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Is the sport of SUP racing bigger now than ever?

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Created by paul.j Two weeks ago, 4 Mar 2019
paul.j
QLD, 2765 posts
4 Mar 2019 11:45AM
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So over the past year or so all i have heard from certain people is SUP racing is dying and no one is doing it anymore but is this really the case?

Do you think this is the case?

12 Towers this past weekend had 240 paddlers in some heavy conditions and ZERO prize money. Maybe the sport is not dying like so many want people to believe and in fact is stronger than ever and all we are seeing is a shift in a new direction or many directions!!

We now have far better competition on the board side and are not just dictated to by 3 or 4 brands, we now have smaller brands who spend real time pushing the development of the race boards with one or two big companies who are still pushing as well and also brands are now just looking harder at where to invest their money into rather than just putting a little bit everywhere and hoping some sticks.

The good events are getting bigger and many sell out while some who maybe have not moved with the times have gone away. Paddlers who just paddle for the money might also have gone but the ones left are the ones we really wanted anyway these are the ones who do it because they love it not just because they could make money.

The world tittle side is still really bit of a **** fight but when they are really less than 1% does this even matter to most normal paddlers, as long as we have guys like SUPracer.com then the side that matters to most will be 1000 times bigger.

Just my thoughts anyway and interested to hear what most people think?

IMO if we could get 3 good events on the East coast like 12 Towers , 1 in Melbourne, 1 in Perth(KOTC) this would push Australia and the racing side to a whole new level!!

WaveScience
VIC, 65 posts
4 Mar 2019 1:53PM
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paul.j said..

IMO if we could get 3 good events on the East coast like 12 Towers , 1 in Melbourne, 1 in Perth(KOTC) this would push Australia and the racing side to a whole new level!!



They just had a charity paddle for mostly newcomers in Melbourne over the weekend that attracted 400 people paying $100 just to participate. None of these people are members of a club, or have any idea that there is such a thing as SUP racing.

Meanwhile, organised SUP racing in Victoria is in a parlous state (pardon the pun) for various reasons known only to those in control. Needs a complete overhaul.

Loz79
QLD, 457 posts
4 Mar 2019 2:33PM
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I agree it seems to be strong and with healthy support to clubs it will only get stronger. Grass roots is the area that needs to be helped along. There is no future for the sport if only the elite are being catered for with races. It's up to state body's and elite riders to help out the clubs to run more races, no races means no one buying boards which means no support for the top athletes. Healthy clubs running organised events and races is the key imo.....

JEG
VIC, 1026 posts
5 Mar 2019 7:28AM
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great subject paul.j
I like following the local and international sup events but no time & money to go most of these events.

Dynymor
VIC, 73 posts
5 Mar 2019 8:39AM
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I think the SUP scene in Melbourne/Victoria would really benefit from a well run annual big race as described by Jacko. We have the Nationals coming later this year, that will be a good starting point. Politics and personality clashes have fractured the racing community, and allegiances, and poor decision making have resulted in only small numbers now turning up to race at major races.
The state body (Surfing Vic) needs our support to grow the sport and use the depth of (SUP) knowledge that is available to organise a credible and well attended event.
It's time to ditch the negativity (people are sick of it), work together, and encourage people to train and participate in Victorian events.
Pete.

magillamelb
VIC, 610 posts
5 Mar 2019 9:12AM
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WaveScience said..




paul.j said..

IMO if we could get 3 good events on the East coast like 12 Towers , 1 in Melbourne, 1 in Perth(KOTC) this would push Australia and the racing side to a whole new level!!







They just had a charity paddle for mostly newcomers in Melbourne over the weekend that attracted 400 people paying $100 just to participate. None of these people are members of a club, or have any idea that there is such a thing as SUP racing.

Meanwhile, organised SUP racing in Victoria is in a parlous state (pardon the pun) for various reasons known only to those in control. Needs a complete overhaul.





There were a number of members of SUP Clubs in Melbourne that chose to raise money for the Cancer Council Saturday. One club raised over $6000 amongst its members & friends, whilst another provided marshals to the event.

As for SUP racing in Victoria, it comes down to interest.

The overwhelming majority of participants in SUP in Victoria have little to no interest in racing, however there are a small but passionate number that do wish to race. There are two established clubs in Melbourne and two other groups - one that runs a distance racing series without insurance, risk management plans etc. in a semi-clandestine or 'exclusive' environment as they put it to avoid scrutiny from authorities and a private company that has a long history of running very well managed (but sometimes considered expensive) events primarily for the surf/ocean ski fraternity of which the SUP community are invited to participate.

