Bermuda’s Biggest SUP Race: The Plastic Tides Devil’s Isle Challenge

With massive success at the inaugural Devil’s Isle Challenge, we’re gearing up and getting excited for Plastic Tides’ second annual Bermuda SUP race for charity next year!

Plans are in motion and dates are set for May 6 and 7 with more info coming soon!

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Start of the race…dark and early.

Here’s what you might have missed at this year’s race…

Day 1: The Circumnavigation

The forty-mile 'round de island' race is like nothing SUP has ever seen. Gorgeous yet grueling, the term “Challenge” can't be emphasized enough. Over half of the solo paddlers threw in the towel confronting choppy conditions that are standard on the island’s treacherous east end. Just finishing the race was a tremendous accomplishment and for those who did, the glory of this novel feat was up for grabs.

In our inaugural year, the bar was set for future record-breakers. New records from this year include: fastest male solo SUP circumnavigation, first-ever female solo SUP circumnavigation, fastest solo circumnavigation of any paddlecraft (surfski), and fastest four-man SUP relay circumnavigation.

Bermudian Chase “Too Good” Toogood took home the male overall crown and coveted “locals’ only” first-place prize that he donated to ocean conservation. His performance earned him the record for fastest solo SUP circumnavigation ever at 10 hours and 52 minutes and cemented his place in history as the third person to ever circumnavigate Bermuda without stopping. Only race organizers and Plastic Tides co-founders Gordon Middleton and Christian Shaw preceded him. 

Middleton and Shaw found inspiration for the race during a daring twenty-hour expedition in 2015. The duo paddled through the night to complete the circuit in an effort to stem the flow of plastic microbeads into Bermuda's pristine waters.

After stepping off a plane in Bermuda for the first time the night before the race, Josette Lata of New Jersey battled sun, salt, and seasickness to become the first woman and fourth paddler to ever complete the solo SUP circumnavigation. She set the bar for women at 11 hours and 56 minutes with her inspiring and tenacious performance.

The America’s Cup Sailing Teams–already on island in preparation for the 2017 finals–jumped at the novel opportunity, bringing with them world-class athleticism.

Olympian and World Champion Kayaker, Anders Gustafsson of Artemis Team Sweden set the record for fastest solo circumnavigation in a paddle craft. Taking on his longest race yet, Anders finished with a blazingly fast time of 5 hours and 25 minutes in his streamlined Swedish flag surfski.

Oracle Team USA came out in force and showed us what was possible with relay circumnavigation, putting up a four-man SUP team and a four-man surfski team.

Anders kept Oracle at bay for three quarters of the race before the endurance of the relay finally caught him…barely. Oracle came in just over five minutes ahead of Anders at 5 hours and 19 minutes.

The Oracle SUP relay set a ridiculously fast record at 7 hours and 25 minutes. We expect the SUP relay race to grow exponentially next year, with a radical new format and strategies never before seen in SUP racing.

Not a bad setting for a SUP race.
Not a bad setting for a SUP race.

Day 2: Devil’s Isle Paddlefest

Day two featured a full day of fun for the whole family with SUP Limbo and the 360 Spin Off as crowd favorites. The intermediate six-mile race took paddlers on a stunning lap around Somerset Island with a host of turtle companions. Nearly 20 kids raced this year and took home lots of cool raffle prizes including a new Werner Vibe. The permaculture workshop taught event-goers about sustainable gardening and avoiding plastics through homegrown and locally sourced food. Best of all, the entire event was completely PLASTIC-FREE.

None of this would have been possible without the tremendous help from so many local individuals and businesses. Bermuda is a beautiful place, but it’s not just the water, wildlife, and reefs–it’s the people. We love you Bermuda!

Proceeds Benefit SUP’r Kids Bermuda 

All proceeds from the race went directly to our newly established SUP’r Kids Bermuda program, providing free paddling opportunities to Bermuda’s youth.
The program gets kids that wouldn’t otherwise have this opportunity out on the water, connecting them directly with nature. Just over a week after the race, we hosted our first free paddleboard session. Ten students from Dalton E. Tucker Primary joined us out on the water. They learned how to paddle, work as a team and got to see over thirty turtles during the hour-long session.
We look forward to many sessions to come and with the support of local volunteers, we know that this program has a bright future. Check out this brief article from Bernews for more photos and reach out if you wish to be involved!  
We aim to get every child in Bermuda on a paddleboard because we know that those who play in the ocean are driven to protect it.

Related

More information about this year’s inaugural Devil’s Isle Challenge.

More Plastic Tides