Well so much for the off season. Just like that, the SUP racing calendar has fired back up, with this weekend playing host to three great races across three different time zones.
From San Diego to North Carolina to the Caribbean to France, Saturday is going to be a busy one. Here’s a quick preview of each race, while you can check out the full season ahead on the new look Rogue Race Calendar.
20th Annual Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge
The ‘Hanohano’ in San Diego is one of the true classics. Held in Mission Bay, the event has become arguably the single largest race in California (at least in terms of participation). We’ve seen close to 400 paddlers out there in previous years, and there are already over 300 pre-registered a few days out from race day.
Based on those big numbers it should be another great year for the Hanohano. At the pointy end of the field, look out for Danny Ching (who’s doing a clinic and I assume will be racing), as well as Chase Kosterlitz on his shiny new JP Australia race board. Also keep an eye out for Jonas Letieri, one of the most inspiring guys you’ll ever meet.
The Hanohano is definitely one of the great community races that helps fuel the grassroots base of the sport — just check out this video from last year and you’ll see what I mean by “big numbers”…
…while this famous shot from the Quickblade crew gives another great angle:
8th Annual Cold Stroke Classic
On the other side of the U.S. we’ve got another long-running and much loved staple of the winter season: The Cold Stroke Classic. Held in Wrightsville Beach (home to the Carolina Cup and Surf To Sound), the Cold Stroke is now in its 8th year, which surely pegs this as one of the oldest races going round.
As the name suggests, this isn’t your cruisy warm-water affair. The forecast for Saturday is 6°C (43°F) and rain. Better bust out the booties and long johns for this one.
3rd Annual ‘GlaGla’ Race
While the Cold Stroke Classic is known for being cold, it’s got nothing on the GlaGla race over in France. Held on an alpine lake near the town of Annecy, the GlaGla race saw competitors paddling through snow last year. The weather gods have spared the below-freezing temperatures this year, but it still looks set to be a chilly day on the water.
And just like the Cold Stroke, the GlaGla organisers have embraced the wintery theme. Indeed, the word ‘glagla’ describes the sound your teeth make when they’re chattering in the cold (if your teeth are French, that is).
Doesn’t hurt that you get to paddle around an absolutely beautiful lake. The GlaGla SUP race is part of the Alpine Lakes Tour, which, as the name suggests, takes in some fairly spectacular mountain scenery.
But it’s not all cold water paddling this weekend. Down in the Caribbean we’ve got the annual Painkiller Cup, with its signature 14 mile team relay race between two paradisaical corners of the British Virgin Islands. Just look at the colour of that water… definitely one for the bucket list.
Here’s a great vid from last year, which highlights just how much warmer the Painkiller Cup competitors will be compared with the other three events on offer.