March 29, 2016
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Starboard Signs on as Presenting Sponsor of the 2016 EuroTour

France Stand Up Paddleboarding

The classic SUP Race Cup in St. Maxime, France, will be one of the EuroTour highlights (photo: Christine Fuglsang)

The EuroTour made the big announcement last week that Starboard has signed on as presenting sponsor for 2016, giving Europe’s premiere racing series a major boost.

The 2016 EuroTour features 13 races across 13 weeks (though one or two more may be added next week), spanning the breadth of the continent from Croatia to Cornwall, France to Finland and plenty of other cool destinations in between.

The Tour begins in early May and wraps up in late July (see the full 2016 Euro Tour schedule on the Rogue Race Calendar), with the “headline acts” appearing in late May/early June.

While every stop of the Euro Tour will add something to the Tour, it sounds like the “big ones” that the international stars are focusing on include the classic SUP Race Cup in St. Maxime, France (21/22 May), the prestigious Lost Mills (28 May) and the excellent Bilbao Paddle Challenge in the Basque Country of Spain (4/5 June). These three headline events run back-to-back, which will make it easy for the world’s best to plan their Euro summer.

Other stops I’m personally looking forward to include the Port Adriano SUP Race on the Spanish island of Mallorca (May 14/15), the event in Poreč, Croatia (18/19 June), which looks more like a holiday than a race, the trip to Finland a couple of weeks later, a stop in the official European Capital of Culture, San Sebastian (June 11/12), plus a run of dates through Italy in July.

Port Adriano SUP Race on the Spanish island of Mallorca (photo: Jesus Renedo)

Port Adriano SUP Race on the Spanish island of Mallorca (photo: Jesus Renedo)

The 2016 EuroTour is being managed by veteran Spanish paddler Belar Diaz, who’s working with more than a dozen of the best events across the continent — our original 2016 EuroTour announcement has all the details.

The simple goal of the EuroTour is to promote the sport of stand up paddling in Europe by offering the paddlers a competitive, well run series (the Euro Tour Leaderboard will return again this year), as well as giving the brands exposure through consistent media production across each event. Though the biggest goal is to help grow the local paddling communities across the continent — the Euro Tour isn’t just about the pros, it’s for all paddlers of all levels.

This new deal with Starboard will most likely go towards funding the media production, as well as the 10,000 odd miles the official EuroTour Trailer is going to cover. In what will surely be a major sigh of relief for the athletes, the EuroTour van/trailer will ferry the race boards between each event free of charge — anyone that’s ever tried to fly with a race board will know how big of a deal this is.

Europe in the summer time is one of the funnest places on earth, and every season the continent attracts a bunch of the world’s best. Virtually every big name in the sport has stood on a European race podium at one stage or another. While this is only the second “official” year of the Tour, it actually has roots stretching back half a decade to the original, loose collection of summer races in France, Spain and Germany.

Connor Baxter and Sonni Honscheid are the defending EuroTour champions, and both will return to the continent in mid-May to battle it out once more. But they won’t have it easy — apart from the dozens of local dark horses, I estimate we’ll probably see 24 of the world’s top 30 men on the EuroTour this year.

It’s going to be a big summer of SUP in Europe…

Euro Tour stand up paddleboarding