Stand Up Paddleboarding is a popular sport with historical roots in Hawaii and Maui, where early variations of modern day paddleboarding were first developed as a means of easy travel between islands and around beaches. Nowadays, SUP has become such an attractive form of recreation. SUP events are held all over the world, and they feature a number of different formats. While it is popular to participate in stand up paddle boarding races, there are also yoga, fishing, and recreational paddling events as well.
Throughout the year, paddlers can find events across the nation to participate in — from expos to competitions, and more. Whether you are a recreational paddler or compete on an athletic level, there are events for you. Or, perhaps you’d rather watch the fun from the short. For many events, all are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Below are several of the big SUP events that are coming up in the United States in 2022.
27th Annual Hanohano Ocean Challenge
The Hanohano Ocean challenge is one of the longest running paddlesport races in California — and is now entering its 27th year. Racers can participate using an OC-1, surfski, a traditional paddleboard, a standup paddleboard, or a kayak. SUP enthusiasts from across the world gather in San Diego, California, to join in on the event, which welcomes everyone from athletes to beginners — ages 7 to 80!
The race course options for the Hanohano Ocean Challenge include a 4.5 mile short course, a 9-mile long course, a 1000-meter junior race, and even a virtual 10k race if participants are not able to join the festivities in person.
This year’s race will take place on Jan. 29 at Bonita Cove, Mission Bay. In addition to the day’s races, participants can enjoy breakfast and coffee for free in the morning, as well as a full lunch menu. Don’t forget to enter what is considered “the best raffle west of the Mississippi,” boasting products from a ton of great SUP vendors!
Treasure Coast Paddle Battle 2022
The Treasure Coast Paddle Battle goes down on March 5 in Fort Pierce, Florida. There are several events planned during the day, including a 10k race and a 5k race. The 10k course starts on the beach and travels through the Fort Pierce inlet and around to the Indian River before landing on the shores of Jaycee Park. There will also be a 5k course inside the Indian River.
A paddle village will be waiting for racers in Jaycee Park, and other recreational paddlers are also welcome to enjoy the fun. Other activities include kids races and local vendors.
For the competition races, paddlers will be asked to compete with a paddle board that is 14 feet or under. For this year’s competition, there are two new divisions to compete in as well.
The event has added a 1-mile first time or new racer event, as well as a “waterman/waterwoman” award for the person who competes in both the 10k and 5k races with different crafts! If you’re a multi-talented water athlete, this is your time to shine!
2022 Carolina Cup
The 11th Annual Carolina Cup will be hosted from April 27 to May 1 at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. The week-long event features clinics, demos and 5 races. Since 2015, the Carolina Cup has been the largest and most competitive Stand Up Paddleboarding race in the world. In 2016, over 900 paddlers competed in the races and participated in clinics.
Some of the scheduled events include a 3.5-mile Harbor Island Recreational race, a 6.5-mile Money Island Open Race, the 13-mile Graveyard Elite Race and The Graveyard Outrigger and Surfski race. Athletes can pick and choose which events to compete in, and the event is open to the public — meaning that those who wish to watch and enjoy are welcome to join without participating in a race or clinic.
Ohio River Paddlefest Races 2022
The Ohio River Paddlefest is one of the nation’s largest paddling trips. Over 2,000 recreational paddlers trek down a closed course on the Ohio River, passing through downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Participants can choose between a 4.2 mile short course and a 9-mile long course. However, the short course is open to SUPs and recreational kayaks only.
The event is set to be held on August 6. Stand Up Paddle Board 14 feet and under are welcome to participate. All of the proceeds from the registration fees benefit the Adventure Crew, a 501c3 non-profit that provides outdoor recreation experiences, like paddling, to city teens at no cost.
Don’t forget to head over a day early for the event’s free expo on Friday night! There will be tons of exhibits from local parks, outdoor outfitters, adventure experts, and other environmentally-minded organizations to enjoy.
2022 Great Alabama 650
The Great Alabama 650 has been dubbed “the toughest paddle race in the United States.” The race is a 650-mile course along the core section of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, which is the longest river trail in a single state. “From rushing whitewater to ambling river delta, the race will challenge even the most experienced paddler,” the organizers promise.
This is a challenging race that spans 10 days from October 1 to October 11. It begins in the northeast part of the state and finishes near Mobile Bay. Racers stand to win prize money, which will be split across three divisions!
Hunting Island, SC October Paddlefest 2022
Paddlefest is an event which is comprised of both competition and leisure courses. Since 2021, the event has been held at Machete Flats Landing. According to the organizers, the courses run through “some of the prettiest unspoiled marshes on the Eastern seaboard.”
Paddlers can choose between a short 3.3 mile course, or a long 6.3 mile course along the Harbor River. The race is followed by an awards ceremony, and all participants are encouraged to join the festivities — which include a raffle and other activities.
This event will be held on October 29.
Whether you’re looking to compete in several races this year, or you just want to connect with other SUP enthusiasts, these are some of the best places to accomplish either goal! From January to December, event organizers are putting on some of the best races in paddlesports across the United States. Not only are they an opportunity to show off your athleticism, they are also a place to have fun and enjoy time with others who share your passion.
You can learn, connect, and thrive at all of these events. And of course, this is not an exhaustive list of paddlesport events in the U.S. There are dozens of events that take place each month across the country — big and small. Check with organizers in your area to see which other events you can attend!
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