SNORKEL PARK, Bermuda - Welcome to a new kind of stand up paddle board (SUP) race. Bringing in paddlers from far and wide, the race will test their skills and resolve against a grueling 38 mile circumnavigation of the island. From pro’s to beginners, everyone is invited. Those looking for a fun and exciting experience with friends can form teams of 4-8 to take on the challenge as a relay. This attracts more participants and even more spectators (online and locally).
The real race though will be amongst the pro’s, taking on the variable conditions unique to island circumnavigation. In its second year, the race was modified to a contingency course because of brutal conditions. This means that the number of individuals who have completed this circumnavigation on SUP still remains in the single digits. This is a unique opportunity to be one of the first and to be the fastest in the world.
Launching from Snorkel Park, the circumnavigation will take between 6 and 13 hours. Anyone in the world can easily track the racers as they make their way around the island through the online GPS tracker and through the live streaming race coverage. Back at base the paddlefest will be ramping up.
Photos: John Singleton
Geared towards beginners, intermediates, kids, and community, the paddlefest will keep spectators entertained. There will be a short kids race, an intermediate race, rentals for open paddling, sustainability workshops, and vendors providing food, drinks, and entertainment on the beach. Visitors and locals alike will be watching the racers go around the island while enjoying what Bermuda does best - the beach.
The event’s media will be used to raise awareness of plastic pollution issues and simple everyday solutions to the problem. The proceeds will support SUP’r Kids Bermuda, a free youth paddling program wherein one night a week all summer long any kid in Bermuda can come and paddle for free. The key to a sustainable future is inspiring the next generation of ocean advocates and as we know first hand, those who play in the ocean are motivated to protect it.
To date, the SUP’r Kids Bermuda program has gotten 100 kids out on the water. Ninety percent of those kids have never been paddle boarding. Fifteen percent don’t know how to swim. The program is aimed a low income families that don’t have easy access to the water and that may not go to the shore much at all. Not only does the program provide an amazing and unique opportunity for these kids, but it grows Bermuda’s SUP industry from the inside out. Any one of the SUP’r Kids Bermuda participants could be winning the Devil’s Isle Challenge a decade down the road or starting their own watersports business. We hope that this experience on the water can drive not only a sense of adventure in the kids, but also a connection to the ocean not previously felt. Our emphasis on conservation and respect develops a sense of ownership in the island’s youth.
On the plastic-free side of things, event organizers are committed to holding a plastic-free event. No plastic water bottles strewn along the beach, single-use cutlery filling up the trash cans, or plastic bags to carry your t-shirts home. This is a #BYOBottle Event with all food and drink available in plastic-free containers. Water refill stations will be set up for your hydration needs.
The two core principles of Plastic Tides are youth engagement and plastic-free solutions. These two principles hold true for the Devil's Isle Challenge as well. All proceeds from the race will go towards a FREE paddling program for Bermuda's youth held all summer long. We know how much SUP connects us to our oceans and that getting the next generation out on the water is key to its protection.
For more info on the Devil’s Isle Challenge click HERE.