10 can't-miss SUP events

By Tara Panrucker

Stand-up paddleboarding is no longer a strange new water sport for active Canadians.

A rare sight only a few years ago, paddlers can be seen exploring lakes, rivers and oceans across B.C. and beyond.

Competitive SUP races are a growing phenomenon, as well.

If you've been bitten by the paddling bug, look no further. Following is a list of upcoming B.C. events scheduled for what promises to be an exciting season.

'Round Bowen Challenge, Howe Sound, Bowen Island

Save the Date: Saturday, June 25

The Gist: The 16th Annual ‘Round Bowen Challenge began strictly for kayaking, but now includes eight SUP classes. Each class requires a minimum of five registrants entered in order to go ahead. Participants may race solo or as part of a relay team. A dock party, awards ceremony, and salmon barbecue take place end of day in the Bowen Island Marina.

Contact: www.bowenislandkayaking.com 

West Kootenay SUP Race, Castlegar

Save the Date: Friday-Sunday, July 1-3

The Gist: In its fifth year, events take place over three days with a focus on paddling on moving water, starting with River SUP clinics Friday. Registration for the weekend includes prizes, dinner, camping (within walking distance from the Slocan River), and T-shirt. Awards take place Sunday afternoon after the one-kilometre Slocan River SUP cross.

Contact:  www.endlessadventure.ca

Board the Fjord, Deep Cove and Indian Arm

Save the Date: Sunday, Sept. 25

The Gist: Open to all levels of competitors, paddlers will navigate around seven islands in North America’s southern-most fjord. Racing takes place in Deep Cove and Indian Arm, with a 7-km and 14-km race. Prizes and awards presented at the end of the day’s festivities. 

Contact:  www.boardthefjord.com

Newcastle SUP Race, Nanaimo

Save the Date: Saturday, Aug. 27

The Gist: This race is limited to 25 paddlers per race, so register early. Two races around two islands (4 and 11 km) start and finish near the campground on Newcastle Island. Food and beverages will be available, with an awards ceremony taking place after each event.

Contact: www.viendurance.net/newcastle-sup-race/

Rattlesnake Island Paddleboard Race, Peachland  

Save the Date: Saturday, Aug. 27

The Gist:  The first Rattlesnake Island SUP Classic took place in 2013. The main race totals 7 km, crossing Okanagan Lake from Peachland, around Rattlesnake Island and back. Younger or novice participants have a 2.5-km race option. Competitors meet at Beach Avenue in Peachland to register for this one day event, which includes pre-race snacks and lunch. Unpredictable wind and wave conditions in the area add to the challenge.

Contact:  www.rattlesnakerace.com 

Tofino Paddle Surf SUP Invitational, Tofino

Save the Date: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 21-23

The Gist: In its third year, there were eighty-five serious SUP competitors last year and fifty surf competitors. Awards banquet to be held after races. This event is the authorized Canadian Surf Association’s qualifying event for representation at the International Surfing Association World SUP games.

Contact:  www.tofinopaddlesurf.com

Vancouver SUP Challenge, Vancouver

Save the Date: Saturday, Aug. 13

The Gist:  Vancouver’s biggest SUP race takes place at the Jericho Sailing Centre in Vancouver. There is a 5, 3, and 2-km course, with a new race added this year for youths 16 and under. Travis Grant and Shannon Bell participated in last year’s event, so the chance of meeting a world class athlete is high. A three-person relay wraps up the fun before a barbecue, music and awards presentation complete the day.

Contact:  www.supchallenge.ca

SixPack SUP Race Series, Vancouver Island

Save the Date: Check website for race dates, first event takes place Saturday, April 30

The Gist: Vancouver Island hosts this fun race series with events for all levels of paddlers. Races begin from various locations April to September. Draw prizes are included.

Contact:  http://sixpackraceseries.wix.com/sixpacksup 

Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival, Vernon 

Save the Date: Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 3-4

The Gist: The seventh annual Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival is lauded as the biggest (and most fun) in Canada on its website. Scheduled events are family friendly, for all ages and skill sets. Sunset Dinner on the beach will be held in conjunction with a rewards ceremony and live music. Cash and other prizes will also be presented after Sunday’s events.

Contact: www.kalamalkaclassic.com

Sundog Semiahmoo SUP Classic, White Rock

Save the Date: Friday-Sunday, July 29-31

The Gist: The race is part of the Annual White Rock Sea Festival taking place over the BC Day long weekend. Three SUP races and an all-day SUP Expo will feature demos from a variety of board companies. Family activities and food vendors will add to the fun, along with a fireworks display, live music, and parade.

Contact:  www.whiterockseafestival.com/events/stand-up-paddle-board-classic

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