The dust has more or less settled from this years 2018 11 Cities event and with it there was plenty of discussion as to its future and indeed the future of SUP. Nothing should be taken for granted, in so much as a sport or an event will take care of itself. Innovation and ways to keep things advancing and interesting, are key factors in any evolutionary process and a brand can of course form part of this process together with the demands of the end-users.
We introduced our Stealth Unlimited board at this years event, paddled by Dutch Champion Janneke Smits and while at the time there was little noise made, there certainly was following the event. The argument goes that boards of this nature are uniquely suited to this event type and that paddlers would cover the course faster and in more comfort, whether completing the 220km non stop or doing so over 5 days, but this is countered with cost issues and ideas of elitism.
Frankly we believe this is a very poor argument when you consider these board types were indeed present in the early days of the sport, for both open ocean and flat waters. Cost is all relative to enjoyment and indeed performance and specificity plays a large part in this. All sports have a wide variance of quality and cost performance related choice and should be no different for SUP.
Around the world there already exist a number of ultra-distance events, originally created for canoeing and kayaking. Stand up paddlers are now not only entering these events, but actively seeking them out, some as extreme as up to 1000miles (Yukon). The fact is, human beings have always sought out challenges and in today’s modern digital world, the opportunity to confront nature, to test oneself physically and mentally, has never been more relevant as a compensation for the world we now live in.
We acknowledge and salute these individuals who seek out such extreme challenges, whether it’s paddling from Spain to Africa, or the length of the Yukon River in the USA or the Murray River in Australia or the 220km 11 Cities course in Holland. We’re here to support the courageous, the ambitious the thrill seekers and adventurers in the pursuit of an extreme life through the manifestation of our designs which reject the rule books and offer up the best of what can be, as part of your water life and living, as is our promise to you.