“Chris, do you want a beer?”
“Yeah, why not. It’s bloody hot out here.”
I was holding onto a rope and surfing behind the media boat when the race organiser threw me a beer. That’s an instant DQ in just about any other event (for so many reasons), yet it seemed oddly appropriate here. Because while I was technically in the middle of a “race,” the ‘SUP 11 Islands Tour’ is so much more than just a race that the term hardly applies. → READ MORE
The Yukon River Quest — aka “715km of dehydration, hallucinations and days that never end” — is a mind-bogglingly crazy
race experience that pushes paddlers beyond their known limits both physically and mentally.
So we decided to make a movie about it.
After I (and half a dozen other
crazy adventurous stand up paddlers) spent three days paddling down 715 kilometres of a very long, very cold and very lonely river, we’ve put together an hour of interviews, insights, drone footage and delirious GoPro monologues to create ‘Chased by the Midnight Sun’ — the story of our “descent into madness.”
The film premieres on the
20th 25th of November soon right here on SUP Racer. I’m still going through the editing process, which has now officially taken longer than the race itself. Probably early to mid December. Hope you enjoy this little trailer while you wait…
The world’s longest annual paddle race, the Yukon River Quest in Canada, has sold out in what is surely a record time.
Registration for the 2020 edition, which isn’t happening til next June, opened up last night and immediately attracted a flood of entries. There were about 80 teams signed up within the first hour and 99 after two, with international paddlers staying up late or waking up very early to secure their spot.
The 125th and final team was registered around the 12 hour mark, which is almost twice as fast as last year’s registration blitz when the YRQ filled up in just over 24 hours. → READ MORE
Public Service Announcement: Entries for the 2020 Yukon River Quest open this Friday (1 November) and are expected to fill up within hours.
So even though we’re still eight months from race day, if you’re considering entering this epic adventure then get ready to throw your hat in the ring within the next
72 48 24 hours.
UPDATE: ENTRIES OPEN → READ MORE
Apparently there’s a 50-year-old Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whiskey that sells for £30,000 a bottle. We might have to increase the budget of the Great Glen Challenge next year, because I’m pretty sure that drink was the only thing we could have offered Nessie to calm her down on Sunday.
The Loch Ness Monster was angry this year, and the mythical creature vented her fury on 70 stand up paddlers that dared enter her watery domain in the highlands of Scotland. What was forecast to be a 92km (57 mile) paddle through calm, beautiful countryside turned into a brutal test of strength, stamina and sheer grit as Nessie whipped up howling headwinds on her home waters. → READ MORE
Just when you thought the SUP racing season might be winding down, BANG!
It looks like the next two days will be the biggest weekend of the year as six international events take centre stage. From Scotland to Sardinia and Osaka to the Alps, let’s call it “Super Saturday” in September (even though one of these events insists on running Sunday).
Here’s what to keep an eye on. → READ MORE
For me, the “X” in this race represents the unknown; you never know what you’re going to get at Muskoka. And that was truer than ever this year, when rough weather forced organisers to cut this “ultra” short after 70% of competitors had already been forced to retire.
Muskoka is not only a paddling event, it’s a genuine adventure race. You have to navigate a labyrinth of lakes, rivers and portages using nothing but a paper map and a compass. There are three options: the 58km “Sprint”, 130km Classic and the 223km, ultra-endurance ‘Coureur des Bois’. I chose the 223. → READ MORE
In brief: Bruno Hasuluyo has claimed his third SUP 11-City Tour title and Lena Ribeiro her second after an epic week of paddling around the Dutch province of Friesland. → READ MORE
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Bruno Hasulyo has tightened his grip on a third SUP 11 City Tour title after once again breaking the field on the canals of Friesland. Bruno won today’s third stage by almost 10 minutes to extend his lead over the chase pack. The difference now stands at nearly half an hour–the rest of the boys are fighting for second place.
Conditions were near perfect on Friday for the “split-stage” — the day started with a 12km time trial (staggered starts, no drafting) and finished with a 30km group stage.
Lena Ribeiro from Brazil finally turned the arm-wrestle with Petronella van Malsen to her favour by gaining a minute in the TT, but the Mistral duo once again crossed the line together. It’ll all come down to Sunday’s 27km time trial.
Before then, we’ve got a 42km stage from Franeker to Dokkum on Saturday morning. Follow the race with the live GPS tracking map and regular updates on @sup11citytour Instagram.
My hands were actually OK this time. They’re usually the first thing to go. The blisters, the swelling, the cramps. But this year they escaped relatively unscathed even with a pair of cheap gloves that seemed to do more harm than good when wet.
My feet weren’t so lucky.
It was about 20 hours into the race when I realised an uncomfortable fact: I couldn’t stand up anymore. That’s a problem when you’re a stand up paddler. → READ MORE
It was fun to be back on the live stream boat! Here’s a replay of our attempt at the “World’s Longest Live Stream” during the Jersey Round Island Challenge presented by Gill Marine on Saturday.
The race was certainly an adventure, with wild winds and surging swells creating a chaotic concoction of ocean currents that forced organisers into a “Plan B” course. That became “Plan C” during the race after the coastguard shut down part of the course due to extreme conditions. → READ MORE
I’ve just arrived on the island of Jersey (old Jersey, not New Jersey) for the next stop of The Ultra Paddle League, and we’ve decided to try something rather special.
The “Jersey Round Island Challenge” presented by Gill Marine is a classic charity event that offers a unique ocean challenge. The traditional course would be about 55kms (34 miles) and includes some of the largest tidal currents in the world that make “navigation” just as important as strength & stamina.
But… it’s not going to be a round-island race this year. → READ MORE
I’m very excited to share the second episode of Paddlecast with you today because it features my new favourite race – The Yukon River Quest – as well as a guy I’ve got the world of respect for, Bart de Zwart.
I sat down with the four-time Yukon champion and king of endurance paddling in Canada six weeks ago to record this conversation. We go into great detail (sometimes too much detail) to describe the physical highs and mental lows of this insane, 715km race. → READ MORE
It’s been more than a week since we finished the Yukon River Quest and I still can’t feel one of my big toes. Apparently nerve damage is a standard result of paddling three days, three nights and 715km (444 miles) down a long, cold river in Canada. My toe should “thaw out” in a month or two, but I’ll have to wait another 12 months to experience the Yukon again.
And that’s the craziest thing about this race: despite going through a torturous test of sleep deprivation, dehydration and hallucinations, I have an overwhelming desire to do it all again. There’s something addictive about these ultras.
The Yukon River Quest is so much more than just a race, and therein lies its appeal. It’s part-race, part-adventure, part-journey into your own mind and beyond. It’s both marvelous and miserable, beautiful and boring, fascinating and fucking difficult. And it all takes place in one of the most breathtakingly-remote parts of the world you’re ever likely to visit. → READ MORE