Gulf of Nicoya will Host the First Stand-up Paddle Boarding Competition

Playa Naranjo in the Gulf of Nicoya will host the first version of the O’Pacífico Paddle Challenge, an event that will take place on November 22nd and that marks the return of competitions for the Standup Paddle (SUP), after 8 months of having been suspended as a result of the Pandemic.

The activity -organized by the Costa Rican Surf Federation (Fedesurf) – will take place under strict health protocols after the Minister of Sports, Hernán Solano Venegas, authorized the health guide for holding competitions in this sport.

The modality consists of distance or speed races in which the athletes are propelled with a paddle on surfboards, with the particularity that waves are not required, so the waters of the Gulf of Nicoya lend themselves as an ideal setting for the practice of this sport.

Minister Solano indicated that “this event will mark the path of hope for the competitive reactivation of Surfing with all its modalities and will be an instrument to promote economic reactivation safely on our coasts, lakes and rivers.”

“Besides bringing health and promoting healthy activities among the inhabitants of these areas, SUP can also be exploited sustainably as a tourist attraction, from which hundreds of families can benefit. It is a beginning to position the country as a world class destination for its practice, due to the natural settings and tourist infrastructure”, he added.

O’Pacífico Paddle Challange

The first version of this tournament will feature the participation of four categories for men and women:

Recreational, Touring, 12’6 feet and 14’0 feet:

Recreational (men and women). Distance 6k – Maximum 15 participants per category.

Touring (mixed men and women). Distance 6k – Maximum 15 participants per category.

12’6 foot race (men and women). Distance 10k – Maximum 10 participants per category.

Race 14’0 feet (men and women). Distance 10k – Maximum 10 participants per category.

The president of the Costa Rican Surf Federation (Fedesurf), Randall Chaves, explained that each category will have a limited capacity, as well as pre-established schedules, to avoid crowds in the competition areas. “This event is held as a test for the new competition protocol and will be a role model for future events,” he said.

“The priority is the safety and health of the athletes,” said Chaves, after highlighting the support of the Sports Minister, Icoder and local authorities, “in addition to promoting sports and publicizing the beauties of the Gulf of Nicoya”.

Ancient sport

StandUp Paddle is a discipline -whose origins are found in ancient cultures such as the Mochica, in Peru or the Egyptian in North Africa-, which consists of competitions on water in which athletes push themselves with a paddle on paddle boards. specially designed for surf. The first World Championship of the different SUP Categories was organized by the International Surfing Association, in 2012, in Lima, Peru. The FSC recognizes SUP as one of its main disciplines and it was included for the first time for national competitions in 2011.

Surfing competitions for 2020

With the publication of the updated Surfing Protocol, the authorities request -among other requirements- that competitive events take place on beaches or sites that have access control.

The Fedesurf Technical Commission is currently analyzing several sites nationwide with quality waves for competition that meets this and other necessary requirements. In the coming days, the date of the resumption of competitions in this discipline will be announced.

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