Rainbow Sandals Battle Of The Paddle Continues To Set Records; More Than 700 Competitors & 80 Vendors See Opportunities of SUP Lifestyle
Dana Point, CA – (Wednesday, September 22, 2010) — A record number of more than 700 athletes and an exposition of 80 vendor booths is taking shape for the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle, presented by Quiksilver Waterman Collection, October 2nd & 3rd at Dana Point, California. The event will be webcast live both days.
In its third year, turnout for the Battle of the Paddle is proof positive that the momentum of stand up paddling (SUP) continues to build. The pairing of a paddle and an oversized surfboard has gathered a global community of enthusiasts who fully understand the sport’s potential for fun, fitness, and opportunity.
Jay ‘Sparky’ Longley, founder of Rainbow Sandals and the Battle of the Paddle, came to the sport much like any of its present day enthusiasts: in the company of friends. Sparky, iconic Hawaii surfer Gerry Lopez, and Californian board maker Ron House picked up boards and paddles on the same day and were instantly bitten by the SUP bug. The result of that was the Battle of the Paddle that started at Doheny State Beach in 2008, and expanded to Hawaii earlier this year.
“We figured why not create a platform for everyone to discover and enjoy this sport,” says Longley. “It’s good fun, easy to do, great for your health, and a positive way to bring the community and people from all around the world together.”
First perceived as just another board in the surf lineup, it didn’t take long for SUP to branch out in a direction all its own and essentially remove the need for a wave altogether. A testament to that, the Battle of the Paddle is a weekend series of distance and buoy races in conjunction with an SUP exposition; waves are incidental.
Stand up paddling first caught on when it jumped the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to California. But it was its eastbound migration across the Pacific Coast Highway that truly saw the wildfire ignite. In just a handful of years it has become the biggest thing to hit the water from coast to coast and every river and stream between.
Jaime Donnelly, Director of PR & Marketing at Stand Up Paddle Company (aka “SUPCO”) in Laguna Beach, and sponsor of the upcoming Battle of the Paddle live webcast, saw the potential of SUP immediately. Her brother Tommy, President & CEO of SUPCO, opened doors on a 2700-square-foot store in Laguna on April 1st and the business has delivered increasing returns month over month.
“We saw the potential instantly,” said Donnelly. “Everyone can do it, from a four-year-old on the nose of his mom’s board, to an 80-year-old in the calm waters of the harbor. It’s the most diverse sport around – lakes, rivers, oceans, even pools – the possibilities are endless.”
It’s precisely the simplicity and inclusivity of SUP that translates to its success. The ever-growing numbers of paddlers and the infinite number of places SUP can travel to have opened the doors for countless business, event and personal opportunities.
Next week’s Battle of the Paddle will feature the best stand up paddlers from around the country and around the world – athletes like Danny Ching (Redondo Beach), Jamie Mitchell (Australia), Jenny Kalmbach (Hawaii), and Chuck Patterson (Dana Point). But for every pro stand up paddler, there will be dozens of weekend warriors, families, and fitness enthusiasts simply looking to the sport for a fun time and a way to connect with like-minded people.
The free beach exposition will be equally diverse, featuring fitness companies, natural foods, SUP destination marketers, well-known surf industry labels, and dedicated SUP brands.
Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle
Dana Point, October 2nd & 3rd
8am to 4pm daily
Elite, distance, childrens and relay races.
Complete SUP beach exposition, FREE to the public.
Live webcast both days, brought to you by Stand Up Paddle Company