WW SUP France: Race the Ardeche at the Ard’River Paddle 2019!

River and white water SUP is here, and it has arrived in France with a bang! The vast array of rivers found in France means it has found itself at the epicentre of WW SUP and river SUP. In France it flows, it will be paddled! The Ardeche River, is located at the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France. This is one of France’s most iconic rivers, with the arch towering over this flowing river.

At the heart of this area is the Vallon Plein Air kayak club. The club is organizing the 35th International Marathon of the Gorges de l’Ardèche, in which the Ard’River Paddle is set, this race is in its 4th year and  is set to go on the 9th November, 2019.  Bertrand Lamy-Chappuis, educator and local entrepreneur unveils the program for the Ard’River Paddle 2019! Read on how you be one of 200 paddlers to race down the Ardeche!

Hello Bertrand, can you introduce yourself to the TotalSUP community?

I’m 34 years old and I from a family of kayakers. I work as a kayak instructor and I m involved with the Vallon Plein Air kayak club. In my younger days I was passionate about slalom, but now I find my attention turned to river SUP. In 2018, I won the SUP River Tour, and I am well placed this season, this year I hope to repeat this performance. My role  in the kayak club is to drive and organise events, which includes the SUP’Air Ardèche race and International Marathon Gorges de l’Ardèche.

Building on last years success you will host the 4th edition of the Ard’River Paddle, within the Marathon des Gorges de l’Ardèche. What’s new  this year?

Events in the river have their own peculiarities, including the constraint of the predicting the water level, in 2017 and 2018 the Marathon could not take place, due to water levels. Due to this this years event is highly anticipated! The International Gorges de l’Ardèche Marathon receives  around 2000 competitors from 20 different nations, paddlers include Olympic champions  to leisure kayakers.


This year we are lucky enough to welcome Philippe Croizon (quad amputee athlete / speaker) who is actually the sponsor of this edition along with France Accessibility. It seemed obvious to us to add a SUP race to the event, so that all white water paddling sports are represented, and we have named it the Ard’River Paddle. The events kick off on Friday 8th November with an exhibitors village. This year we  have opened the event more as on the first edition, there were only 25 places offered to SUP paddlers, but this year we will have 200 places available!

More interestingly the prize money for the first placed man and woman is €500. We also offer the 27 KM race as a tandem SUP event, and finally to cap it off we will have a great evening  meal after the event with music and after party, to bring the paddlers together!

Your local spot is the unique playground “The National Nature Reserve Gorges de l’Ardèche”. Can you describe it our community?

The Gorges de l’Ardèche are the ideal playground for this kind of event. The succession of rapids of class 2 and the water level makes paddling extremely accessible and playful to everyone. The nature reserve site is an unique landscape. The surrounging flora and fauna really makes an beautiful atmosphere which really contributes to the success of this event. The beauty of river SUP is that it allows you to discover beautiful places. We are waiting for you all, so sign up and come enjoy the fun in the South(East) of France!

Can you talk about your paddle design “the Fenix”, aimed at a multi disciplinary SUP market? Can you tell us about the idea behind your brand?

This came from when  I created Ardèche Paddle, the first SUP school on the Ardèche. My experience gave birth to this paddle, and now I am a manufacturer of “high end” composite paddles for SUP and other paddle disciplines including kayak, canoe and pirogue. My products are developed and manufactured in France, specifically Ardèche. The paddle has been developed in collaboration with top athletes from each discipline. The flagship product for Fenix is the  “Magicstick” paddle, aimed specifically at SUP paddling, it comes in different sizes and stiffness, with a handle that will meet the needs of the paddler.

SUP’AIR Ardèche, your 1st event 100% SUP event rolled out last March. How was this event?

This was a superb event. This first time we were able to organise a 100% SUP  event. There were about fifty competitors at the weekend. SUP river and SUP WW is in full swing and there is a really positive drive and atmosphere surrounding this discipline. We are definitely going to be organisation  the edition for 2020 with many different ideas in mind.

Programme for Ard’River Paddle & du Marathon International des Gorges de l’Ardèche :

Follow this link for the details for this event  >> https://www.totalsup.com/events/marathon-de-lardeche-2019/

Inscriptions for the l’Ard’River Paddle & du Marathon International des Gorges de l’Ardèche :

Registration here, closes on the 5th November at midnight ===> https://www.marathon-ardeche.com/inscriptions/


About the Author

Helen Trehoret

SUP, OC1, V6, Surfski ... and field hockey coaching, Helen is a busy British mother of two who lives in Bretagne, France with a passion for all things Ocean. Helen runs Barrachou SUP, a SUP tour company specialized in excursions around Bretagne and Scotland.

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