With Stand Up Paddle boarding experiencing exponential growth in recent years it’s hard to keep up with what’s happening in the sport. Here are 5 things you should know about SUP!
SUP has 3 disciplines
SUP consists of 3 of disciplines – flat water paddling, open water/ ocean paddling and SUP surfing. Within these disciplines there are different classes which are dependent on the board length and racing distance. Common event categories include flat water long course (6 km), flat water short course (1.5 km), and ocean downwind race (10 km) and SUP surfing. SUP racing boards range in size with divisions over 14ft, under 14ft, 12”6ft and under 12ft. This diversity in equipment allows paddlers to tackle the unique conditions offered by each discipline. You can be sure there’s a SUP discipline that suits your skills.
106 SUPing countries!
The accessibility of stand up paddle boarding, has enabled surfing’s international body – the International Surfing Association (ISA) to develop the sport in parts of the world not commonly associated with SUP and surf. In 2019 the ISA welcomed two new member nations the Oman Surfing Association and the Mongolian Surfing Federation. These inclusions bring the ISA’s total membership to 106 nations around the world! SUP has brought the joy of surfing to many landlocked countries. The Mongolian Surfing federation’s president said the organisation can now develop surf disciplines that are practised on flat water, such as stand up paddle boarding. In addition they plan to organise indoor surfing competitions using wave pool technology and set up a network of surfing clubs.
If you’re a surfer or stand up paddle board enthusiast you should know about the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddle board race. Its paddle boarding’s most prestigious race, if you’re eager to learn more about the sport of SUP start with this race. The gruelling 42 km race takes between 4 and 7 hours to complete and crosses one of the world’s most treacherous bodies of water the Ka’iwi Channel. The Ka’iwi Channel plunges to a depth of 701 meters between the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai and Oahu. Ka’iwi translates to bones so the channel is quite literally called ‘Bones Channel’.
Garrett Macamara and Mike Takahashi created the race with the idea originally from champion paddler Dawson Jones. The first M2O was successfully run in 1997. All three founders are still heavily involved in the race; Takahashi is the race director, Jones coordinates race safety and Macamara manages the finish line. The race is hugely popular and sells out yearly with paddlers from around the world competing in solo and team divisions. A successful crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the sport. Learn more here.
SUP has a Pro tour. It may not be as well-known as the World Surf League (WSL) for traditional surfing but the Association of PaddleSurf Professionals (APP) is a global operation. The APP runs flagship events in major cities around the world, including San Francisco, London and New York! The APP World Tour was founded and developed by the Waterman League, an event management and media production company. The APP has been crowning men’s and women’s professional world champions for both SUP racing and SUP surfing since 2010. The APP World Tour is recognised and sanctioned by the ISA, as the official professional world championship tour for the sport of Stand up Paddle boarding. The most well-known event on the APP calendar is event 6 the Red Bull Heavy Water. Learn more here.
SUP the Antarctic
Add this one to your bucket-list! Believe it or not you can explore one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses on a stand up paddle board. SUP between the icebergs admiring the wildlife that call Antarctica home, watch seals and penguins lounge about on the ice. Meghan Roberts from Mountain Surf Paddle Sports described her journey as “one of the most intimate ways to explore Antarctica, on a SUP board, you get the opportunity to maneuver to different places than on a ship or zodiac. You don’t have a motor or a ton of people to cause the wildlife to be alert.” Unfortunately the main barrier to this extraordinary experience is the cost, Antarctic adventures are extremely expensive, and trips start around the ten thousand dollar mark.
Our Byron Bay Tours are running on Brunswick River, just 15 minutes away from Byron Bay. The river is surrounded by the Brunswick Heads Nature reserve which lies on the traditional land of the Bundjalung people. The reserve contains a littoral rainforest which supports a diverse range of wildlife. To book your tour click here or give us a call at 02 6680-9443.