Next year is set to be a great year for SUP racing on the Gold Coast – and really, in Australia.
It’s amazing how a little bit of turmoil can produce the best silver lining.
The stalwart Gold Coast race, 12 Towers planned for the 3rd and 4th of March 2018, has had a tidy up in terms of race categories:
SUP (Long Course 14’ & under)
Open Men and Women
40-49yrs Men and Women
Open Unlimited SUP
Prone (Long Course)
Open Men and Women (12’ Stock)
Ski (Long Course)
SUP (Short Course 14′ & under)
Open Men and Women
The category additions and mix up show that event organizers are listening to stand up paddlers’ feedback and evolving the race in line with competitor expectations. As well as this, the race has had an extension, now finishing at North Burleigh surf club. This increases the distance of the race to approximately 17km’s – the last little slog towards North Burleigh will make the race that little bit more challenging and interesting as competitors have to decide the prime point to begin tacking back in toward Burleigh. Most return competitors with the race are quite familiar with their lines towards Burleigh Heads, so this will be interesting to see if it changes anyone’s race line and strategy.
We’ve all recently heard the news that the Noosa Festival of Surf has booted stand up paddling races from the event – including the pups on sups even which was a massive draw card for the entire festival. Don’t get me wrong, this sucks. Event organisers of SUPS Down Under had some outstanding international paddler’s lined up, great prizes and money to be won. The symbiotic relationship with the local Noosa business community will really suffer without SUP a part of the event. But from little things, big things grow and SUP has grown, it’s popularity increasing year by year. It’s exciting to hear that organisers are now moving the race to the Gold Coast for 2018, also in March. I believe a final date is to be confirmed with another re-jigged event occurring close to SUPS down under. The Australian Paddleboard Festival is set to be a great event as well. Hopefully all event organisers are sitting down to coordinate dates and timing of these events to benefit paddler’s and the sport of SUP.
2018 could really be a special year with these big races on the Coast further building the profile of SUP stand alone events. Stand Up Paddler’s have always run our events really well and this should be a suggestive move that perhaps some of the organisational reigns of the sport would be best managed by Stand Up Paddler’s.