Think of it as crashing the World Series: Stand-up paddleboarding is still so new that even amateurs can race in one of the sport’s biggest competitions, the Quiksilver Waterman’s Hoe.
Held on Oahu’s Duke Kahanamoku Beach, a wide swath of white sand with a reef break that calms swells, the event attracts competitors from as far as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Brazil. This year, the races will swell to more than a thousand competitors in stand-up and prone paddleboarding, as well as one-man and six-man outrigger canoe races. Ten-time world paddleboard champion Jamie Mitchell (a 2011 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year) is on board to design the courses for relay, sprint, and distance races, and all manner of enthusiasts are welcome, from elites to landlubbers.
Meanwhile, families can tackle the family relay or take on races designed for tots. Though spectators from nearby Waikiki hotels gather to watch, the vibe remains decidedly mellow, with live music and picnics on the beach. For visitors, it’s an immersion in what Hawaii does best: ocean sports, sun, and the simple art of kicking back.
Get Planning: Entry fee to race $150 (elite racers) and under
Photograph by Chase Olivieri, Quiksilver Waterman’s Hoe