The little interest in racing was more than evidenced on Saturday, when a capped 400 participants paid a minimum of $100 to participate in a fundraising event that raised in excess of $160,000 for cancer research & support programmes. The course was just over 6km. I'd estimate that at least 80% of the participants on the day had never paddled that distance in conditions that were far from ideal and continued to slowly deteriorate.

Surfing Victoria, who claims to be the governing body for competitive SUP at a state level, sees SUP racing as more of a liability than an asset and appears to treat racing accordingly. Similarly, their experience in organising SUP racing events appears to be limited on face value.

As for racing, some of the bigger events in Victoria are so significantly weather dependent, that only the most experienced have the capability of finishing let alone competing. That virtually eliminates many considering racing as an option. In the last summer, there has been one race that was on the edge of being dangerous with many barely coping with the conditions, another that was a 15km cross chop grind and a state championship run two weeks ago on a highly technical course where little to no consideration was given to the tidal conditions of the day, making a 15km race feel like a 20km grind against the current.

SUP racing in Victoria has two fundamental issues: An overall lack of interest in racing by the majority of the participants of the sport and a historical declining interest in recent years in the official events that do exist.

I know one club in Victoria that is member driven had a number of members at the time raise the prospect of a racing series, but none of those members were prepared to contribute to risk management plans and organising events. They still could have competed, but had an expectation (and an impatience) to have others do the work for them and they simply turn up to race. In the end they chose to run a race series themselves without risk management plans, permits or insurance.

Subsequently, the same club has had no other member approaches to run any sort of race, but numerous approaches to run other events.

Clubs need to manage their risk and it takes time and money to manage that risk.

All Victorian clubs are volunteer based and no individual or group should be making demands on any club to run events and not be prepared to support these volunteer organisations in one way or another.

The best way to overhaul SUP racing in Victoria is three things:
Give the punters what they want and that means the punters need to speak up about what they want and demonstrate the numbers are there to run a successful event.
The punters need to be realistic that events take in excess of 4 months to plan in terms of permits, risk management plans, logistics etc.
The punters need to be prepared to make the time to do some hard yards in the organisation and preparation of the event so they have a safe, insured, compliant, well managed event they can compete in on the day and not expect an event to be delivered on a platter.

If that happens, both Victorian SUP clubs will easily support a greater number of race events.

Those that seem to be the most vocal about demanding events be run in my experience tend also to be the least likely to contribute to organising and running one. The fastest way to paddle less is to become a committee member of a club and spend a year organising & running events for your members.

magillamelb
VIC, 610 posts
5 Mar 2019 9:40AM
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Dynymor said..
I think the SUP scene in Melbourne/Victoria would really benefit from a well run annual big race as described by Jacko. We have the Nationals coming later this year, that will be a good starting point. Politics and personality clashes have fractured the racing community, and allegiances, and poor decision making have resulted in only small numbers now turning up to race at major races.
The state body (Surfing Vic) needs our support to grow the sport and use the depth of (SUP) knowledge that is available to organise a credible and well attended event.
It's time to ditch the negativity (people are sick of it), work together, and encourage people to train and participate in Victorian events.
Pete.



Racing in Victoria would certainly benefit from a 'big event'.

The challenge is finding the people to put the time & effort in organising such. It could easily take a year of planning to create an event that puts Victoria on the SUP calendar.

Find the people to organise, resource & run the event is key. If planned properly, those that want to compete in the event still can, but it will take a bunch of determined competitors to ultimately get the event off the ground with the assistance of one or both Victorian Clubs.

magillamelb
VIC, 610 posts
5 Mar 2019 10:50AM
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paul.j said..
So over the past year or so all i have heard from certain people is SUP racing is dying and no one is doing it anymore but is this really the case?

Do you think this is the case?

12 Towers this past weekend had 240 paddlers in some heavy conditions and ZERO prize money. Maybe the sport is not dying like so many want people to believe and in fact is stronger than ever and all we are seeing is a shift in a new direction or many directions!!

We now have far better competition on the board side and are not just dictated to by 3 or 4 brands, we now have smaller brands who spend real time pushing the development of the race boards with one or two big companies who are still pushing as well and also brands are now just looking harder at where to invest their money into rather than just putting a little bit everywhere and hoping some sticks.

The good events are getting bigger and many sell out while some who maybe have not moved with the times have gone away. Paddlers who just paddle for the money might also have gone but the ones left are the ones we really wanted anyway these are the ones who do it because they love it not just because they could make money.

