30th Annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest Kicks Off Next Month

In the mid-1980s, a man named Dennis Judson had a vision for an entire surfing event centered around paddling. These days, paddling events are par for the course, but back in the day surf kayaks were barely being developed and SUP…well, what SUP? However, Judson went forward with his idea and, in 1986, the Santa Cruz Paddlefest was born. Three decades later, it’s clear Judson’s gamble paid off and the SCPF is the longest-running paddling competition in the world.

Coming up March 18–20, the 2016 Santa Cruz Paddlefest will celebrate the event’s 30th anniversary. It’s expected to be the biggest, most monumental Paddlefest to date with some of the sport’s biggest superstars looking to compete in the unofficial 2016 competition season opener. The always thrilling surf competition at Steamer Lane will feature multiple divisions including SUP, surf kayaks and surfski. Meanwhile, the festival also hosts one of the first major SUP races of the year, which always attracts a competitive who’s-who of paddlers in the sport. Last year, Mo Freitas and Candice Appleby got overall honors for King and Queen of the SCPF, but the hungry pack of elite paddlers will be looking to dethrone them including last year’s SUP surf comp winners Izzi Gomez and Brennan Rose.

To get stoked on this year’s big showdown in Santa Cruz, check out the featured video with sizzling highlights from last year’s event. Surf kayakers and standup paddlers shred the Lane while SUP racers go down to the wire in a nail-biting finish. It’s just a small taste of what we have come to expect during the three decades of the Santa Cruz Paddlefest.

Want to see more from the SCPF? Our photo gallery has all the action from last year’s event.

Check out our recap of the 29th Annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest.