Paddlers prone and perpendicular will be battling it out on the bay in March for the 2017 Super SUP Weekend, launching the 26th annual Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing.
Featuring both stand-up and prone divisions, the two days of the 4th and 5th of March will be a frenzy of paddling, with 25 divisions across four disciplines. The stand-up paddle categories will feature two courses, and 11-16-kilometre, pro course, and for the social paddlers, a more sedate 6-8-kilometre course.
The Battle of the Paddle prone race will also be held over two routes – 4-6 kilometres for the iron men and women and 3-4 for the casual paddlers.
Each category features numerous age divisions, with a men’s and women’s open, Over 40 and Over 50 in most, and junior, Under 15 divisions for both social stand-up and BOP divisions.
“We try to cater to a very wide demographic at Noosa,” says SUP event organiser, Paul Jones, “with events set up for the pros, but also an amateur division, tailoring the course to make it more friendly to those just starting out. The natural amphitheatre of Noosa is the perfect set-up for all abilities, and we even have council approval to hold the event in Noosa River, so regardless of conditions, the SUP events can go ahead, no matter what.”
This year saw an unprecedented increase in entries, Jones working hard on his own time and expense to bring his passion into one of Australia’s fastest-growing SUP events. 2017 will take another leap forward, integrating the internationally recognised Webscorer system for event registration and results recording.
“The numbers are up and the professionalism within this competition has got much better,” says Jones. “The stand-up community is providing much more input with this event; it always used to feel as if we were a bit of a side attraction [to the festival], but the community has realised that we aren’t just a side show, but very much a part of the whole festival.
“We only partially used Webscorer last year, but it seems to be the leading format for SUP events worldwide. Integrating the system will definitely take our event to the next level.”
With Paul’s tireless work and the coordination of festival organisers, 2017’s Super SUP Weekend is gearing up to be a major feature on the increasingly popular national stand-up paddle circuit:
“The festival has become part of ‘the big five’ SUP events within Australia – one of the largest in the country, alongside WA’s King of the Cut.
“We are also hoping to create more of a festival weekend for the SUP community, with evening entertainment and so on, encouraging competitors from across the country and internationally to stick around after their race and enjoy all the Noosa Festival has to offer.”
The weekend has received another boost for 2017, first-time festival sponsors, Aussie Soles sponsoring both the BOP and Endurance races. Craig Taplin’s Aussie Soles footwear company has been synonymous with Sunshine Coast summers for many years and in joining the Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing next year, he is gratefully giving back to the community that has been the foundation of his business.
With the scorching summer sun making the Hastings Street bitumen hotter than a Lions Club sausage sizzle hot plate, the welcome addition of Aussies Soles to the festival village is sure to be the saviour of many a tender foot.
Entries for the 2017 SUP and prone events open November 1st, with the Noosa Festival website providing direct access to the Webscorer competitor enrolment. Further announcements will be released as they happen, both on the festival’s social media and Jones’ SUPs at the Noosa Festival of Surfing Facebook page.