September 7, 2013
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Battle Of The Paddle Brazil Opens Registration, Sets One Board Class In Motion

Battle of the Paddle Brazil

Cabo Frio just north of Rio de Janeiro, home of the 2013 Battle of the Paddle Brazil

Registration for the Battle of the Paddle Brazil is open, as the world’s most iconic SUP race gets set to leaves the USA for the first time in its six year history. During the weekend of October 26 & 27 we’ll see the famous BOP format played out on the beaches of Cabo Frio, a quiet surf town just to the North of Rio de Janeiro.

If you’re not familiar with this event then check out our Battle of the Paddle Brazil race announcement from last month. But basically: The BOP Brazil is the same event from California that we know and love, only in a way more exotic location. If you ever wanted a good excuse to visit South America then here it is…

The event is being run by local organisers in Brazil but with close support from the crew behind Battle of the Paddle California. The BOP Brazil team are working with a local agency to set paddlers up with hotels and airport transfers (including board transport), however your best bet with the airlines is to look for cheap deals on somewhere like SkyScanner.

Once you get to Brazil the event will look familiar: we’ll see the Elite Race, Open Race, Kids Race and Team Relay, with the same $25,000 prize money (currently the equal most lucrative purse in the sport) on offer.

Interestingly, the organisers chose to adopt a “one board class” rule after speaking with the top international and local paddlers. There’s a lot of talk behind the scenes about a new SUP Athletes Association forming this month, the early form of which was consulted by the BOP Brazil organisers about board classes.

The Brazilian organisers’ original plan was to copy the BOP California and use 12’6 boards in the surf and 14′ for the distance, but logic prevailed after the athletes asked the BOP Brazil to consider the same length for both races, meaning the international competitors wouldn’t have to worry about getting two different race boards all the way to Brazil.

The only question from there was whether the Elite Race would step up to 14′ or the Distance Race would step down to 12’6. This is an ongoing debate among the leading SUP athletes and the paddling community in general, but in the end 12’6 was chosen for this year given the short timeframe and convenience, while 14′ was kept on the table as a potential option for the 2014 BOP Brazil.

It will be interesting to see if Dana Point follows the lead of Brazil on this topic. Most other major events, including the Stand Up World Series and ISA Worlds, went with a one-class-for-both-races option since their inception. The trend-setting BOP California, however, still splits the boards between the two days, something not all paddlers are overly thrilled about.

Only having to deal with one board may seem trivial to some, but for any serious racer that has to travel, this is huge. It makes things a LOT easier. It’s also important to note that this isn’t “one board for both races” rule, it’s “one board class for both races.” If pros still want to carry around a quiver of specialist 12’6 designs (i.e. one for the waves and one for the flatter distance race conditions) they’re more than welcome.

Personally I would have loved to see things go up to 14 foot, but 12’6 doesn’t make that much of a difference and, at least in my opinion, using 12’6 for both is still way better than having different board classes for each race at the same event.

So there you go. Battle of the Paddle Brazil 2013. Who’s down?

The BOP Brazil is happening just four weeks after the BOP California, and Dana Point is only three weeks away, meaning it’s exactly seven weeks til Cabo Frio. So if you’re keen for a trip down South, click here to register and then start looking for tickets to GIG.

Footnote: In fairness to the organisers, registration has already been open for the last couple of weeks, we just took a while to mention it.