March 14, 2020
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Majors postponed: Tahiti’s Air France Paddle Festival and Brazil’s Aloha Spirit Festival on hold due to coronavirus

In brief: The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect the world of stand up paddling, with the beginning of the international season all but on hold after several events were forced to cancel or postpone.

The United States, China, Japan and several countries in Europe including Spain and France have confirmed event cancellations/postponements. And now two of the biggest races in the world have joined that list.

Today, the Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti and Brazil’s massive Aloha Spirit Festival in Ilhabela both announced they were postponing their upcoming events.

There was a lot of buzz around the Air France race – scheduled on 4 April – after organisers switched the event from a long-distance ocean grind to a downwind run this year. Several international athletes were planning to attend, while Tahiti itself is home to arguably the strongest pool of paddling talent on the planet.

The Aloha Spirit Festival is South America’s biggest paddle event, with close to 1,000 competitors across SUP, outrigger, prone, surfski and ocean swimming disciplines.

The Paddle League announced they were working with Air France organisers to find alternative dates in the second half of the season. Aloha Spirit also stated they would look to re-schedule the event rather than cancel it outright.

Israel confirmed its local race league had been put on hold, while the beginning of the EuroTour in Denmark is in serious jeopardy after that country closed its borders for the next 30 days.

Follow our rolling coverage of the coronavirus’ impact on stand up paddleboarding events around the world.