Taiwan Paddle Games 2019: Paddle in the Heart of Asia

The 4th May will see the 2nd edition of the Taiwan Paddle Games. Organised by the Chinese SUP sports Association it is one of the biggest SUP events in Taiwan. The weekend will see a combination of distance events, as well as fun events such as the Tiki challenge and Starwars race. This event is a true family paddle event catering to both new and experienced paddlers. Organiser Maggie Liu introduces the race, the paddle community and Taiwan to TotalSUP.

Hi Maggie, Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Maggie Liu, I am the secretary of Chinese SUP Sports Association in Taiwan.  We are the organizer of Taiwan Paddle Games, the biggest SUP event in Taiwan.

Can you introduce the event?

The first edition of the Taiwan Paddle Games was in 2018.  The event is Super fun.  We have a saying here in Taiwan, whenever a group of paddlers paddle together, no matter how old they are, they immediately become immature teenagers!  Our event is open to all, but  we will also have the long-distance, which involves going around outer islands of Taiwan, we recommend this distance for more experienced paddlers, but in saying that we will always look after each other. We have a safety boat to accompany everyone to ensure everyone’s safety.

Last year we welcomed paddlers from all over the world and we had a blast! When we were organising the 1st event we didn’t expect it to become an international event that it was, but as the games are only one week ahead of the Kerama Cup in Okinawa, Japan (only a 1 hour flight away) many paddlers were able to come to Taiwan (a more relaxed and less competitive race event) to adjust to the time zone and the Asian climate. It was super fun to have met so many world class paddlers such as Daniel and Bruno Hasulyo. It was very exciting for the local paddlers to witness pro level paddling, their speed, incredible surf and turning performances, yet they are extremely humble and are great personalities.

There will be a paddler’s night on the 4th May. We will also provide a buffet dinner for everyone on the beach. Our race is well organized with high prize money plus great prizes (GoPro Hero 7 for champions this year for both men and woman).  We are 1 week before the Kerama Cup and very close by, anyone going to Kerama should stop by Taiwan first!

Sonni Hönscheid and Daniel Hasluyo are coming over, how great is it to see the bigger names coming to Taiwan?

It is wonderful to see big name paddlers coming to Taiwan.  Many Taiwanese people don’t have a chance to see major SUP events outside of Taiwan, so now all of the local paddlers will have a chance to meet the world class professionals, and learn from their techniques.  Besides Sonni and Daniel, there are also many great competitors coming to Taiwan, such as ASI master coach and trainer Glenn Eldridge, Starboard Product manager Ollie O’reilly.

As well as the normal races you have a Tiki Challenge. Where did the idea for the Tiki challenge come from?

Tiki Challenge was Daniel Hasulyo’s idea, Starboard had actually done this before at their headquarters in Bangkok. As Starboard Taiwan is the biggest sponsor of our event we organised this Starwars race using the Starboard Starship board, a 7 person SUP board. Paddling the Starship board has always been a super fun group activity here in Taiwan, especially when a group of people surf together on it.

What is the SUP community like in Taiwan?

SUP community is still growing in Taiwan, this is because the sport is great for all ages and easy to start. It is also a sport that is great for everyone in the family, many people have combined SUP with many other activities such as camping (by lakesides or on the beach), freediving, fishing, yoga, rescue and much more.

What is great to do for tourists in Taiwan?

First of all Taiwanese people are super friendly.  Taiwan is one of the safest place on the planet, we have beautiful beaches and weather.  Taiwanese food are amazing, nothing creepy or scary.   Most of beaches and lakes are open for paddling, even some hidden lakes in the mountains.

We have so many different environments and conditions to SUP in Taiwan. There are so many things to do in Taiwan!  We are a small island but we have over 268 mountains that are over 3000 meters above sea level.  We also have many lakes, Sun Moon Lake is one the more famous lakes, this fresh water lake is located near Taichung City (Middle of Taiwan).  We are famous for the variety of food choices, besides typical Chinese and Taiwanese foods and we are also famous for our night markets.  Taiwan is also where the Pearl (Bubba) milk tea is originally from.  For the areas around Taiwan Paddle Games (Jinshan) check out this link!

The Taiwan Paddle Games is going to be an unforgettable experience, we have races designed for all classes, suitable for everyone, and we make it super fun so that paddlers are not only here to race but also to have a real vacation at the same time!

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