The world tittle side is still really bit of a **** fight but when they are really less than 1% does this even matter to most normal paddlers, as long as we have guys like SUPracer.com then the side that matters to most will be 1000 times bigger.

Just my thoughts anyway and interested to hear what most people think?

IMO if we could get 3 good events on the East coast like 12 Towers , 1 in Melbourne, 1 in Perth(KOTC) this would push Australia and the racing side to a whole new level!!



The 12 Towers is an iconic event and hat's off to all that make it the deserved success it is, both in terms of participants and those that make it happen.

I think events like the KOTC, 12 Towers etc. polarises the competitors of the sport and attracts them accordingly, hence their popularity.

In effect, more competitors are making the effort to go to fewer events.

WaveScience
VIC, 65 posts
5 Mar 2019 11:06AM
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magillamelb said..

I know one club in Victoria that is member driven had a number of members at the time raise the prospect of a racing series, but none of those members were prepared to contribute to risk management plans and organising events. They still could have competed, but had an expectation (and an impatience) to have others do the work for them and they simply turn up to race. In the end they chose to run a race series themselves without risk management plans, permits or insurance.



So it sounds like the members wanted a race, the committee refused so the members went and did their own thing.

If Victoria is to create an event of national significance, it is more likely that it will be under the power of willing and eager participants rather than a club that only wants to run social paddles.

magillamelb
VIC, 610 posts
5 Mar 2019 11:24AM
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WaveScience said..




magillamelb said..

I know one club in Victoria that is member driven had a number of members at the time raise the prospect of a racing series, but none of those members were prepared to contribute to risk management plans and organising events. They still could have competed, but had an expectation (and an impatience) to have others do the work for them and they simply turn up to race. In the end they chose to run a race series themselves without risk management plans, permits or insurance.







So it sounds like the members wanted a race, the committee refused so the members went and did their own thing.

If Victoria is to create an event of national significance, it is more likely that it will be under the power of willing and eager participants rather than a club that only wants to run social paddles.





Definitely not the case.

The club absolutely wanted to run the event, but that means risk management plans, safety resources, ensuring insurance cover is adequate etc. That takes time to put together.

Any club that doesn't adequately manage their risk is in the eyes of the law, negligent.

The organiser chose to do their own thing outside of the club without the risk management plans, insurance & safety resources in place.

Any event with strong participant buy-in and organisation either with the assistance of clubs or stand alone, has a greater likelihood of success.

Any member driven club will provide what it's members are after provided it either has or can access the resources necessary regardless of whether it's race, social, surf or any other discipline of the sport, but participants need to realise that things take time, particularly the case with volunteer run organisations.

WaveScience
VIC, 65 posts
5 Mar 2019 11:38AM
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magillamelb said..

Definitely not the case.

The club absolutely wanted to run the event, but that means risk management plans, safety resources, ensuring insurance cover is adequate etc. That takes time to put together.

Any club that doesn't adequately manage their risk is in the eyes of the law, negligent.

The organiser chose to do their own thing outside of the club without the risk management plans, insurance & safety resources in place.

Any event with strong participant buy-in and organisation either with the assistance of clubs or stand alone, has a greater likelihood of success.


I'd suggest the key phrase here, whether we are talking about an inactive or indifferent SUP club, a state association (who apparently sees the sport as a "liability") or simply eager and enthusiastic participants is this:


Dump, or get off the pot.

magillamelb
VIC, 610 posts
5 Mar 2019 11:52AM
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WaveScience said..

magillamelb said..

Definitely not the case.

The club absolutely wanted to run the event, but that means risk management plans, safety resources, ensuring insurance cover is adequate etc. That takes time to put together.

Any club that doesn't adequately manage their risk is in the eyes of the law, negligent.

The organiser chose to do their own thing outside of the club without the risk management plans, insurance & safety resources in place.

Any event with strong participant buy-in and organisation either with the assistance of clubs or stand alone, has a greater likelihood of success.



I'd suggest the key phrase here, whether we are talking about an inactive or indifferent SUP club, a state association (who apparently sees the sport as a "liability") or simply eager and enthusiastic participants is this:


Dump, or get off the pot.


Couldn't agree more, but put competitor/participant safety first and do it properly with the appropriate plans, insurance & safety resources in place. There has already been one race this/last summer where safety resources were tested to their limits. Fortunately they prevailed. That should be a textbook reference to any race organiser.

