An ultra adventure: “70% of teams didn’t finish” – Bart de Zwart on the ‘Muskoka River X’ challenge

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

11 Cities: Stage 3 highlights

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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.

“The wind was speaking to me.” How I paddled 38 hours non-stop and set a bizarre new record


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

REPLAY: World’s Longest Live Stream (aka the Jersey Round Island Challenge)

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

Jersey Round Island Challenge: I’m going to attempt the world’s longest live stream tomorrow


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

Paddlecast #002: Bart de Zwart (The Yukon Episode)

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

The Yukon River Quest: 715km of dehydration, hallucinations and days that never end

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

Yukon River Quest: Quick highlights reel

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HIGHLIGHTS REEL 🎬 The Yukon River Quest is three days, three nights and one crazy big adventure. It'll test you physically, it'll try to break you mentally, and it'll leave you feeling a mixture of accomplishment and relief. Add it to your bucket list for next year if you want to push yourself beyond your limits, and sign up for one of the upcoming "ultras" in Jersey, Friesland, Scotland, Ibiza and Thailand in the meantime.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Welcome to The Ultra Paddle League ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Current event schedule: 8x races⁣⁣⁣⁣ Current distance: 1654 kilometres / 1027 miles⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 🌍🌎🌏⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Yukon River Quest ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 715km / 444 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ June 26-29⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Yukon Territory, Canada ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @yukonriverquestmedia⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Jersey Round Island Challenge ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 65km / 40 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ August 31 ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Jersey, British Channel Islands⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @jerseyroundislandchallenge⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 11 City Tour: Non-stop ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 220km / 136 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 7-8⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Friesland, Netherlands ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11citytour ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 11 City Tour: Five-day ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 220km / 136 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 11-15⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Friesland, Netherlands ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11citytour⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Great Glen Challenge⁣⁣: Two-day⁣⁣⁣ 92km / 57 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 21-22⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Scotland ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Great Glen Challenge: Non-stop⁣⁣⁣ 92km / 57 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 22⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Scotland ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ SUP 11 X: Ibiza ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 130km / 80 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ October 23-27⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Ibiza, Spain ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11x⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ SUP 11 X: Thailand ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 120km / 75 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Nov 27 – Dec 1⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Koh Chang, Thailand ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11x⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 🌏🌍🌎⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ We're aiming to add more great "ultra" events to The Ultra Paddle League in the coming weeks. Races such as Muskoka, MR340, AL650, Dordogne, Yukon 1000, Massive Murray, CFC, CRQ, C100 and many more are on our radar. Which other ultras would you like to see us promote? 🤔 #ultrapaddleleague @supyukon

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71 hours later… The Yukon River Quest is complete.

We made it! I’m not sure how, and I’m still not entirely sure why, but I finished the 715km Yukon River Quest alongside half a dozen other stand up paddlers and scores of crazy canoe and kayak competitors.

We had headwind, we had hypothermia, and we had one hell of a long paddle down a river in Canada. The Yukon River Quest is more than just a race, it’s an adventure. It’s a total trip that’ll stretch your body and mind far beyond its comfortable borders.

We’ll have more coverage in the coming days, but for now here are the final times of the SUP finishers.   → READ MORE

715kms down a cold river in Canada: When/where/how to follow the Yukon River Quest

Welcome to the Yukon River Quest aka “Why are we paddling 715km down a cold river in Canada?!”

Over the next three days, Bart de Zwart and myself, along with eight other stand up paddlers and hundreds of canoe/kayak competitors will be attempting to conquer the mighty Yukon River in ultra-remote, north-west Canada. Known as the “Race to the Midnight Sun,” the YRQ is the longest annual paddling race in the world.

Here’s how to follow…   → READ MORE