Controversy At The World’s Biggest SUP Race

SUP racing rules are suddenly a hot topic for conversation on the beach and online after last weekend’s Battle of the Paddle. The BOP saw a few false starts, missed buoys and other rule infractions that have become common at races around the world.

The main controversy of the event surrounded a wave ridden by Connor Baxter and Kai Lenny during the elite race final. Both paddlers were on the same wave and exchanged fouls back-and-forth to the point that they fell off of their boards. Kai and Connor were not given any penalties after the race. We are not implying that this was the right or wrong decision, we simply want your feedback so we can improve our rules to cover similar incidents. This particular incident would currently fall under SUPAA’s ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ section. Watch the video starting at the 5:00 minute mark to see the incident.

It is important that we continue to establish clear stand up paddle racing rules and systems for enforcement so that athletes of all abilities can enjoy a fun, safe and fair means by which to compete in SUP racing. This incident was well documented and happened to involve two of the sport’s biggest stars. However, there were dozens of other rule infractions at last weekend’s event that went unnoticed. Unfortunately, the BOP is only one of many events suffering from inadequate SUP racing rules and systems for enforcement. Not only can this hurt the growth of the sport, but it is unfair to athletes of all levels.

Our mission is to standardize racing rules to benefit athletes of all abilities. In fact, beginner athletes will most likely stand to benefit the most from a fair, safe and fun competition.

Watch video of the incident and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Please email with your thoughts and suggestions anytime!