Introducing the ICF SUP 2018 World Championships by Andre Santos

The ICF SUP world championships will be hosted in Portugal this year, with 4 days of racing that includes 4 different SUP race formats it will be an event that will suit everyone. The action will take place on the 30th August until the 2nd September in the town of Esposende situated on the Portuguese Atlantic Coast. The main event will be a unique 19.5 km downwind following the Portuguese coastline, a course that has been used for many years by the worlds elite surf skiers (as part of the Nelo Summer Challenge). Andre Santos, CEO of Nelo and organiser of the prestigious Nelo Summer Challenge introduces the event to TotalSUP.

Hello Andre, can you introduce yourself and your passion for watersports ?

I have been paddling for as long as I can remember, I really enjoy paddling in all the different paddling disciplines, but I am also involved in other water sports such as surfing and sailing. I also work as the Chief Executive for one of the world’s largest and leading canoe and kayak manufacturing brands, Nelo International. I have been involved in organising several major international events including the Nelo Summer Challenge, a prestigious ocean-racing competition that encouraged the birth of the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships, as well as the Nelo Winter Challenge in Portugal for canoe sprinters.

What is your role within the ICF world Championships?

This year the ICF Ocean Racing World Cup and the ICF SUP World Championships will be running as part of the Nelo Summer Challenge. The Nelo Summer Challenge has been up and running since 2009, so this is our 10th year of the event. It is an extremely well known race within the surfski world. As the format has been so successful in recent years we were tasked to run all the events logistics and operation, whilst the the sport side of things will be operated by Rami Zur from the ICF.

How do you feel about organising the 1st ever ICF world Championships for SUP?

In 2013 we organised the first ever ICF Worlds, since then we have seen the sport grow. So now in 2018 I feel it is a great opportunity to showcase the discipline to a different group of people and in a different place. The event well have a downwind format that is seldom seen in Europe!  So we are super excited to set the standard for future events.

Can you introduce the Nelo Summer Challenge?

Nelo Summer Challenge is a fun event, where the culture of the downwind, fun and relaxation reigns! Anyone can enter the Nelo Challenge, there is an open race and also a race based on group classification, there is a good mix of races, with 4 races planned all in different formats..

Can you briefly describe the race formats over the weekend?

There are 4 races, the racing starts on Thursday with the sprints, we then have the iSUP race on the friday, followed by DW on Saturday and finally the technical race on the Sunday and prize money totalling 40000 euros, with 2000 euros being awarded to 1st place in all 3 categories (except the iSUP), and with prize money  going down to 5th place, for both men and women. You can check out the course information on the website There is a prize purse of 40000 Euros just for the SUP races! but overall over there is 75000 euros available in prize money, this is including the other craft races, which is being held at the same time.

We have also organised an iSUP race, we did this because there was a lot of interest from international paddlers who can only bring their iSUPs on the plane, by incorporating an iSUP category we are feel we can really show versatility of SUP paddling, in that races can be organised anywhere in the world.

For more information on the race follow this link, and get your entry ready!
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