Crisis Averted: Stand Up World Series Announces Finalised Schedule, Avoids Clash With BOP
Following an international game of musical chairs and a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing over the past month, the finalised Stand Up World Series schedule for 2014 has now been released. The big news is that the Finals @ Turtle Bay – the Series’ marquee event and the last stop on the tour – has been moved back one week to avoid a clash with the Battle of the Paddle. Other updates include the official move of Hamburg and a potential for Bilbao to get back on the World Series.
However it’s the move to prevent a clash with the BOP that was the biggest and most interesting update when World Series organisers released their latest press release this morning.
This all started when it was revealed the 2014 Battle of the Paddle will be at Salt Creek and that the event will also be changing dates from the last weekend of September to the first weekend of October. Those dates (October 4th & 5th) were claimed by the World Series Finals months ago, which suddenly meant that two of the biggest races of the year were now scheduled on the exact same date.
So, ironically, despite the World Series being the one with a history of date changes, it was actually the usually-reliable Battle of the Paddle that created the clash. As you can imagine, the World Series organisers were less than thrilled about this; their event was announced first and moving to an alternative weekend would mean a lesser event due to other clashes. But the Battle is the Battle, and no matter how much momentum the World Series may be starting to gather, it still had no real alternative but to give way to the BOP. So after many different dates were considered, in the end it was decided to push the Finals one week back to October 11th & 12th.
As you can see in the official news release, the World Series organisers mention the move is “frustrating for us” but concede that giving way to the BOP is in the “best interest of the sport of Stand Up Paddling.”
So the good news is: No clash with the BOP! The bad news: The World Series Finals now clashes with the Molokai Hoe outrigger race, which big names like Travis, Danny and quite a few other international paddlers will be competing in. Though on the brighter side: the later in the year, the more likely that Oahu’s North Shore will get solid swell, which means hopefully we’ll see a repeat of this.
In other updates, the Stand Up World Series Hamburg (aka the SUP World Cup) has now officially been set on its new date and new location, as we announced with much forehead scratching last week.
As for the other events: Brazil is locked, Abu Dhabi is locked, while I assume Huntington won’t change.
There are a couple of other things to keep in mind: The potential event for Australia in May has been totally scratched, with advanced plans to make it a permanent fixture from 2015 onwards. The Chicago event was rumoured to be heading to a new location/date, however it looks like it’ll be business as usual (though it I wouldn’t book tickets just yet).
And, finally, the wildcard right now is the Bilbao race.
In 2013 the Bilbao World Paddle Challenge was part of the Stand Up World Series proper. This year it was relegated to a “Challenger Series” (second-tier World Series) event to limit the Series proper to one big event in each region (and Hamburg gets the nod in Europe). However after the Hamburg date change and the cancellation of the mid-May race in Australia, Bilbao has been touted as a potential Stand Up World Series stop once again. From what we know, the race will become the third stop on the tour if it can raise a bit more prize money, in order to meet the minimum standards (all Stand Up World Series races have min. $25,000 prize money this year, which is pretty awesome).
So yeah, keep an eye on Bilbao and Chicago, but apart from that we’re pretty set.
Here’s how it all looks:
2014 Stand Up World Series Schedule
#1: Brazil (April 5-6)
#2: Abu Dhabi (April 16-19)
#3: Hamburg (July 18-20)
#4: Chicago (August 9-10)
#5: Huntington (September 20-21)
#6: Finals @ Turtle Bay (October 11-12)
And in slightly more detail…
Stop #1: Brazil
Event: Brazil Pro Grand Slam
Dates: April 5th & 6th
Location: Maceio, Alagoas, Brazil
Note: This is a grand slam event (SUP racing + SUP surfing events back to back). The surfing is March 29th-April 4th
Stop #2: Abu Dhabi
Event: Abu Dhabi All Stars
Dates: April 16th-19th
Location: Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Note: This is a grand slam event with the surfing from 11th-14th and a rest day on the 15th. The final four days of the event will be for the racing, though only two are needed, so expect a few rest days all up.
Stop #3: Hamburg
Event: SUP World Cup
Dates: July 18th – 20th
Location: Fehmarn Island, Germany (90 minutes north of Hamburg)
Stop #4: Chicago
Event: Chicago World Paddle Challenge
Dates: August 9th & 10th
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Stop #5: Huntington
Event: Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam
Dates: September 20th & 21st
Location: Huntington Beach, California, USA
Notes: This is a grand slam event, with the SUP surf contest running from 15th-19th
Stop #6: The Finals
Event: World series Finals at Turtle Bay
Dates: October 11th & 12th
Location: Oahu, Hawaii