The latest aquatic craze, stand up paddle surfing, is set to swell with word of the Honolua Stand Up (SUP) Surf Challenge hitting the beaches of the Gold Coast on Saturday 24 November.
Stand up paddle surfing dates back to the 1930's where the original Hawaiian Beachboys used to surf in Waikiki, Hawaii using canoe paddles to power themselves into waves. The sport later died out with the introduction of the shorter lighter boards, but has recently grown beyond its Waikiki roots to become an established sport.
Currumbin Alley will provide the idyllic setting for 32 of the sport's hottest competitors to showcase their unique skills in the inaugural one-day tournament. "SUP surfing has experienced huge growth in recent times and Honolua is excited to be part of it here in Australia, Hawaii and mainland USA," said Honolua Surf Co's Guy Walker.
"SUP offers a broad cross section of surfers, male and female a fresh new way to have fun, keep fit and expand their surfing skills. The Honolua SUP challenge will give the best domestic talent in both aspects of SUP the opportunity to be crowned Australia's first and Ultimate SUP warrior." Similarly, Surfing Queensland CEO Andrew Stark said, "We are very excited about the development of this new discipline in our sport."
"It has taken off world wide and we are very pleased that we will be running the first event of its kind in Australia. The stand up surfing trend is one that is certain to grow and to be able to offer this opportunity for a stand up specific surf event for Queensland surfers is fantastic."
The specialty tournament will open with a 32-field surfing division at 8am sharp on Saturday 24 November 2007. Utilising the standard judging criteria as per the Surfing Australia Rule Book, competitors will also be judged on how they utilise their paddles to push into waves and execute maneouvres.
The action continues with a two-kilometre race involving both flat water and ocean water conditions. The race will be from Currumbin creek out through the surf and around a buoy back into Currumbin Creek around the M1 Hwy Bridge and back to a finish line where a Hawaiian style band will greet the competitors as they finish the line.
Adding to the event's already high stakes is the $1000 prize pool. The top 3 overall placed competitors will paddle away with $500 (1st), $350 (2nd) and $150 (3rd) respectively.
The highest placed junior men's competitor will receive a carbon SUP surfing blade from Pohaku paddles. In addition, Pohaku are offering carbon SUP paddles for the winner of each discipline and another paddle as a random draw prize for non-placing competitors and spectators alike.
The main contest site will be Currumbin Alley. However, depending on conditions on the day the event is mobile from Duranbah right the way through to Southport Spit.