Stand Up Paddle Board Racing
Paddleboard racing, as a niche sport, has been around for decades – that is the kind of paddle boarding where contestants are on their knees, bent chest over the board in a sort of fetal position, and paddling with both hands (without a paddle). This is the type of paddling you’ll typically see lifeguards doing. It was likely a niche sport because most participants were somehow associated with lifeguards. With the rapid rise of stand up paddle boarding in the waves and on flat water around the globe, paddle board racing is taking on the new identity of stand up paddle board racing. Not that there aren’t still strictly “paddle board” races, just that the masses are likely to confuse the two and assume you’re talking about SUP.
While you can use any SUP to race (and some “fun” races only allow non-racing boards), the design of dedicated stand up paddle boards are completely different then the typical standup surfing board. The dedicated race SUPs are longer (from 14 to 17 feet), and have distinct V hulls for tracking. They’re really more like kayaks than surfboards, and they’re also a lot more expensive than standard SUPs.
The number of stand up paddle board races is growing and will continue to grow. It’s something that can be localized very easily as SUP catches on in areas around the world, and local shops put on events to bring the local stand up community together for fun and socializing. If you're a fan of SUP, talk to your local shop about putting together a small local event, or organize one yourself with the help of FaceBook or MeetUp!
We’ve listed some of the major stand up paddle board racing events below. If you know of an SUP racing event not listed here, email us a brief on it and we’ll gladly add it to our list. Email us at: