\ The Top 14 Stories Of 2014 – SUP Racer
December 26, 2014
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

The Top 14 Stories Of 2014

2014 Battle of the Paddle - Starboard - 74

The Battle of the Paddle’s move to Salt Creek paid off (photo: Andrew Welker for SUPracer.com)


And so the Top 14 Of 2014 rolls on. After recapping the most popular races and most viewed videos of the year, let’s check out the stand up paddling headlines that grabbed our attention over the past 12 months.

There were a staggering 431x posts on SUPracer.com this year. No, I didn’t realise I had that much time on my hands either. And with well over 1,000,000 page views on the site, there were plenty of eyeballs to go around. But some posts got a lot more attention than others, so let’s take a look at the Top 14 Most Popular Stories Of 2014.

Our main feature pages – the Rogue Race Calendar, Results by Riviera, the SIC Showreel, the Starboard-powered “SUP-Star-gram” feed, and of course the new World Rankings page – were all some of the most heavily trafficked parts of the site. Those aren’t included in this list, nor are any of our race previews, results, live blogs, photo galleries or videos.

This list is purely the most popular news stories that we’ve posted, ranked by page views.

While the Battle of the Paddle dominated the “Top 14 Races” and “Top 14 Videos” of 2014, it’s also gone and dominated the Top 14 Stories of the year.

It’s quite clear that the BOP was, without any shadow of a doubt, the biggest thing to happen in the world of SUP racing all year. And again, this list doesn’t even include the massive attention that was given to our BOP live blog, previews, results, videos and photo galleries that we posted. There’s seemingly no stopping the BOP.

But what else made headlines? Let’s take a closer look…

The Top 14 Stories Of 2014

#1: Battle Of The Paddle Moves To Salt Creek

Way back in January, SUPracer.com broke the biggest story of the year: That the Super Bowl of SUP was moving to a new home in 2014. This article generated hundreds of comments from excited but cautious fans. The move from the safety of Doheny to the unknown of Salt Creek was a gamble for Battle organisers. However it was a gamble that paid off, at least in terms of the spectacle provided by Salt Creek’s infamous weekend of chaos and carnage. Oh and for the third time in as many days, the BOP takes the top spot in our Top 14 list…

2014 Battle of the Paddle - Starboard - 46

Salt Creek delivered. (photo credit: Andrew Welker for our Starboard-powered Battle of the Paddle gallery)

#2: Dave Kalama “Why Not Inflatables?”

Dave Kalama asks why we’re not all just racing on inflatables. This was definitely one of the more interesting posts to hit SUPracer.com all year. This post also stirred up a tonne of debate about the future of racing and of race boards. It’s well worth another read a few months on.

Dave Kalama SUP

#3: Connor Baxter vs. Kai Lenny at Salt Creek (aka ‘Handlegate’)

The handle grab hear around the world. Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter took their intense rivalry to new levels in 2014.

2014 Battle of the Paddle - Starboard - 80

Kai vs. Connor in one of the most talked about moments of 2014 (photo credit: Andrew Welker for our Starboard-powered BOP gallery)

#4: Battle of the Brands

Well this is just getting silly. We’re only at #4 on the list and we’ve already had 3x news stories from the Battle of the Paddle. This one, in which the raw numbers showed just how dominant Quickblade and Lahui Kai were at Salt Creek, was one of the most viral stories of the year.

#5: April Fools – Kai Lenny Signs With Starboard

The news that rocked the SUP world, that Naish’s loyal superstar Kai Lenny was jumping ship to arch-rival Starboard. It was of course posted on April 1st. I’m quite proud of this joke, which became our most-shared Facebook post ever, even if it did get me permanently banned from the offices of Naish International and cost me thousands in advertising revenue… apparently Robbie doesn’t appreciate my dark sense of humour.

#6: Ultimate SUP Showdown Signs TV Deal With CBS

The Showdown certainly managed to whip up some hype this year. One of the biggest stories to surround the event was the hour-long TV special it scored with CBS Sports Network.

Ultimate SUP Showdown CBS Sports Network

Frame grab from the Showdown’s TV special on CBS Sports Network

#7: The Death & Rebirth Of SUP Racing – Jim Terrell’s 4 Metre Board Class Proposal

Amazingly, despite being posted way back in the first half of 2013, the Mad Scientist’s landmark post still garners thousands of page views to this day. Whether anything comes from it or not, I think this will go down as one of the classic pieces in SUP racing media history.

#8: Kai Lenny And ‘The SUP Movie’ Turn To Kickstarter For Funding

If the Battle of the Paddle is the undisputed #1 race when it comes to the SUP news cycle, Kai Lenny is its undisputed #1 paddler. This is Kai’s third entry onto the list, though I daresay he enjoyed reading this story a little more than the previous two…

#9: The Super Lap

Paul Jackson’s simple but brilliant idea to make flat water course racing more exciting. Apparently this news item was even picked up in the hallowed halls of Red Bull HQ in Austria.

Stand Up Paddling Super Lap

#10: Changes To The Battle Of The Paddle Course Maps

This entry highlights just how powerful the BOP is in the SUP news cycle. Even something as simple as a story about a few adjustments to the course maps managed to creep inside the Top 10 news stories of the year. Staggering. This is also the BOP’s 4th (and, thankfully, final) entry in the Top 14 Stories Of 2014.

#11: ISA Worlds Heading To Mexico In 2015

The ISA’s showcase to the Olympic movement, the World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships, is heading to Sayulita, Mexico in 2015. And as always, SUPracer.com announced the big news first (even if we did jump the gun on the dates).

Sayulita, Mexico

Sayulita, Mexico, where the world will be heading in May 2015

#12: Ultimate SUP Showdown Invite List

The Showdown was the second-most-competitive race of the year. This exclusive invite list was the reason why.

#13: Bailey Rosen Joins KM Hawaii

Everyone’s favourite pocket-sized paddler, Bailey Rosen, signed up with boutique brand KM Hawaii. Bailey clearly has a lot of fans in the SUP community.

#14: Review Of The Quickblade V-Drive

My personal take on one of the most talked about paddles ever released, the Dave Kalama-inspired “V-Drive” (the paddle responsible for that video).

Quickblade V-Drive stand up paddle

So there you go. Those were the headlines that caught your attention in 2014.

Stay tuned in the final few days of the year as we milk this Top 14 concept for all its worth. Next up will be: The Top 14 Most Competitive Races Of The Year.

And if you missed it:

The Top 14 Races Of 2014

The Top 14 Videos Of 2014