ULTRA CHAMPIONS: Paul Cox, Joe Mann win the ‘Great Alabama 650’ in record time of 4 days, 17 hours

Atlanta’s Paul Cox and Joe Mann from Kansas City have conquered this year’s wild, crazy, beautiful Great Alabama 650 to defend their event title and set an extraordinary new race record of 4 days, 17 hours, 04 minutes.

As the sun rose over the finish line at historic Fort Morgan on the edge of the Gulf on a windy Thursday morning, Paul & Joe took their final strokes to complete a victory that will take a Herculean effort to better.

These guys led from start to finish in a masterclass performance, opening up a 10-mile gap on day one (Saturday) and spending as much time racing the clock as their rivals. But in a climactic finish to a wild race, the leaders were almost overtaken on the home stretch by two-time solo champ Bobby Johnson and his new tandem partner Rod Price who roared back into late contention.   → READ MORE

Live Leaderboard: How to follow the crazy/beautiful Alabama 650

The 650-mile odyssey through the Alabama River delta has begun. There are thirteen teams attempting this Odyssyean voyage over the next 10 days, including nine solo paddlers.

You can track their progress with the GPS map and live leaderboard as they battle their way towards the ocean. There are no rules on when they have to stop and sleep, so expect a see-sawing leaderboard as teams strategically paddle through the night and edge past rivals. Competitors have 10 days to finish the route but the leaders are expected in around half that.

You can also follow updates on the Great Alabama 650 Facebook and @ultrapaddleleague Insta.

It’s truly a monumental race and one that the word “ultra” doesn’t even do justice…

Welcome to the ‘Great Alabama 650’ — 10 days of beauty and madness in the deep south

When you think of paddling in the United States, you probably see images of Hood River in Oregon, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina or the original home of the sport at Dana Point, California.

Alabama ain’t going to be on your list. But after you find out what’s happening there over the next 10 days, it probably will be. Because tomorrow begins the longest annual paddle race in the world: The Great Alabama 650.   → READ MORE

Ultra Month: 715 kilometres down, 1248 to go…

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

Dutch duo Joep van Bakel and Ella Oesterhelt have won the SUP 11-City Tour

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”!

Niek van der Linde breaks race and world record as bold paddlers complete the epic SUP11-City Tour “Non-Stop” in times of 23-39 hours

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

When, where and how to follow the crazy SUP11-City Tour NON-STOP race this weekend

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

September is Ultra Month: Three weeks, seven races and 2000km of adventure

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

“The Tour de France on water” — What can stand up paddling learn from the world’s biggest race?

“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

More than a race: We’re building the ‘Ultra Paddle League’ to share the world’s longest races, biggest stories and grandest adventures

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

The Ultras…


 
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

REPLAY: Chased by the Midnight Sun WATCH PARTY with Bart de Zwart

[FULL REPLAY] Bart de Zwart and I hosted a special screening of the Yukon River Quest documentary “Chased by the Midnight Sun” today, including some bonus commentary and behind-the-scenes stories. Thanks to everyone who tuned in from around the world to watch — hope it gave you a little quarantine entertainment and motivation!

Video not loading above? Watch directly on Facebook

 

Okay virus, now it’s personal – the ‘Yukon River Quest’ just got cancelled…

Ok, virus, now it’s personal 😑

Canada’s Yukon River Quest, one of the grandest adventures in the world and an event so close to my heart I spent three days paddling it and another three months making a movie about it, has been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). ⁣The mind-boggling, 715km-long race, where finishing times range from 40-70 hours, sleep is rare and wild hallucinations common, was originally scheduled for the final week of June.   → READ MORE

World’s longest paddle race – the “Yukon 1000” – is being postponed til 2021 due to the spread of the coronavirus

The world’s longest paddle race, the mind-boggling Yukon 1000, which was set to take place across eight or nine days in July, has been postponed until 2021 due to fears about spreading the coronavirus in the remote Yukon communities and the health & safety of race participants. The strict measures imposed by the Canadian government and worldwide travel restrictions would have also made the event extremely difficult to run.   → READ MORE

Chased by the Midnight Sun – The Story of the Yukon River Quest (NOW STREAMING)

 

 
What motivates someone to paddle 715km down a long, cold and very lonely river in the Canadian wilderness? And what happens to the body and mind when they do? Follow eight stand up paddlers as they attempt the longest annual paddle race in the world, the Yukon River Quest…

 
 
Enjoying the film? Subscribe to SUP Racer’s YouTube channel “Paddlecast” for weekly podcast updates and insights from your favourite paddlers.

(video not loading? open on YouTube)

Chased by the Midnight Sun: The documentary about Canada’s 715km-long ‘Yukon River Quest’ is finally complete


 
It was 3am Tuesday. I’d been staring at the remote Canadian wilderness for 16 hours straight. I hadn’t slept much, and I was seriously questioning why I was doing it all in the first place. This was the Yukon River Quest, which at 715km is the longest annual paddle race on the planet. It’s a mind-bending experience that pushes the body to its limits and the mind well beyond.

But on that early Tuesday morning, I wasn’t looking at the Yukon up close: I was watching it over and over again on a computer screen. Because for the past three weeks I’ve been doing nothing but working on a documentary about one of the grandest adventures in the world of paddling.

Chased by the Midnight Sun is an hour-long tribute to the splendid beauty and sheer absurdity of the Yukon River Quest. It explores what happens to your body and mind when you paddle three days down a very long, cold and lonely river with little sleep and even less of an idea why you’re doing it to begin with.

Featuring Bart de Zwart, myself and half a dozen very bold stand up paddlers who attempted this crazy mission, the film is now finally complete, and I’d love to share it with you at the online streaming premiere on Saturday 14 March.   → READ MORE

Why the ‘11 Islands’ Tour of Thailand is probably the funnest “race” in the world

“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

‘Chased by the Midnight Sun’ — the story of the Yukon River Quest — premieres early December

TRAILER: "Chased by the Midnight Sun"

"Chased by the Midnight Sun" ☀️The story of the Yukon River Quest — premieres 20 November 🎥 [update: we're now launching on 25 November] I'm very excited to share this documentary about our three-day, 715km odyssey through the Canadian wilderness. Endless days, sleepless nights and mild hallucinations… The full movie drops in a couple of weeks but here's a little teaser trailer about our descent into madness 😵

Posted by SUP Racer on Thursday, 7 November 2019

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…