Stand up paddleboard racing comes to Whaingaroa harbour bigtime this Easter Saturday and anyone, from beginners to experienced paddlers, will be able to give it a go.
The Raglan event is part of a Nisco SUP race series which successfully debuted in Whitianga recently.
And while organisers say it’s a great opportunity for anyone to try out for themselves what’s become the fastest-growing sport on the globe since snowboarding, the fun day will also double as a community fundraiser with all proceeds going towards security cameras to help stop vehicle break-ins and thefts at local surf spots.
Auckland promoter Luke Thompson, a self-described “wannabe local” who was running auctions and DJing at Raglan’s very successful kite jam fundraiser recently, reckons the Stand Up Raglan event could be the first of many run each summer and winter.
While this inaugural event will focus on short, family fun races in the Kopua estuary, Luke hopes to include more serious long-distance paddleboarding in future events.
But meantime the focus is to bring what has become an elite sport back “down to grassroots”.
All competitors, from kids to pros like local legend DK and Armie Armstrong, need to roll up to Kopua domain at 9am and register for the races — which will be ordered according to age and abilities — then they can put in a couple of hours’ practice out on the water before the SUP racing begins for real.
All the gear’s supplied — board, paddle, safety leash and vest — and the plan is to have four or eight boards in a race.
It’s billed as a “fun and fast competition format that’s great for the whole family”, and on shore there’ll be food and drinks for sale, prizes for the kids, a barbeque and music.