An exhibition at New Zealand

An exhibition at Queensland’s Noosa Festival of Surfing shows the most primitive forms of standup paddling. Photo courtesy of Noosa Festival of Surfing


Spring into SUP this month! Between annual paddle events and festivals, fundraisers and free races, March is looking fun with plenty of water time in the works. From Noosa’s Festival of Surfing, to the 30th Annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest in California, to Daytona Beach’s Equinox MatchSUP, there are events for the competitive and recreational paddler, and, family-friendly events, too. --Shari Coble

Photo courtesy of  Noosa Festival of Surfing

Photo courtesy of Noosa Festival of Surfing

Noosa Festival of Surfing
March 5 – 12, 2016
Noosa, Queensland, Australia

An annual week-long event, "Celebrating 25 Years of Stoke," the Noosa Festival of Surfing offers surf competitions in a vast variety of disciplines, from longboarding to body surfing. For standup paddlers, SUP surf contests and a couple of races are offered, including the Endurance SUP Race. Competitors who ride traditional sticks will have plenty of opportunities to show their skills with fun events like the Finless Challenge, Noserider Pro, and Vetshop Dog Surfing Spectacular. Age divisions are offered for men, women, juniors, and kids in most events. In addition to the competition, there will be clinics and exhibitions, as well as live entertainment, too.
Race fee: $44 – $154

Cold Hands Paddle
March 6, 2016
Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, California

The annual Cold Hands Paddle draws paddlers of all ages from across California to compete off of San Pedro's Cabrillo Beach on a four-mile course around the iconic lighthouse, finishing inside the break wall. Stock and unlimited divisions are offered for standup paddlers and prone paddleboarders, but kayaks, dories, surfskis, and OC's are also welcome to participate in this free event. Post-race events include an awards ceremony, as well as a raffle, with all proceeds benefitting the Sarcoma Alliance.
Race fee: FREE

Photo courtesy of Adler Paddler

Photo courtesy of Adler Paddler

6th Annual Adler Paddler
March 12, 2016
Long Beach, California

Held in memory of legendary shaper Steve Adler, this fundraiser paddle event offers short and long courses with funds benefitting the John Ritter Foundation in supporting those with aortic disease. The long course race is a 5.6-mile competitive event, while the short course is a 2.8-mile family-friendly fun paddle around the flat waters of Naples Island. Rental boards will be available for a small donation, on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Race fee: FREE, donation suggested

Photo courtesy of Ron Jon

Photo courtesy of Ron Jon’s Beach ‘N Boards Fest

Ron Jon's Beach 'N Boards Fest/Fastest in Florida: Cocoa Beach Challenge Presented By O'Neill
March 12, 2016
Cocoa Beach, Florida

Part of the annual Ron Jon Beach 'N Boards Fest, the Cocoa Beach Challenge is the third race of the eight-event series that wraps up in late September. Elite SUP races include 3- and 8-milers on the Banana River, with cash prizes. There will also be 1- and 3-mile race for intermediate paddlers, in addition to beginner clinics and demos, including a clinic with pro Rob Rojas.
Race fee: TBA

Ron Jon's Beach 'N Boards Fest: Salt Life/Lifeproof Paddleboard Catch and Release Tournament
March 12, 2016
Cocoa Beach, Florida

Also held during the Beach 'N Boards Fest is a catch and release paddleboard fishing tournament with cash prizes for the top five places. The event will be held from 7:00am to 10:00 a.m., with all proceeds benefiting Anglers for Conservation.
Race Fee: $25

Photo courtesy of Ron Jon

Photo courtesy of Ron Jon’s Beach ‘N Boards Fest

Ron Jon's Beach 'N Boards Fest: Roxy's Run, SUP, Yoga
March 13, 2016
Cocoa Beach, Florida

Join in Roxy's global movement, #ROXYFITNESS, with a multi-sport morning workout (from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.) to stand up, take stride, and focus. Standup paddle (1km) at 7:30, run a 5k at 8:50, then unwind with yoga at 9:55, to feel accomplished and well-worked, all before noon. And, bonus: the first 250 entrants will receive a #ROXYFITNESS gift pack.
Event Fee: $10/activity

santa cruz paddlefest

Photo: Santa Cruz Paddlefest

30th Annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest Presented by Starboard
March 17 – 20, 2016
Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, California

A favorite winter festival among pros and amateur paddlers alike, the annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest features a variety of events at 'The Lane,' including a SUP racing clinic with pro Fiona Wylde on Thursday, the 17th, followed by surf contests for multiple paddle crafts, starting on Friday, the 18th, and running throughout the weekend. Friday is the main event at The Lane, where elites will compete in four-man heats through Sunday. Starting on Saturday, the 19th, intermediate competitors will take to The Lane's inside break to compete in the Cowells Classic, which wraps up Sunday.
Saturday will also feature the Santa Cruz Paddlefest Paddleboard Race, starting and finishing at Cowells Beach, after taking competitors out along the boardwalk to Santa Cruz Harbor and back, with a short run on the beach to the finish. Short and long courses are offered, with long course racers completing a second lap out to the harbor and back. The long course is a 10k race with elite, open and juniors divisions competing in a variety of board classes, while the 5k short course offers open divisions for all board classes. Competitors in every event must wear leashes.
Race Fee: $40 – $150

Photo courtesy of Lowcountry Cold Water Classic

Photo courtesy of Lowcountry Cold Water Classic

Lowcountry Cold Water Classic
March 19, 2016
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Starting and finishing at Palmetto Bay Marina, competitors will race out and back on the flat water of Broad Creek's main channel. The Lowcountry Cold Water Classic offers a 1-mile kids' race, 3-mile short course and 6-mile long course with age divisions and board classes. The top three finishers of each divisions will receive awards and all participants are invited to the post-race party at the marina.
Race fee: $45 short course; $55 long course

Photo courtesy of OHANA Paddleboards

Photo courtesy of OHANA Paddleboards

28th Annual Dana Outrigger Canoe Club Ocean Challenge
March 19, 2016
Dana Point, California

A race for OC's standup paddlers and surfskiers, the Ocean Challenge offers short and long courses that take competitors from the flat waters of Dana Point Harbor, out to the ocean, then back to a flatwater finish inside the harbor. All kids (14 and under) SUP races, however, will be held on flat water inside the harbor. Also, the single race fee covers participation in multiple races, with a race shirt and lunch ticket included.
Race fee: $25

Photo courtesy of Equinox MatchSUP

Photo courtesy of Equinox MatchSUP

Equinox MatchSUP
March 19, 2016
Daytona Beach, Florida

A fun day of racing to benefit Heroes on the Water--which helps disabled vets paddle--the Equinox SUP and Kayak Challenge will be held at City Island Park with 2- and 4-mile races. The event also includes free SUP and Kayak demos, as well as free rentals for the 2-mile race, live music, and lunch.
Race fee: $40

More SUP events here.