Ever see a water enthusiast paddle serenely while standing on what looks like a surfboard? It's called stand-up paddling (SUP) and is considered one of the world's fastest-growing sports. On Oct. 9, the best SUP athletes in the world will descend on Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for a series of competitions and clinics. (www.wsupa.us).
Beginners can also take a free SUP demo throughout the day and walk among exhibits from some of the sport's leading manufacturers.
SUP is an ancient Hawaiian surf style that began with a one-bladed paddle the surfer uses to control a standard sized surfboard. In the 1960s, the beach boys of Hawaii would stand on their long boards and paddle out with cameras, taking pictures of the tourists attempting their first surf sessions.
"Today, the sport is known worldwide, and is used as a great training tool," says Hugh Jeffreys, director of Standup Connection in Lake Havasu City (www.standupconnection.com).
"Known for its strong core workout, the sport is motivating athletes across the globe to venture into flatwater, surf, and even whitewater. 'SUPing' is great for all levels and all age groups," he said.
On Oct. 9, in the shadow of the relocated London Bridge that put this desert lake city on the map, stand-up paddleboard races are planned for all levels of competition. The top three winners of the men and women's Elite Class nine-mile race will compete for their share of the $5,000 purse.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. Sponsors include Standup Paddle Magazine and the Nautical Beachfront Resort, the host site.
For information about the Paddle to the Channel, log onto www.standupconnection.com, www.wsupa.us, email@example.com, or call (928) 208- 0786.
Arizona Boating & Watersports/Western Outdoor Times
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