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Traveller

Fun and Fitness Combined at the Whitsunday SUP Challenge this May

  • Written by Joanne Hennessy



Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) for fun and fitness at the second annual Whitsunday SUP Challenge at Airlie Beach in Queensland, between Sunday 8 May and Saturday 14 May 2016.

This unique week-long adventure in the Whitsundays is the only SUP event in the world to combine competitive paddling with island cruising from the deck of a charter boat.

Serious and not-so-serious 'SUPpers' can register to get involved in either the Competitive division to win a $2000 cash prize, or the fun Cruising division designed to accommodate all levels of experience.

Including 4 main SUP racing events and days off in-between for cruising and relaxation, participants can enjoy the spectacular surroundings of the Whitsunday islands and snorkel the colourful fringing reefs between races.

At the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays' 74 island wonders and warm tropical waters make the region one of the best sailing and cruising grounds in the world.

Since humble beginnings last year, the SUP Challenge has grown in size and popularity, bringing on major event sponsor Naish Australia for this year's challenge.

The major global surf and SUP brand will be providing race boards for the Competitive division and a number of prizes.

Whitsunday Escape's Alita de Brincat, one of the event organisers, is thrilled with the partnership.

“We are so excited to have Naish Australia on board this year, as well as our other generous sponsors Bendigo Bank, Wanderlust Bikinis, Fisiocrem and Sorrento Restaurant and Bar,” she said.

“We can't wait to show off our beautiful region and this fun event to our supporters.”

New to the event this year is the skippered boat option, which includes skipper and meals, for pairs who don't want to book out a whole boat.

The 2016 event will also see the introduction of the popular N1SCO race format, including a 14km (or 8 nm) long downwind race in the Whitsunday Passage, sure to test the competitors' skills on the water.

The Battle of the Paddle sprint race near world-famous Whitehaven Beach is a highlight from last year, with time to explore the views of magical Hill Inlet and swim in the turquoise waters.

The week also includes a number of social activities such as dinner at Hamilton Island Marina, along with sundowners every evening for those interested in relaxing with their fellow competitors after a full day.

Whitsundays Marketing and Development's General Manager Tourism, Ms Rebecca Nicol, is pleased the event has come back in 2016 even bigger and better than last year.

“The Whitsunday SUP Challenge is such a unique and exciting new event, and will appeal to both professional athletes and those looking for a healthy active holiday,” she said.

“The Whitsundays region in May is the perfect destination for an event like this, with sunny days, moderate temperatures and still waters.”

To take up the challenge or find out more about this event, head to the website www.whitsundaysupchallenge.com and register now.

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