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On your marks, get set, SUP!

Get ready for some fast n’ furious stand-up paddleboarding on September 17. The annual New River Gorge SUP Race has competitions, cool activities and rapids aplenty.

Down by the river

As far as events go, this is as casual as they come. A self-proclaimed “grassroots” gathering, the New River Gorge SUP Race is for amateurs, families and experts alike. Just show up and register! It’s held every September at Fayette Station, a sparkling stretch on the New River.

Then there are the races. This year’s competition will have 3 divisions, including one for kids. Paddle your heart out or watch from the shore. Experts will happily answer your questions, show off equipment and introduce you to the sport. It’s your chance to get top-notch gear, too!

Intrigued? Here’s what the New River Gorge SUP Race is all about:

Kids’ Race— 1 p.m.
The newest division! Little paddlers and their parents can register for free. Details are still forthcoming, so check the site periodically.

Attainment Race— 2 p.m.
Mild with just a little pep, this competition is just right for confident beginners. A Class I rapid is the only “obstacle” on this course. Otherwise, it’s smooth sailing. Simply paddle 2 miles upstream, around a buoy and speed back to where you began.

Downriver Race— 3 p.m.
Expert SUPers will enjoy this exciting challenge!

The Downriver Race quickly leads to a Class III rapid, which you’ll have to navigate along with everybody else. From there, paddle 2.5 miles downstream towards the finish line. Two Class II rapids stand between you and glory, though, so be sharp!

A shuttle will pick you up at the finish line and bring you back to the start.

Competition details

Signing up for the New River Gorge SUP Race is no sweat. It’s all about having a good time, so getting started is easy.

  • Register on site: The flat-rate fee is $30 (even if you decide to try both races). Price includes dinner and an after-party at Adventures on the Gorge’s Rendezvous Lodge.
  • Equipment: Racers must provide their own board, which must be under 12 feet, 6 inches long. Use only one board, even if you’re going to enter both races.
  • Safety: Bring a helmet and PFD.

Details for land lubbers

Watching the action is a blast, but that’s only part of it. This event is your chance to learn everything about stand-up paddleboarding. Chat with recreation outfitters, learn about the latest equipment and even get free instruction! Hang out and enjoy a day on the New River.

Starting around 5 p.m., there will be a party at Rendezvous Lodge, too. Racers are invited to enjoy a free dinner, but spectators are also welcome. (Bring money for food and drinks if you aren’t racing but want to come.)

The New River Gorge SUP Race opens for everybody at 12:30 p.m. See you then!

Have you ever tried stand-up paddleboarding? What do you like about it?

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