Fiji will soon be packed with the world's top standup paddlers for the first stop on the 2012 Standup World Series, the Namotu World Paddle Challenge, presented by Air Pacific. From Nov. 13-18, elite standup paddlers will be racing for points toward the coveted champion title. In addition, the Standup World Tour, which runs the World Series, has partnered with SUP magazine as the official media partner of both the Standup World Tour and the World Series.

The week begins with a youth clinic, modeled after the Na Kama Kai clinics, for underprivileged youth and other kids in Fiji to experience ocean sports. The clinic will be followed by the opening ceremony, which will be carried out in true Fijian style at the InterContinental Resort, with Fijian dignitaries present.

Monday, Nov. 14, the races begin with the 19-mile downwinder to be raced on 12'6 boards. Taking off from the InterContinental Resort at Natadola Beach, competitors will race along the stunning Fijian coastline, where their endurance and racing knowledge will be tested until they reach the finish at Namotu Island.

The Surf Slalom race, first showcased at the North Shore Paddle Challenge, will make for an exciting day, as athletes will have to battle in and out through the surf around a buoy course. The sprint-style race will be held in heat-elimination format, keeping the competition intense and making for a great spectator race.

A paddlesurfing exhibition will be held at the end of the week at the famed South Pacific surf break, Cloudbreak. The exhibition will feature legendary waterman Dave Kalama among other celebrated standup paddle surfers, like 2-time World Champion Kai Lenny and top contender Zane Schweitzer.

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