SUP’s new big-league circuit announces its 50-race season schedule and is headed to Tahiti!

The Paddle League has revealed "stage two" of its plan to help unify the sport, bringing together 41 regional events across 25 nations in a bid to provide a more stable foundation for the future of stand up paddling.

After announcing the 9 major stops of The Paddle League World Tour in January, which includes big international events such as the Carolina Cup and Gorge Paddle Challenge, the addition of these 41 "Regionals" completes the Season 2018 race schedule, bringing the total number of independent events in The League to 50.

The Paddle League Regionals include a huge variety of locations – from France to Finland, Key West to Kiev and Brazil to the Basque Country – plus a smorgasbord of unique formats: downwinders, beach races, marathons, river races and plenty of flat water, entry-level events for paddlers of all levels.

There are familiar names such as Maui2Molokai in Hawaii, the Key West Classic in Florida and San Francisco's Battle of the Bay, as well as new frontiers like river racing in the Czech Republic (Krumlovsky Vodacky), the Kiev Open in Ukraine and other new stops from Singapore to South Africa and Taiwan to Thailand.

The Paddle League has also partnered with the established authority in European paddling, the EuroTour, to help further unify the sport. Each stop of the EuroTour will award athletes with world ranking points as the sport's two biggest tours join forces in a new era for SUP.

One of the biggest events in the world, the 1000+ participant Aloha Spirit Festival in Brazil, becomes a post-season regional major as The Paddle League expands to support one of the largest and most passionate paddling nations.

Charity events such as Paddle Imua, Jersey's Round Island Challenge and the massive SEA Paddle NYC are all part of The Paddle League platform as well, with the aim of supporting the events that support the sport.

The GlaGla Race in Lake Annecy, France was the first stop of the 2018 Paddle League season. Photo: @paddleleague / @alpinelakestour

"The core aim of The Paddle League is to help unify the sport and reconnect with those awesome grassroots events that really give stand up paddling its base," says Tour Commissioner and ageless athlete Kelly Margetts. "We want to support and help elevate these classic regional races. We're pumped that so many great events want to be involved in this project."

Another goal of The League is to make life easier for traveling athletes by attaching a regional stop to each of the majors, for example with the Gorge Paddle Challenge in Oregon being complimented by the Vancouver SUP Challenge over the border in Canada, and the Waterman Tour Tahiti event falling one week after the Air France Paddle Festival.

The 50 events, which will likely grow in the coming weeks as more regional races are finalized, will all contribute points to the new interlinked Paddle League World Rankings, the new name/new home of the original SUP Racer World Rankings.

While the big points and the key arc of The Paddle League storyline will focus on the 9x major World Tour showdowns, the 41x Regionals will play a key role in shaping the extended rankings and building a broader platform for the sport.

Rankings mastermind Christopher Parker told us The Paddle League is simply a logical next step for the original system.

"The world rankings were created half a decade ago not just because I love analysing the stats, but because we all wanted to help bring some structure to stand up paddling. I look at the world rankings as the common thread that connects all the existing pieces of the puzzle — all the great independent events that are the true pillars of our sport. And The Paddle League is the next step, so I'm pretty stoked the original system has evolved to where it is today: the basis of a legit world tour."

Points have been fairly evenly spread between three key regions: the U.S., Europe and the "Rest of the World," with the goal of making The Paddle League World Rankings as open and accessible to all paddlers no matter what their level or location.

The 25 nations participating in The Paddle League this year are Australia, the Basque Country, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Tahiti, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. and Ukraine.

The Paddle League is headed to Tahiti this weekend for the Air France Paddle festival, a 24km elite race kicking off at 11:30am Saturday, April 7. You can watch it LIVE on Facebook @The Paddle League. Photo: @timmckenna

The Regionals will run all year long from the GlaGla Race in January to the King of the Cut in December, while the major World Tour stops focus on the six-month international season from April til October. The highlight of the Northern summer is expected, as always, to be the 10-week EuroTour from May to July.

The Paddle League will be crowning its world champions in October (or earlier if the title race is decided before the final stops), while the 5x races in the "post-season" will count towards Season 2019.

Following the pre-season campaign that featured regional stops in Australia, New Zealand, France and California, The Paddle League World Tour begins with this weekend's major Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti, which will be streamed on The Paddle League via Facebook Live from 11am local time on Saturday April 7.

