Where to Stand Up Paddle in Italy: Caterina Stenta’s Top 10 Italian SUP Spots

When she’s not windsurfing and shredding waves around the globe, RRD International Team Rider, Caterina Stenta is taking the SUP racing scene by storm. TotalSUP caught up with the über talented Trieste-born Champion to talk about her top ten spots for stand up paddle in Italy.

Caterina, could you share with us a little bit about your background and your favourite SUP spots in Italy?

“I grew up in Trieste, in the north east of Italy, next to the Alps, in a very sporty family. Both my parents are mountain enthusiasts and windsurfers and I have been used to train since very young. I have been skiing and doing ski mountaineering since I was three, as soon as I could walk I already had skis under my feet and was ‘forced’ to climb up the mountains together with my brother since we were little children. I think it is here that my connection with endurance sports started.

I started windsurfing at the age of 16 and I have never stopped since. I have been competing on the PWA Windsurf Wave World Tour for the past six years and two years ago I started competing on the SUP racing scene as well, mostly in the EUROTOUR and some other races, like last year’s PPG, the  ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Denmark and China.

Lately this SUP endorphin is giving me more and more motivation and the more I do it the more I want to do it, so I still compete in windsurf but I compete now more in SUP as there are more events.

I am sponsored by RRD International, I use the Razzle Dazzle board 14’x23’’ this year, in Italy the 12’6’x25” and for training I use sometimes an inflatable race 14’x26”. I use RRD paddles as well and Black Project fins.

CATERINA’S TOP TEN PLACES TO PADDLE IN ITALY

Italy is a little paddle paradise, its long coastline is full of amazing places that just await to be paddled…so more or less everywhere you live you can reach the sea or lakes and be in the water pretty fast. The SUP community is growing and there are more amateurs and kids doing it, I think this is important for the sport.”

1. TRIESTE

My home town lies between the Adriatic sea and the Julian Alps on the north-east corner of Italy. Its sea can be calm and flat or the Bora, the north east wind, can blow really strong especially in winter. When the Bora is not blowing strong it is a very nice place to paddle. In few kilometers from the city centre you are surrounded by green cliffs and mountains. Trieste is an unique place, a place where I can wake up and go for a ski mountaineering route in the morning and a paddle training in the afternoon. In winter you can paddle and see the white mountains from the sea!

2. LAGO DI BRACCIANO

The Bracciano Lake is a volcanic lake north east of Rome, and it’s where we did the first stop of our Italian Championship this year. The town bordering the lake, Anguillara Sabazia, is a beautiful little town just few minutes from Rome. The lake is pretty big to do all kind of training in SUP, and when it’s windy it offers really nice downwind conditions. This is the home spot of my friend Giordano Bruno Capparella, and he owns a SUP Centre where you can find race boards to train or get paddle lessons.

3. ORISTANO (SARDEGNA)

All the coast of Sardinia is full of SUP spots for both racing and surfing. Sardinia I think is the best place to SUP surf in Italy, with some of the best Italian wave spots. For racing, the gulf of Oristano is stunning, in the central-western part of the island. The deep-blue water, the landscape around Oristano make it a perfect place to paddle and feel connected with nature. If the north wind is blowing there is a perfect downwind paddle of about 14 km from San Giovanni di Sinis to Oristano.

4. LAGO DI GARDA

Lake Garda is another treasure of Italy, and the biggest lake of the country. It lies next to the Dolomites offering amazing view and landscapes. We had the final event of the Italian championship in 2018 in Riva del Garda and paddling next to the cliffs around the lake is really nice. Often there is some wind to make the paddle more challenging.

5. TOSCANA

In Tuscany I like the area of Piombino, which is the home spot of Federico Esposito, Paolo Marconi and Susak. They all own SUP school and offer SUP lessons. I like this place for the nice nature and coastline you paddle along, but most of all I like the people there, who are really enthusiastic about SUP. Tuscany is probably one of the region with the most interest in SUP racing events. There are a few really nice races in Tuscany and a lot of paddlers come from here.

CATERINA’S ITALIAN SUP SPOT WISHLIST

6. SICILIA

I have been to Sicily for windsurfing but not for paddling yet. The south part is full of wave spots I can’t wait to surf and race. Plus the people are really friendly and the food is amazing.

 

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7. CINQUE TERRE

This area of the Liguria region must be a paddling paradise. The steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea makes it an unique place. We will probably have the final stop of the 2019 championship in Liguria, so I will have to travel there and get to know the place hopefully!

 

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8. PUGLIA

I have never been to Puglia, but I will love to go there soon because the sea must be spectacular. There is a nice SUP community in this region and they organize some amateur and pro races, so I think soon or later I will go there too.

 

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9. ISOLA D’ELBA

Elba is an island in Tuscany just 10 km from Piombino, in the Thyrrenian sea with around 140km of coastline. I have friends who live there and they always tell me to go there to paddle and bike; it must be a perfect training place.

 

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10. ALPINE LAKES, ITALY

I love to paddle and be close to the mountains at the same time. In Italy in the Alps there are many mountains lakes that I would love to paddle in. Paddling in flat water surrounded by the Alps and being able to go running in the mountains in the same day is something I really love. Just to name few, “Lago del Predil”, not far from my home town in Friuli Venezia Giulia, at 950m; “lago di Santa Caterina”, not only for the name but for the amazing surroundings, an artificial lake in Veneto at 830m; “Lago di Sauris”, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, at 970m, where you can even windsurf; “Laghi di Fusine” at 900m in Friuli, next to Slovenia, “Lago di Anterselva” at 1650m next to the border with Austria.

 

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Grazie mille, Caterina!

To find out more about RRD International, please visit www.robertoriccidesigns.com

About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

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