2020 has been a year, to say the least. With Covid, we had no idea how the season would turn out or what the demand for getting on the water would be. We found that demand for getting on the water and staying active was at an all time high for locals and visitors to the area. SUP is an active outlet that can be done at an appropriate social distance, which was likely the reason we saw so many people on the water. There were many challenges this summer for us and all, but also many positives and highlights that we are so stoked about. This makes us optimistic for the future of SUP in our community, Alberta, Canada, and around the world.
For the past three summers we have hosted our downriver SUP race, the Bow Valley Logjam. With Covid, and group activities on pause, we decided to put the Logjam on hold for the year. However, we still wanted to offer our community a way to compete and participate in a fun event. We came up with our version of a social distance SUP race at the Rundle Forebay in Canmore. The race was a 2.7km flatwater race that competitors could take part in at a social distance and at any time they wished before July 31. The race was not intended to have a winner. It was intended to get people out on the water, stay active and relieve some stress from the year. Anyone who competed in the race was entered to win a new 2020 Sustain SUP from Kootenay PDL https://www.kootenaypdl.com. At the conclusion of the race we randomly picked three names from a hat, with one name to be drawn for the SUP prize. Emily Tompkins, was the lucky person to have her name drawn and walk away with a brand new board. She was beyond excited and we can’t wait to see her ripping the water next summer. Even though the race had all the intentions of getting as many people on the water as possible, friendly competition did arise. Strava became the tool used to time and beat the next fastest time. Dan Miller had the top time for men and Brandy Beveridge had the fastest women’s time. Congrats to both for the mind boggling times they posted.
We were also proud to support and partner for the first ever women’s only SUP race in the area called Queen of the Valley. Queen of the Valley was hosted and driven by Julia Barnes from Honubelle https://honubelle.com , Dan Miller from Pure Paddle, Mallory Chapman, us at BVSUP and a handful of amazing sponsors. The race featured a slalom race and a long distance event with the overall winner gaining points in each race to determine an overall winner. The effort and determination of all the competitors was next level and it certainly made us proud and stoked for our community of women paddlers. Emily Louise walked away with the Queen of the Valley crown, evading fierce competitors trying to track her down. The event sold out, and we can’t wait to see how the women’s paddle community progresses and evolves from here.On the gear side of things, inventory of all sporting equipment was hard hit in 2020. Manufacturers did not know how much new demand there would be, and retailers were stuck in a hard place trying to meet the demand . There was a major imbalance of too much want and not enough stock. At Bow Valley SUP, and many retailers across Canada, we were sold out of new SUPs in mid June. Next season looks like there will be more increased demand across the board. If your’e looking to get a new SUP or other gear, be sure to check our website as we are already 60% sold out of our initial pre-order. https://bow-valley-stand-up-paddleboarding-surf.myshopify.com
Our top highlight from this year was that we won SUP Shop of the Year as voted by the SUP community! This was a huge honour that we are so proud of. We have worked very hard in the 8 years of Bow Valley SUP, and to be voted as SHOP of the Year by our peers, was the culmination and assurance that we are on the right path. We love SUP, the community that has been created and the events have emerged. SUP is truly an amazing way to get together with others, make friends and stay active. Keep getting out, pushing your boundaries and enjoying the magnetic connection to the water. A huge thanks to everyone who voted for us, spread the word and showed your support for Bow Valley SUP.Next year we look forward to more community events, in whatever form they hold, growing our community and seeing everyone on the water. Stay stoked and see you in the Spring of 2021.