Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, has exploded in popularity over the last decade. It is no longer just a casual recreational activity but has evolved into a diverse sport with numerous events tailored for paddlers of all skill levels and interests. From long-distance races to yoga sessions on water to family-friendly festivities, there is an impressive range of SUP events worldwide. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most exciting paddle boarding locations and events you should consider participating in or attending in 2023.
The Carolina Cup is one of the premier international stand up paddleboard events held annually at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, USA. Entering its 13th year, the event attracts top athletes from around the world while catering to paddlers of all levels. The Carolina Cup features several races: The Graveyard Elite Race 13.2 miles, The Money Island Open (6.5 miles), The Harbor Island Recreational 3.5 miles, and Kids SUP race (.5-mile). This five-day event also includes clinics for beginner and intermediate paddlers led by world-class instructors.
Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships (M20)
A true test of endurance and mental fortitude for elite stand up paddleboarders, Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships (M20) stands as one of the worlds most challenging SUP race events. Held annually in Hawaii since 1997, M20 sees participants embark on a grueling 32-mile open-ocean channel crossing from Molokai’s west end down to Waik?k? on Oahu’s south shore. The event attracts the world’s top paddlers, who brave strong currents, massive swells, and powerful winds. A dream event for any serious SUP athlete, M20 is unparalleled in its level of difficulty and adrenaline-pumping action.
Pacific Paddle Games
Hosted at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California, Pacific Paddle Games (PPG) is an elite-level SUP racing event designed to showcase athleticism and tactics on the water. The racecourse features a challenging mix of technical turns, buoy racing, and surf elements that give participants a chance to test their skills against the best in the sport. PPG is unique for its progressive format where athletes have multiple opportunities to earn points on different courses over two days. This family-friendly festival also offers recreational races and activities like clinics and product demos for novice paddlers looking to improve their skills or simply have fun on the water.
Paris SUP Open
The Paris SUP Open combines long-distance stand up paddle boarding with the picturesque backdrop of iconic sites along the Seine River. This exciting international race takes place during France’s national river festival called Nautic Fair- Salon Nautique International de Paris at Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center. Participants race through famous Parisian landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum while navigating under historic bridges along a 14-kilometer course designed for intermediate to advanced paddlers. The cold weather and strong currents make it an event only for serious athletes seeking bragging rights among their peers.
For those who seek warmth and sunshine alongside competitive stand up paddleboarding action, look no further than the Barbados Pro-Am event held annually at Drill Hall Beach near Bridgetown. This exciting competition boasts some of the most intense racing conditions as athletes face unpredictable waves, reefs, and offshore winds. The event is part of the APP World Tour Championship series and draws top talent from around the world. It also serves as a unique opportunity for SUP surfers to showcase their abilities against the backdrop of stunning beaches and crystal-clear Caribbean waters.
ISA (International Surfing Association) World SUP and Paddleboard Championships
The ultimate event in international stand up paddleboarding competition is the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships. This prestigious event attracts athletes from all corners of the globe vying for individual titles in categories such as distance, technical racing, sprint racing, team relay races, yoga on boards, and adaptive paddling for those with disabilities. The event culminates in a battle between nations to claim victory over others. The pride that comes along with being crowned world champion provides immense motivation to all participants striving towards this impressive goal.
Stand up paddleboarding continues to grow in popularity worldwide, providing individuals of all skill levels with unique challenges and events to enjoy. Whether you are an elite athlete seeking intense competition or just someone looking for an exciting activity to indulge in while enjoying beautiful locales, there are countless opportunities available for prospective SUP enthusiasts in 2023. Mark your calendars now with these incredible events that showcase the camaraderie of SUP lovers united by their passion for adventure on water.