The rest follows pretty easily after that.

paul.j
QLD, 2765 posts
5 Mar 2019 10:57AM
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Everyone also has to remember events like 12 Towers were not always iconic and in the early days it had up's and downs as well but there comes a day when everyone who is bitching has to either get out of the way of put there ego aside.

What i would like to see happen.

Australia gets a Aussie tour of events like below, 6 races with the best of 4 counting to a overall series champ. Transport is no real problem these days with guys like SUP Taxi and with most areas having at least one legend who is happy to drive a trailer full of boards around.
*I would get SUPracer to promote these events
*No prize money, this could change over the years but to start with it is not needed. If the event already has prize money then all good but the focus is more on building numbers and keeping the stoke of paddling at the forefront.
*No upwind courses, The idea is to have as many course options as possible and where possible run with the wind. A flat water race may differ but with the idea of keeping it fun i feel one of the most unfun things to do is paddle into a head wind.
*encouraging the pro riders to attend and working with them to sort some clinics and demos in the days before and after.
*Getting out side help where needed, this is really important and can be for all things from how to set up the event right through to how to start the race. Guys like myself or Troy Pease and many others are always happy to lend a hand where ever needed to help make sure things run smooth. Getting the little things right will really help build the event into something bigger.
*If possible invite all brands, don't tie yourself to just one company invite all brands to come along and set a demo up get them to donate a prize which gives them a tent spot. Don't go thinking you can charge big money as the SUP industry is small and this will kill your event faster than you might think.
*Keep entry fee's fair. If you want to charge $100 then make sure the competitors get at least this in value. Some over seas races now think they can charge $200US or more to enter and then give nothing in return and now wonder why the event is getting smaller!! Value for money keep this in mind as everyone likes to feel like they get it and it leaves a good vibe after the event!!
*Leave politics out of the event!!
*Each state has clubs so maybe get all the clubs in your state together and work together, is this not part of the reason clubs were formed in the first place? If Surfing Australia is to help do not promote this as anything attached to these guys will kill half the numbers and if they also want to see it grow they will understand this and help from behind the scenes. This is not even about what kind of job they do but more that over the years they have been seen as the bad guy so for now take the help but just don't put them as a front man.

QLD - 12 Towers Ocean race
QLD - flatwater race?
NSW - 1 Ocean race ?
NSW - 1 Flatwater race?
VIC - 1 Bay race?
WA- KOTC

SA- i think could be worked in in the future as well as they have had some great races over the years but just not sure if now is the best timing but i am sure someone from SA could advise more on this.

Anyway i could go on forever but this is what i would like to see and feel this is something that could get going quite easy.

Jacko

Nlakes
QLD, 6 posts
5 Mar 2019 11:31AM
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I reckon the BrisSup Coochie Classic has great potential to grow into a highly popular event in the future Jacko ; the paddle over to Coochie island is an ideal location offering both long and short courses , sheltered conditions for the less experienced and some bumps for the long course paddlers in the company of a resident pod of Dolphins . The event was well supported in its first year and very well run by a dedicated club committee which should only become more and more successful in the years to come . Now if only I could remember the name of the old fella who won it last year ?

toxicavenger
3 posts
5 Mar 2019 11:50AM
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WaveScience said..


magillamelb said..

Definitely not the case.

The club absolutely wanted to run the event, but that means risk management plans, safety resources, ensuring insurance cover is adequate etc. That takes time to put together.

Any club that doesn't adequately manage their risk is in the eyes of the law, negligent.

The organiser chose to do their own thing outside of the club without the risk management plans, insurance & safety resources in place.

Any event with strong participant buy-in and organisation either with the assistance of clubs or stand alone, has a greater likelihood of success.




I'd suggest the key phrase here, whether we are talking about an inactive or indifferent SUP club, a state association (who apparently sees the sport as a "liability") or simply eager and enthusiastic participants is this:


Dump, or get off the pot.



Well said and the 'member driven club' being referred to definately did not want to run the event from what we heard as it didn't cater to its base of newbie social paddlers .... stick to what your good at I say and leave the big challenging events to those with the experience and ability to make them happen and do it successfully with minimum fuss or grandstanding ....

magillamelb
VIC, 610 posts
5 Mar 2019 3:57PM
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toxicavenger said..

WaveScience said..



magillamelb said..

Definitely not the case.

The club absolutely wanted to run the event, but that means risk management plans, safety resources, ensuring insurance cover is adequate etc. That takes time to put together.

Any club that doesn't adequately manage their risk is in the eyes of the law, negligent.

The organiser chose to do their own thing outside of the club without the risk management plans, insurance & safety resources in place.

