The awaited Midwest Standup Paddle Festival is gaining momentum as it returns to Madison for the fourth year in a row July 11 and 12.
An array of opportunities, from an expectant Guiness World Record breaking yoga class to a six-mile open race, will be held on Lake Monona. The lake has been an up-and-coming hotspot for both standup paddleboard (SUP) beginners and enthusiasts alike.
"Our abundance of clean, flat water with easy public access create idea conditions that make our area a favorite with SUP enthusiasts," said Gary Stone, event director for the Midwest Standup Paddle Festival and owner of event sponsor Paddleboard Specialists, an online mail-order SUP retailer with a retail showroom in Madison. "Paddleboarding isn’t limited to the ocean. People in the Midwest are realizing that they have these amazing resources just minutes from home… and it’s all the more fun and accessible with a SUP."
The event kicks of Friday afternoon with professionally-led instructional clinics with Chase Kosterlitz, president of industry association SUPAA and rider for Bic Sport, and four-time Olympic Paddler Jim Terrell of Quickblade Paddles. Afternoon clinics will be followed by a pre-event party at Hotel Red with an inspirational presentation by pro SUP racer and Werner Paddle team rider Dave Boehne on embarking on your first SUP/surf trip.
The main event begins Saturday with on-land and water-based clinics led by national and local fitness professionals like Mona Melms, Kari Woodall and Suki Warda. Clinics include "How to Choose a Paddle," "Body Mechanics of SUP," "Learn to SUP," and "Parent/Child Paddle." Attendees will have access to board and paddle demos with industry leaders and the largest selection of standup paddleboards in the Midwest to check out, try out and purchase.
For separate entry fees, guests can participate in a six-mile/World Paddle Association sanctioned open race, as well as a two-mile recreational race. Trophies will be awarded to top race finishers, in addition to other SUP product giveaways and prizes.
Gaining international attention is the Guiness World Record attempt at breaking the Largest Paddleboard Yoga Class record currently set at 153 participants. Tyler Leeper, owner of Brittingham Boats, host of the Midwest Standup Paddle Festival, is confident that they will raise the stakes for the record.
"First of all, we have a large and strong yoga community in Madison," said Leeper. "SUP yoga is an extension of that mind-body connection with the bonus of practicing in nature and on the water. And who doesn’t want to be a part of a Guiness record? Yogis and non-yogis will be thrilled to participate!"
The family-friendly event is free and open to the public for paddlers of all skill levels.