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News

Aug 17, 2017

2017 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship Heading to “Cold Hawaii”

The countdown is on for the 2017 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship.

WRITTEN BY

The Outdoor Journal

After the success at Cloudbreak in Fiji last November, this year it’s changing scenery (not to mention temperature) and going to Europe for the first time in Denmark’s Copenhagen and ‘Cold Hawaii’ from September 1-10.

Photo taken by Miguel Sacramento while covering the championship in Fiji for The Outdoor Journal last November.

Keeping everyone on their toes—and hopefully boards, the International Surfing Association continues to promote and expand this quickly growing sport by holding this year’s World Championship in Denmark’s stunning capital city, Copenhagen and Vorupør on the northwest coast. Also known as Cold Hawaii, Vorupør is celebrated for its excellent wave conditions and unique surf & SUP culture.

Photo courtesy of Copencold Hawaii

Following a fourth win for Australia in Fiji in 2016, over 300 paddlers from over 30 countries will be taking part in prone paddleboarding, SUP racing and SUP surfing disciplines to find out who is going to be crowned the 2017 ISA World Champions.

Denmark has 7,500km of stunning coastline which can be reached in a two-hour drive from anywhere in the country. Cold Hawaii’s excellent conditions and the accessibility of the coast have given the sport significant momentum in recent years and SUP has become a popular discipline for many across the country.

Triple SUP Racing World Champion, ISA Vice President and Chairman of the ISA Athletes’ Commission, Casper Steinfath, who is from the Cold Hawaii region of Denmark, said:

Cold Hawaii is a special place in the heart of Denmark for Surfing and StandUp Paddle. This region has cultivated some the country’s top athletes and I cannot wait to welcome the World Championships to our shores. Visiting SportAccord today in my home nation and being able to demonstrate the sport that I love and what Denmark has to offer, is a wonderful moment for me.

Over recent years, SUP has greatly advanced in professionalism and popularity and much of that success is a result of the work conducted by the ISA. Following Surfing’s Olympic inclusion, the ISA has been able to offer so much to SUP, organizing the World Championships, helping to fund development schemes and instructor courses, and bringing a voice to our discipline that can be heard by more people globally.

Will anyone be up to the challenge of ending Australia’s winning streak? Stay tuned to see how the competition unfolds!

It might not be competing for a world title, but the opportunity to SUP through the rainforest sounds pretty good to us too!

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Events

Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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