It’s Friday and that means it’s time to check out the big SUP races happening round the world this weekend.
Here are the highlights for Week 33…
Gorge Paddle Challenge
Hood River, Oregon
As we mentioned in our Gorge Paddle Challenge preview, this year’s race is upping the stakes by offering $18,000 in prize money. That makes it one of the most lucrative races of the year and it’s attracted the paddling talent to back it up.
Jamie Mitchell, Kai Lenny, Slater Trout, Dave Kalama, Candice Appleby, Chase Kosterlitz, Jim Terrell, Jenny Kalmbach, and most of the world’s other top paddlers.
The weekend includes a technical Course Race, which will be an extremely tight race, as well as an 8 mile Downwinder along the Gorge. Connor Baxter is the defending champ, but we’re tipping Jamie Mitchell and Kai Lenny to hit the podium on the men’s side, with Candice Appleby, Talia Gangini and Jenny Kalmbach duking it out on the women’s side of the event.
Aussie SUP Titles
Port Macquarie, New South Wales
The 2012 Aussie SUP Titles are going down this weekend in New South Wales, with a level of competition that would make just about any SUP race director excited.
Half a dozen of the world’s best stand up paddlers will be competing in both the 6km “Technical Course” Race and the 20km “Marathon” Downwinder. The winners will earn a spot on the elite Team Australia and a ticket to the ISA World SUP Championships next February, so the racing should be fairly intense.
SEA Paddle NYC
The event is a well-known charity paddle race held each year in the waters around Manhattan. Entrants have to raise a certain amount through donations just to make it to the start line, and there’s the small feat of completing the 26.5 mile course.
Serious paddlers can choose from either the Elite or Open Races, both of which take on the full 26.5 mile course. For those wanting to take it a little easier and enjoy New York’s skyline, there’s a 4 mile race on offer for the first time this year.
SEA Paddle NYC was created in 2007 and has attracted almost every big name in the sport compete at one time or another.
This year’s hot favourites will be Rob Rojas in the men’s and Annabel Anderson in the women’s. UPDATE: Rob Rojas and Annabel Anderson have just won. Check out the full SEA Paddle NYC results.
Those are the biggest SUP races happening this weekend, but there’s plenty of other stand up paddle action elsewhere, including in the Midwest, Florida, and even Stockholm, Sweden. Just take a look at our complete Stand Up Paddle racing guide to see where your next SUP race is at, and check back after the weekend for all of the major results.