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The Paddle League: Season 2018
# Date Event Location Region Rating Points
1 January 21 GlaGla Race France Europe 4-star 40
2 February 17 Sydney SUP Festival Sydney South Pacific 2-star 20
3 March 3 12 Towers Queensland South Pacific 4 star 40
4 March 23-24 Villefranche Paddle Festival France Europe 2-star 20
5 March 23-24 Hoe Toa Paddle Festival New Zealand South Pacific 2-star 20
6 March 24 Santa Cruz Paddlefest California North America 3-star 30
7 April 7 Air France Paddle Festival Tahiti South Pacific Major 100
8 April 7 Thailand SUP Festival Thailand Asia 1-star 10
9 April 14 Waterman Tour Tahiti: Paparā Tahiti South Pacific 4-star 40
10 April 21 Quiksilver Waterman Carolina Cup North Carolina North America Major 100
11 April 28 OluKai Ho’olaule’a Hawaii Hawaii Specialty 60
12 April 28 Key West Classic Florida North America 3-star 30
13 April 28 Florence Paddle Games Italy Europe 1-star 10
14 May 5 Paddle Imua Hawaii North America 2-star 20
15 May 5 Taiwan Paddle Games Taiwan Asia 1-star 10
16 May 6 EuroTour: Battle of the Coast Netherlands Europe 2-star 20
17 May 12 Kerama Blue Cup in Zamami Japan Asia Major 100
18 May 12 EuroTour: Namur Belgium Europe 2-star 20
19 May 19 EuroTour: Vendee Gliss France Europe 3-star 30
20 May 19 Treasure Island Pirate Paddle New Jersey North America 1-star 10
21 May 26 EuroTour: Crete Greece Europe 3-star 30
22 June 2 EuroTour: Alicante Spain Europe 4-star 40
23 June 2 Bay Bridge Paddle Maryland North America 3-star 30
24 June 2 EuroTour: San Sebastian Basque Country Europe 4-star 40
25 June 9 Battle on the Blueway Florida North America 1-star 10
26 June 16 Iberdrola Bilbao Paddle Challenge (EuroTour) Basque Country Europe Major 100
27 June 16 Return to Goat Island Maryland North America 1-star 10
28 June 23 Hossegor Paddle Games (EuroTour) France Europe Major 100
29 June 24 Stand Up for the Hooch Georgia North America 1-star 10
30 June 30 Mercedes-Benz SUP World Cup (EuroTour) Germany Europe Major 100
31 July 7 EuroTour: Finland Finland Europe 2-star 20
32 July 14 Maui2Molokai Hawaii Hawaii 4-star 40
33 July 14 Canadian Downwind Championships Canada North America 1-star 10
34 July 14 Jersey Round Island Challenge Jersey Europe 1-star 10
35 July 15 The Kiev Open Ukraine Europe 1-star 10
36 August 4 Stand Up For The Lake Vermont North America 1-star 10
37 August 11 OABI Detroit Michigan North America 1-star 10
38 August 11 Vancouver SUP Challenge Canada North America 3-star 30
39 August 11 Zinkwazi Dam Race South Africa Africa 2-star 20
40 August 11 SEA Paddle NYC New York North America 3-star 30
41 August 19 Hong Kong International Hong Kong Asia 2-star 20
42 August 18-19 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge Oregon North America Major 100
43 Sept. 5-9 SUP 11 City Tour Netherlands Europe Specialty 60
44 Sept. 29 Battle of the Bay California North America 4-star 40
45 October 6 Chucktown Showdown South Carolina North America 1-star 10
October 6-7 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life California North America Honorary 100
(Note: The PPGs is an “honorary points race” and not part of the core tour)
The Paddle League: 2018 Post-Season (counts for Season 2019)
46 October 13 Krumlovský Vodácký Maraton Czech Republic Europe 1-star 10
47 Nov. 3 Surf to Sound North Carolina U.S. 1-star 10
48 Nov. 23-25 Aloha Spirit Festival Brazil South America 4-star 40
49 December Singapore Ocean Cup Singapore Asia 1-star 10
50 December King of the Cut Perth South Pacific 4-star 40

 

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