by Jennifer Holcomb
February 01, 2011
Andre Niemeyer looked at January 29th’s HanoHano Ocean Challenge as a case study for the growth of SUP. You can check out the original article and all the photos on SUP Connect.
Registration for the stand up paddle board race was up 70% from last year to 170 registered racers. The HanoHano Ocean Challenge featured several different divisions, including surf skis, kayaks, outriggers, and more. Just a few years ago, stand up paddlers had the smallest division, with only a few racers on hand. Last year, the number of entrants was roughly on par with other race groups. And now this year, the stand up paddle race was more than twice the size of the largest division of anyone of the other paddle race groups. (View all Photos from HanoHano Race 2011.)
Last year’s turnout was arguably hampered by the poor weather, but not so this year. Despite of the status of a winter month, this year’s January has witnessed an incredible amount of sunshine and warm temperatures, quite regularly reaching the 70’s and 80’s. The day of the race was no exception. Temperatures were in the 70’s and there was plenty of sunshine to call for lots of sunscreen protection. (View Results from the HanoHano Race 2011.)
In light of the weather difference between this year’s and last year’s event, the boost in turnout was likely not only the result of the sport’s growth but also the better weather. Last year’s race witnessed an enormous amount of rain leading to and on the day of the event. The water quality was terrible and competitors dreaded falling off their boards. That could very well have hindered turnout. But nonetheless, with an unprecedented 70% growth in registration, this year’s HanoHano made history on at least two fronts. It was the first time that stand up paddling overtook the other divisions in registration by a large margin. But even more importantly, the turnout arguably underpins the larger appeal and scope of the sport of stand up paddle boarding, as well as its promising future growth. (Join the SUP Racing group on Supconnect.)
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