I found an old bag full of SUP racing event t-shirts from over the years, and I thought it might be fun to take a little trip down memory lane and share some stories from the pages of paddling history.
Live… Tonight… (and hopefully tonight only because I’m still having trouble breathing after putting on a dozen t-shirts at once) I present you with: T-shirt Storytime
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In news that will excite those with a passion for paddling way too far, the classic SUP11 City Tour is set to become an even grander event in 2022 and beyond. The International Canoe Federation (ICF) and 11 Cities have agreed to collaborate and form a big double-header next September (or SUPtember), with the traditional, five-day version of the 11 Cities in the Dutch province of Friesland running back-to-back with the 2022 ICF Worlds in Gdynia, Poland.
The beloved ultra will become an officially sanctioned ICF event in 2022 but the longer-term goal is even more exciting: the potential for an “Ultra-Marathon World Championship” event starting in 2023. → READ MORE
Niek van der Linde paddled 23 hours through the fields of Friesland, Emmanuelle Marcon flowed down the Dordogne river in France for 11 hours, and somewhere in the remote wetlands of upstate New York, canoe teams completed their own 145km quest in times between 12 and 22 hours.
September is “Ultra Month” with seven adventures in four countries totalling almost 2,000 kilometres across the span of just 22 days. Four “races” were completed last week, so we’ve already paddled 715km yet still have a mind-boggling 1,248km to go (or, for our American friends that refuse to adopt metric: “444 miles down, 775 to go…”). → READ MORE
In brief: After five days and more than 200 kilometres of paddling through the fields of Friesland, Joep van Bakel has claimed the 2021 SUP 11-City Tour to become the first men’s champion from the host nation since Bart de Zwart in 2014. Joep was kept honest all week by the dark horse Belgian Kjell de Bruyn who finished just two minutes behind after nearly 22 hours total paddling. The result completes Joep’s rise through the 11 Cities ranks after finishing fourth in 2018 and runner-up in both 2019 and 2020.
Ella Oesterhelt defended her comfortable lead over Germany’s Tanja Ecker on the final stage Sunday – the 27km time trial from Dokkum back to Leeuwarden – to claim her maiden 11 Cities crown and join a long line of Dutchwomen who have saluted at this event, including race founder Anne-Marie Reichmann, Janneke Smits and Petronella van Malsen.
Click here for the full podiums and check sup11citytour.com later today for the final times of every finisher. Congratulations to everyone who conquered the “Mt. Everest of SUP”!
It was a bright, sunny morning in the rural Dutch province of Friesland. The locals were sitting at cafes on the banks of the canal sipping coffees and enjoying the last days of summer. The flag of Friesland – a province that considers itself more of a nation – fluttered gently in the breeze. And as is the norm in the Netherlands, bikes outnumbered cars on the road by four to one. But down on the water, something rather extraordinary was happening.
Coming around the final corner, passing under the final bridge and taking the final few paddle strokes, Niek van der Linde crossed the finish line in the host city of Leeuwarden to complete one of the most incredible performances our sport has ever seen. After completing an entire lap around Friesland – along seemingly-endless canals, through quaint villages and across pancake-flat farmlands – Niek finished the 204km “Non-Stop” edition of the famous SUP11-City Tour in an utterly extraordinary time of 23 hours, 32 minutes and 16 seconds.
Simply finishing this quest is an achievement, doing so in less than a day is mind-boggling… → READ MORE
Welcome to Ultra Month. Over the next 18 days we’ll see close to 1000km paddled across six adventures in five countries, and the first of those is arguably the toughest.
The non-stop edition of the famous SUP11-City Tour is happening in the Dutch province of Friesland this weekend, 4-5 September. And it’s tough. It’s really, really tough. Competitors paddle all day, all night and all day again. Many won’t make it to the finish, and those who do will usually have hands covered in blisters and feet so swollen they can hardly walk. → READ MORE
The Ultras. There’s something about these immense challenges that piques the interest of so many paddlers in equal parts excitement and nerves. A bootcamp for both the body and mind, an ultra-marathon paddle “race” (adventure would be a more fitting term) is an exercise in physical strength and mental stamina that will beat you down, build you back up and probably leave you changed as a person… → READ MORE
“Remove from the heat, crumble in the cheese and stir until melted. Add the thyme then transfer to a large bowl. Allow to cool a little, and then stir in the egg yolks and season.”
I was listening to a recipe for blue cheese soufflé with pommes frites, and I was also watching a climactic stage of the biggest race in the world. Bizarrely, this odd combination made perfect sense. Even more bizarre, I could see the future of stand up paddling coming to a boil as the Eurosport commentator ran through his daily recipe during stage 17 of this year’s Tour de France. → READ MORE
It was around the 560-kilometre mark of the Yukon River Quest that it finally clicked. Tired, dazed, and with every part of my body screaming out to stop after more than 50 hours of paddling, it hit me like a parting of the seas: The reason why we love these ultra-marathon events (or “ultras”) is because they’re so much more than just a race.
This wasn’t entirely news to me — I’d already paddled the 220km 11-City Tour several times and submerged myself in the unique camaraderie of the ultra paddling community — but I hadn’t been able to put it into words before. Perhaps it was the morning mist, its ghostly silhouettes gently rising from the river as the midnight sun rose above the treetops and blessed the valley with its warmth, a moose and its calf roaming the distant shore in this wild, remote and incredibly beautiful corner of Canada.
Or maybe I was just hallucinating again.
Either way, that was the moment I realised my passion, my purpose, my “reason why” is to help promote these incredible paddling adventures known as the ultras and help grow this amazing community of crazy, ultra-endurance paddlers. → READ MORE
There’s something special about ultra-marathon paddling… There’s some kind of feeling you can only get after six or seven hours on the water. Some sort of spirit you can’t generate without a bit of suffering. Tales that can only be told after you’ve paddled beyond the horizon and past your limits… → READ MORE
Welcome back to the SUP Racer Daily Show — episode #278 features the European Summer of SUP and the Aussie *Winter* …plus Casper, Kyiv and the surprising return of a former champ. If you’ve got any questions leave a comment below, and tune in next week for more live updates from the world of paddling ✌
This year’s SUP11-City Tour was extra-special for a couple of reasons. For one, it very nearly didn’t happen. An event as logistically-complex as this (10 days across half a dozen locations) was always going to be prone to cancellation in the year of Covid. But organisers somehow pulled it off to ensure one of the longest-running (and longest, period) races in the sport continued its 12-year history.
The other reason was the media output. → READ MORE
Click here for the FULL TIMES from all days, all divisions, all participants
Tune in on the SUP11-City Tour Facebook from 9am local time Sunday for the FINAL live show… and follow @sup11citytour on Insta for round-the-clock Stories
Full results on Race Splitter
Click here to watch the full video recap of stage three
Follow @sup11citytour on Instagram for behind-the-scenes Stories