MÉRTOLA, Portugal - 2017’s Guadiana Challenge exceeded all our exceptions’, explained Nick Robinson from Algarve SUP, founder, and organizer of the successful Portuguese stand up paddle event. Over 140 paddlers and hundreds of spectators came out to enjoy an amazing 3 days of fun in Mértola, Southern Portugal on the Guadiana River.
Stand up paddlers flew in from all over Europe, some opted to compete in the race section others to enjoy a long but stress-free paddle along one of Portugal’s most remote and historic watercourses.
Nick said, “In 2014 when I first paddled the 32km from Mértola to Alcoutim, I couldn’t wait to share this incredible experience with as many other paddlers as possible. Thankfully the event we now call the “Guadiana Challenge” has enabled us to do that. Adventure paddling is surging in interest as many people are packing their boards and heading out for a weekend of fun in nature. This challenge will prove that it’s not actually that tough to paddle much further than you ever thought you could.”
Tom Longhurst from Algarve Marquees one of the event organizers said: “In 2017, we were so happy to see families from all over Portugal travel to be part of the festival”. This year, the event is not just about the, now 23km, race from Mertola, but about showing the public the amazing sport of stand up paddle and having fun at the same time.
You will be able to try out boards from many different brands and meet and watch top paddlers in action. The day's adventures are split into three:
- The 23km race (which professional paddle boarder Leonard Nika has won for the past two years)
- The 23km fun paddle where participants are able to stop for lunch if they choose to and enjoy the stunning unspoiled river.
- Additionally, we have a 10km paddle route. In 2017 Noah (5) and Lily Longhurst (7) proved it could be done at any age.
In 2017, we were overwhelmed by the public's enthusiasm, 100 people enjoyed the riverside dinner which completed a fitting end to the day's events. The party went into the earlier hours with campfires and live music and Sunday was filled with fun events too.
The date is set for the weekend of 21st April 2018, book your accommodation now as the town is almost full. For more info and to register please visit HERE.
To find a SUP event in your area click HERE.