race54.50%El Salvador27 Nov
20Agios Nikolaos (Crete)54.00%Greece22 Jun
21Vendee Gliss53.50%France05 May
22Corfu Emerald Cup51.00%Greece15 Jun
23Molokai-2-Oahu50.00%Hawaii27 Jul
24Aloha Spirit: Ilhabela48.00%Brazil06 Apr
2511 City Tour (five-day)47.50%Netherlands11 Sep
2612 Towers46.00%Australia02 Mar
27Air Tahiti Paddle Royal44.00%Tahiti30 Mar
28Cap de Creus41.50%Spain25 May
29Aloha Spirit: Cabo Frio40.00%Brazil23 Nov
29Pan-Am Games40.00%Peru02 Aug
29Corinth Canal40.00%Greece22 Sep
32Hanohano37.00%USA19 Jan
33Tianfu Greenway (Chengdu)34.00%China21 Sep
33Pornichet Paddle Trophy34.00%France29 Jun
35Prague32.50%Czech Republic13 Jul
36Red Bull Heavy Water32.00%USA18 Oct
37Spanish Championships30.00%Spain28 Sep
37Aussie Titles: Downwinder30.00%Australia19 Oct
37Aussie Titles: Beach Race30.00%Australia21 Oct
37Italian Championships30.00%Italy01 Nov
37ICF Worlds: Junior Marathon30.00%China25 Oct
37Chattajack30.00%USA26 Oct
37ICF Worlds: Junior 200m30.00%China26 Oct
37ICF Worlds: Junior Beach Race30.00%China27 Oct
37ISA Worlds: Junior Beach Race30.00%China27 Nov
37French Titles: Beach Race30.00%France28 Sep
37French Titles: Distance30.00%France29 Sep
37Rincon Beachboy30.00%Puerto Rico06 Apr
49King of the Cut29.50%Australia01 Dec
50Battle of the Coast29.00%Netherlands20 Jul
51Zamami27.50%Japan11 May
52Taiwan Paddle Games27.00%Taiwan04 May
53Doctor24.50%Australia23 Nov
54Maui-2-Molokai20.00%Hawaii29 Jun
55Very Flat Race20.00%France13 Apr
56Head of the Dart20.00%UK14 Apr
57Bay Bridge Paddle20.00%USA01 Jun
58Mini Fat Race20.00%France16 Jun
59Da Hui Race20.00%Hawaii04 Jul
60Vancouver SUP Challenge20.00%Canada10 Aug
6111 City Tour (non-stop)20.00%Netherlands07 Sep
62AST Japan20.00%Japan28 Sep
63Chucktown Showdown20.00%USA28 Sep
64Dana Point Harbor Hoot20.00%USA12 Oct
65Battle of the Bay20.00%USA12 Oct
66Fort Boyard20.00%France12 Oct
67Krumlovsky20.00%Czech Republic12 Oct
68Canal de Savières20.00%France13 Oct
69Presquile Paddle Race20.00%France19 Oct
70Santa Cruz Paddlefest20.00%USA16 Mar
71NZ Technical Champs20.00%New Zealand19 Jan
72NZ Distance Champs20.00%New Zealand13 Apr
73Flying Fish Summer Challenge20.00%USA28 Jul
74Eilat Paddle Festival16.50%Israel09 Feb
75La Mysteriosa (Canary Islands)16.50%Spain30 Mar
7645th Parallel Paddle Fest10.00%USA22 Jun
77Alpine Paradise10.00%Italy21 Sep
78AST Korea10.00%Korea13 Jul
79AST Taiwan10.00%Taiwan25 May
80Bavarian Waters10.00%Germany29 Jun
81Clear Lake Paddlefest10.00%USA27 Jul
82Sieravuori Masters10.00%Finland27 Jul
83Florida Cup10.00%USA13 Apr
84Great Glen Challenge10.00%Scotland21 Sep
85Great Lakes SUP Challenge10.00%USA29 Jun
86Gun Lake Paddle Battle10.00%USA01 Jun
87Hong Kong International10.00%Hong Kong18 Aug
88Jersey Round Island Challenge10.00%Jersey31 Aug
89Key West Classic10.00%USA03 May
90Kyiv Open10.00%Ukraine12 May
91Lagoonapalooza10.00%USA03 Aug
92Lexington Huron Paddlefest10.00%USA27 Jul
93Maspalomas Pro (Canary Islands)10.00%Spain23 Aug
94Midwest Paddle Festival10.00%USA13 Jul
95Na Pali Race10.00%Hawaii10 Aug
96Namur10.00%Belgium27 Apr
97The Night Race10.00%Austria27 Apr
98North Shore Challenge10.00%USA20 Jul
99OluKai Ho10.00%Hawaii09 Jun
100Paddle for Your Cause10.00%USA21 Sep
101Paddle Imua10.00%Hawaii04 May
102Paddle to the Max10.00%USA24 Aug
103Rapi Nui10.00%USA24 Aug
104Santa Monica Pier Paddle10.00%USA22 Jun
105Singapore Ocean Cup10.00%Singapore02 Nov
106Sky an Oar10.00%USA25 Aug
107Sprint and Splash10.00%USA15 Jun
108Stand up for the Lake10.00%USA03 Aug
109Surf to Sound10.00%USA02 Nov
110Up North Classic10.00%USA20 Jul
111Washburn Board Across the Bay10.00%USA27 Jul
112Whatever It Takes on Gun Lake10.00%USA22 Sep
113Yukon River Quest10.00%Canada26 Jun

 
View the SUP Racer World Rankings to see how this list translates into a leaderboard of the world’s top 6000 paddlers.
 

