Season 2018 has started off with a bang with the formation of The Paddle League, the brainchild of highly-respected Australian athlete Kelly Margetts, Christopher Parker and Brian Meyer from Capital SUP (CEO), and in collaboration with The Paddlers Collective.
A move which The Paddle League highlighted is to promote an all inclusive approach to SUP competition from international athletes to weekend warriors, sending a message that they ALL play a significant role in driving the sport forward, in an healthy and sustainable fashion.
TotalSUP provides a breakdown and explanation of this new league which will start this coming 2018 paddle season.
What is The Paddle League?
The Paddle league is an unified world tour, consisting of 10 Major Events, plus 1 Associate Major, and will also include 2 Specialty Events. These events are not new events, they are pre-existing and well established independent events, that will now come under the umbrella of The Paddle League.
In addition to the 10 major events there will be approximately two dozen grassroots events that make up the Regional Leagues (these will be confirmed in February 2018), a move to connect the mass-participant events with the major events.
Where are the 10 Majors?
The 10 Majors have combined existing world races, with some races from the existing Eurotour. The event choices have been made after feedback from top athletes (Factors taken into consideration such as quality of the events, event uniqueness, and athletic performance on the world ranking “Race Index” over the years). Each event will have its own ranking points associated with it, that will go towards the athlete ranking leaderboard (points shown in brackets).
photo credit: timmckenna
7x MAJORS (100 ranking points)
Event #1 Air France Paddle Festival, Tahiti, April 7
Event #2 Carolina Cup, USA, April 18-22
Event #4 Kerama Blue Cup in Zamami, Japan, May 12
Event #5 Bilbao World Paddle Challenge, Spanish Basque Country, June 16
Event #6 Hossegor Paddle Games, France, June 23
Event #7 Mercedes SUP World Cup, Scharbeutz, Germany, June 30-July 1
Event #8 Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, USA, August 18-19
1x ASSOCIATE MAJOR (100 ranking points)
Event #10 SUP the Mag’s Pacific Paddle Games pres. by Salt Life, USA, Oct 6-7
2x SPECIALTY EVENTS (6-star; 60 ranking points)
Event #3 OluKai Ho’olaule’a, Maui, Hawaii, April 28
Event #9 SUP 11 City Tour, Netherlands, September 5
(A break down of the Races will be published soon)
Where are the Regional Leagues?
There will be 24 Paddle League-affiliated regional races in the US, Hawaii Europe, Asia, Australia, South America from January to December. The “Regionals” will count for world championship ranking points on the interlinked rankings leaderboard.
The League has stressed the importance of grassroots and local participation is key to the Paddle League. The primary ethos behind the project.
World Ranking Points
The traditional World Rankings will no longer exist; SUP Racer is giving them to the Paddle League, which will be the new home of the ranking leaderboards.
Regional events (i.e The Gla Gla) that fall outside the “season” (i.e October through to March) will count as “headstart” races, and those points will activate after the first major race of the following season.
What’s next for The Paddle League?
Season 2018 will be the inaugural year, so it will come into affect immediately, this year will feature both a structured “World Tour” and less formal “Regional Leagues” (which will be more formalised in 2019). The regional leagues which will be confirmed by the end of February 2018.
As for the athletes, The Paddle League confirmed that they have been instrumental in this process, and that the independentely run Paddlers Collective have provided some positive feedback and ideas.
“64 of the world’s best athletes have voiced their support for the Paddle League, and many of them have been instrumental in helping formulate this new international series”. – The Paddle League, January 2018.
Will we still see Chris Parker?
The answer is in short, Yes! Each of the events on the World Tour (except OluKai and 11 Cities) will feature a full live webcast hosted by Chris Parker and with regular special guest that will include Dave Kalama and other SUP experts and luminaries. So don’t worry we will still hear theChris’s beautiful ozzie twang!
Exciting times ahead, So watch this space!