Any event with strong participant buy-in and organisation either with the assistance of clubs or stand alone, has a greater likelihood of success.





I'd suggest the key phrase here, whether we are talking about an inactive or indifferent SUP club, a state association (who apparently sees the sport as a "liability") or simply eager and enthusiastic participants is this:


Dump, or get off the pot.




Well said and the 'member driven club' being referred to definately did not want to run the event from what we heard as it didn't cater to its base of newbie social paddlers .... stick to what your good at I say and leave the big challenging events to those with the experience and ability to make them happen and do it successfully with minimum fuss or grandstanding ....


.. or permits, insurance or risk management plans.

WaveScience
VIC, 65 posts
5 Mar 2019 5:04PM
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magillamelb said..

toxicavenger said..


WaveScience said..




magillamelb said..

Definitely not the case.

The club absolutely wanted to run the event, but that means risk management plans, safety resources, ensuring insurance cover is adequate etc. That takes time to put together.

Any club that doesn't adequately manage their risk is in the eyes of the law, negligent.

The organiser chose to do their own thing outside of the club without the risk management plans, insurance & safety resources in place.

Any event with strong participant buy-in and organisation either with the assistance of clubs or stand alone, has a greater likelihood of success.






I'd suggest the key phrase here, whether we are talking about an inactive or indifferent SUP club, a state association (who apparently sees the sport as a "liability") or simply eager and enthusiastic participants is this:


Dump, or get off the pot.





Well said and the 'member driven club' being referred to definately did not want to run the event from what we heard as it didn't cater to its base of newbie social paddlers .... stick to what your good at I say and leave the big challenging events to those with the experience and ability to make them happen and do it successfully with minimum fuss or grandstanding ....



.. or permits, insurance or risk management plans.


Surely the people who work with paul.j and Peasey to make this proposed Melbourne event a reality will acquire all the necessary permits, insurance and water safety to create a successful event. There is just no point in talking down this project before it even begins. That, I suspect, is exactly the sort of politics and divisiveness that paul.j says needs to be left out of the event in order for it to proceed.

Stumpi
VIC, 177 posts
5 Mar 2019 5:33PM
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Wavescience said

"Surely the people who work with paul.j and Peasey to make this proposed Melbourne event a reality will acquire all the necessary permits, insurance and water safety to create a successful event. There is just no point in talking down this project before it even begins. That, I suspect, is exactly the sort of politics and divisiveness that paul.j says needs to be left out of the event in order for it to proceed."

I couldn't agree more.
I feel there are more than enough willing paddlers here in Vic who will not only support the idea of such a great series but also have the expertise local knowledge and ability to coordinate such an event. Yes, a reasonable amount of work to do but definitely achievable and it would benefit the sport hugely, not only locally but nationally!

toxicavenger
3 posts
5 Mar 2019 4:08PM
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magillamelb said..



toxicavenger said..




WaveScience said..






magillamelb said..

Definitely not the case.

The club absolutely wanted to run the event, but that means risk management plans, safety resources, ensuring insurance cover is adequate etc. That takes time to put together.

Any club that doesn't adequately manage their risk is in the eyes of the law, negligent.

The organiser chose to do their own thing outside of the club without the risk management plans, insurance & safety resources in place.

Any event with strong participant buy-in and organisation either with the assistance of clubs or stand alone, has a greater likelihood of success.








I'd suggest the key phrase here, whether we are talking about an inactive or indifferent SUP club, a state association (who apparently sees the sport as a "liability") or simply eager and enthusiastic participants is this:


Dump, or get off the pot.







Well said and the 'member driven club' being referred to definately did not want to run the event from what we heard as it didn't cater to its base of newbie social paddlers .... stick to what your good at I say and leave the big challenging events to those with the experience and ability to make them happen and do it successfully with minimum fuss or grandstanding ....





.. or permits, insurance or risk management plans.




Not required sorry it was all checked in advance no law against a bunch of mates turning up and paddling down the coast on the bay ... not much different to downwinders that happen every weekend or week or indeed a social paddle on the bay organised by a so called club ! And further the group of mates ensure that only experienced paddlers participate in this great fun but challenging distance paddle something people can aspire to ... they've had a few people that don't fit the requirements that have been politely told they can't particapate ... there was one that was persistent despite his inability to paddle more than a few kms at best and since we are talking about 16-20km distance it's just not safe to allow him to Join....
best to stick to the social paddles on the rivers and calm bays until they can prove themselves.



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"Is the sport of SUP racing bigger now than ever?" started by paul.j