The basic formula for the New Race Index works like this:

The top 20 ranked men and women in the world form an algorithm called the ‘Elite Race Index’ (which is what the old world rankings were primarily based on). The higher an athlete’s ranking, the more weighting they contribute to the Elite Index. If every single one of the top 20 men and top 20 women were competing at hte same event, that race would score 100% on the Elite Race Index. To put that in context: No race scored higher than 65% this year (Bilbao).

The second part of the New Race Index is participation. For every 100 paddlers competing in an event, that race will score an additional 10% on the New Race Index. For example, if 375 paddlers are on the water, that race scores a bonus 30%. This was a new criteria introduced in 2019 to reward events that support and help promote the grassroots of the sport such as GlaGla, Chattajack, Corinth, etc.

There is an additional 10% on offer if an event runs a dedicated junior race, while the last 10% is awarded to an event if it has good media exposure. This is a subjective measure, but it’s usually related to having a good live stream or just doing a good job of bringing more exposure to our sport in general.

In total there are 160 “points” on offer for a race, which means the maximum score on the New Race Index is 160.00% (Bilbao and Paris were the only races that surpassed 100% in 2019).

The winning athlete earning the same amount of points as the Index score. For example, Bruno Hasulyo received 105.00 world ranking points for winning the 105% race in Bilbao. Every finisher in both the elite and open categories receives points based on ‘Paddle Points’ table.

 

INDEX FORMULA
Elite athletes: 0-100%
Amateur athletes: 0-40%
Juniors: 0-10%
Media exposure: 0-10%
Maximum score: 160.00%

 

The “New” Race Index was designed to recognise all events that help support and grow our sport. In the old days there was too much focus on the elite side of our sport, which is an important part of paddling but only if it’s connected to a healthy base. So the New Race Index is designed to recognise the “grassroots” events alongside the elite showcase races.

I might tweak the Index formula in 2020 but either way it will follow the same basic outline as this year.

Note: Some events were given “protected status” in the New Race Index to ensure they ranked. This is mostly the 10%-20% regional events that I wanted to include in the system to help better connect our sport. The major exception is Molokai, which scores “50%” based on its history and prestige.

The other exception was the national titles in Spain, France, Italy and Australia @ 30% and the “Junior World Chamiponship” races from the ISA and ICF (also at 30%). This is no different to what I’ve done over the past few seasons, but it’s worth mentioning for the sake of transparency.

 

‘PADDLE POINTS’

Paddle Points is the base points system that helps power the world rankings. Paddle Points are a way of awarding points to every finisher in a SUP race.

Each paddler receives the ‘Paddle Points’ multiplied by the event’s Race Index percentage. So if an athlete finishes in 4th place (worth 50.00 points) in a race that has an Index Score of 40%, they’ll earn 20.00 world rankings points (50 x 0.40).

In the old days, only the top 50 finishers would receive points. This year I extended ‘Paddle Points’ (formerly known as the ‘Base Points Table’) to a virtual infinity so that all participants can be recognised in the world rankings system. There are unique points on offer right down to 140th position, after which every other finisher receives the same token score.

I came up with these numbers in 2013 (when the original world rankings were created) after studying the ranking systems of seven other major, individual-based sports around the world. I’ve tried to find a balance between rewarding winning performances and recognising participation.

Feel free to use ‘Paddle Points’ to power your own regional paddle league or local club race (for most race series, the Paddle Points system by itself is enough — you probably don’t need to introduce a ‘Race Index’ unless you’re dealing with a major series of different-sized events).

positionbase points
1st100.00
2nd75.00
3rd60.00
4th50.00
5th42.50
6th35.00
7th30.00
8th25.00
9th22.50
10th20.00
1118.00
1216.00
1315.00
1414.00
1513.00
1612.00
1711.00
1810.00
199.00
208.00
217.50
227.00
236.50
246.00
255.50
265.20
274.90
284.60
294.30
304.00
313.80
323.60
333.40
343.20
353.00
362.80
372.60
382.40
392.20
402.00
411.90
421.80
431.70
441.60
451.50
461.40
471.30
481.20
491.10
501.00
510.99
520.98
530.97
540.96
550.95
560.94
570.93
580.92
590.91
600.90
610.89
620.88
630.87
640.86
650.85
660.84
670.83
680.82
690.81
700.80
710.79
720.78
730.77
740.76
750.75
760.74
770.73
780.72
790.71
800.70
810.69
820.68
830.67
840.66
850.65
860.64
870.63
880.62
890.61
900.60
910.59
920.58
930.57
940.56
950.55
960.54
970.53
980.52
990.51
1000.50
1010.49
1020.48
1030.47
1040.46
1050.45
1060.44
1070.43
1080.42
1090.41
1100.40
1110.39
1120.38
1130.37
1140.36
1150.35
1160.34
1170.33
1180.32
1190.31
1200.30
1210.29
1220.28
1230.27
1240.26
1250.25
1260.24
1270.23
1280.22
1290.21
1300.20
1310.19
1320.18
1330.17
1340.16
1350.15
1360.14
1370.13
1380.12
1390.11
1400.10
1410.10
1420.10
1430.10
1440.10
1450.10
1460.10
1470.10
1480.10
1490.10
150+0.10