The Paddle League Unveils “Stage Two” of its Plan to Help Unify the Sport

The Paddle League, a group of SUP veterans aiming to help unify the sport and create a more stable platform for the future has announced “stage two – The Regionals” of its plan, with the aim to give back to the community and help drive stand up paddling forward in a more sustainable way. 

Photo Credit: @paddleleague

After announcing The Paddle League World Tour in January which combines nine of the biggest standalone races including the Carolina Cup and the Gorge Paddle Challenge – the founding team announced that it will now turn its focus to supporting and promoting the amazing grassroots and mass-participation races “that give the sport its backbone“. Chris Parker from the paddle league gives TotalSUP a debrief into the new format.

Hi Chris, Can you describe the format for regional races?

The “Regionals” as these events will be known, will contribute to the unified Paddle League World Rankings via an interlinked leaderboard, this is the new name and new home of the original SUP Racer World Rankings. Regional-level star ratings are being awarded to events based on expected level of competition and, just as importantly, the participation numbers of amateur, junior and first-time paddlers.

These regional races will be awarded 1-4 stars, with both professional and amateur athletes chasing 10-40 points on the interlinked Paddle League World Rankings, which launches after the first world tour stop in Tahiti on April 7; the World Tour events will still largely decide the world title race though, with the major stops offering 60 to 100 points each. The Paddle League will announce the full “Regionals” schedule in the coming weeks.

Photo Credit: @paddleleague

Kelly Margetts  co-founder and Tour Commissioner of the paddle league highlighted that the primary goal is to “Tell an engaging story about this great sport. “There are so many amazing regional races that come and go each year without getting the attention they deserve, so we aim to make them part of this bigger story and help elevate their standing”.   

Brian Meyer, the reigning Pacific Paddle Games open race champion further emphaised this by adding “The great thing about SUP is that everyone’s equal no matter whether you’re Connor Baxter or a total beginner, so these regional events are set to become the beating heart of The Paddle League”.

Do you have dates for the races lined up?

The massive GlaGla Race in January and Sydney SUP Festival in February have been two of the early pre-season events, and from here the schedule kicks into overdrive with dozens of great races covering all corners of the map. 

Next on the agenda is the 12 Towers race on the Gold Coast on the 3rd March, before a triple-header weekend on the 24th and 25th March covering three continents where athletes will chase points in France, New Zealand and the U.S . These are the races at the Santa Cruz PaddleFest in California, the Hoe Toa NZ Paddle Championships in Auckland and the new Villefranche Paddle Race on the French Riviera, a new race that is being spearheaded by some of France’s top athletes. At true “March Madness” month of racing!

Photo Credit: @paddleleague

The 7th Annual 12 Towers ocean race on the Gold Coast is set to feature nearly 200 amateurs and over a dozen of the world’s best. Including top-ranked athletes such as Titouan Puyo, Michael Booth, Lincoln Dews, James Casey, Kenny Kaneko, Matt Nottage, Paul Jackson, Angie Jackson and Terrene Black, along with international young guns Bernd Roediger, Itzel Delgado, Noic Garioud, Clement Colmas, and Yuka Sato.

Photo Credit: @paddleleague

Where can we follow the regional leagues?

The 12 Towers will be streamed LIVE on The Paddle League Facebook page from around 10:30am Saturday Queensland time (exact start time depends on wind conditions), which is 4:30pm Friday March 2nd in California and 7:30pm in Florida (and really late in Europe).  But also check back on Monday to see who was firing on the Gold Coast.

 But please check out the website to find out *why* this group of SUP community veterans is building a platform that aims to benefit everyone in the sport!

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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