Paddle boarding started as an offshoot to surfing and has proven more versatile! Take a look at some of the more common competitive pursuits practised world wide that you can get into.

Racing:

Well organised events are now available all over the planet. A number of the large associations are organising the events attracting the top athletes in the world. Generally there are short and long distance races split into categories depending on the length of board you have.

The WPA organises a full series across the US and provides ranking for athletes. There are a number of races also being set up in Australia, Puerto Rico, India and Canada. Take a look at their Series Overview page for more info.

The ISA (International Surfing Association) holds the World Championships each year, 2013 was held in Peru.

SUP race from NZ

SUP race from NZ

Endurance:

A growing number of individuals are taking on super long distance trips. Ben Friberg’s 111 miles from the shores of Cuba to the shores of Florida was the latest endurance feat to hit international headlines. He did this in 28 hours and six minutes! He has also covered 238 miles straight down the Yukon River. Another athlete, Shane Perrin, has travelled  the MR340 – a 340-mile stretch on the Missouri River as well as La Ruta Maya, a four-day, 170-mile ultra-paddle through Belize.

Do you have the will power to take on such trips? Have a google around, there will be hundreds of challenges still to be attempted on paddle board. Make sure you are well prepared, you need to make sure your equipment and your body is ready for it!

Check out more info on these great athletes at adventure journal and sup the mag.

Ben Friberg travelling from Cuba

Ben Friberg travelling from Cuba

Surfing

The agreed birth place of modern SUP. Paddle surfing continues to grow stronger with a number of high quality global competitions. The paddle itself allows for boarders to get out to the waves as well as provide an extra tool whilst riding the wave. Lots of schools are able to teach all abilities how to tackle the waves, check out the shot below from the Soul Surfer team in Tulum, Mexico.

SUP surfing in Mexico

SUP surfing in Mexico

White water

Larger numbers of adrenaline junkies are taking on rivers with new paddle boards designed for white water. This really is exciting stuff! Take a look at this news article from Denver Colorado, giving a great insight into this new discipline. Jackson Kayak is an example of a company producing paddle boards specifically for use on river rapids. Make sure to pick your river sections carefully and that are appropriate to your skill level.

Seabreeze.com image from the 2011 Teva championships

Seabreeze.com image from the 2011 Teva championships

Fishing

How about mixing a paddle board trip with some fishing. There are now specialised board companies that are producing stable platforms for all kinds of fishing, from fly fishing in lakes and rivers through to fishing in the sea. SUP Fishing competitions are gaining in popularity too as well. If you dont believe me, check out the range of equipment from Bote boards as an example. Here is a shot of an angler catching an Atlantic Sailfish from his paddle board, incredible!

Atlantic Sailfish catch

Atlantic Sailfish catch

 

Last thoughts:

Paddle boarding on the whole is still pretty young. When starting out in any of the disciplines above make sure that you do your research and make sure that you are well prepared to avoid any injuries!

What will you be doing on your paddle board in the future? Add your ideas into the comments section and maybe it will catch on.