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Lebanon Water Festival’s Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Race to be Held on August 9

04 Aug. 2015 – The Lebanon Water Festival’s stand up paddle boarding (SUP) race will be held at the Pigeons’ Rock in Raouche on August 9, 2015.

Approximately 25 Lebanese athletes are expected to take part in the 5 km course from Ramlet al-Baida to the Raouche Pigeon Rocks. Last year’s winner Ahmad Farhat, an amateur athlete, will take part in the race again this year and has been training to break his own record and Lebanese record in time. The race is open to beginners as well as advanced paddlers, given that everyone can go at their own pace.

Last year, competitors had faced challenging weather and sea conditions, with unexpected winds running at 15 knots, and waves of more than 1.5 meters. “The Raouche race is a landmark race for Lebanon and a real challenge because it does not take place in calm water. It’s an open sea race with waves, wind, rocks, etc. Therefore a lot more fun”, explains Ali Elamine, founder of Surf Lebanon.

Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest-growing water sport in the world and is increasingly popular among recreational athletes. The sport, which is one of the simpler watersports to master, requires mastering balance on a board, assisted by a paddle. SUP also allows surfers to take short waves which can be challenging.

The Lebanon Water Festival launched the first SUP event in 2013 and ever since the sport has become more popular and has grown all over Lebanon. SUP attracts people from 16 to 74 years old as it is a high cardiovascular sport that builds endurance and is environmental friendly. People even use it to go up and down the coast and spend a day out at sea.

“Thanks to the Lebanon Water Festival, more people are doing stand-up paddleboarding in Lebanon. It’s a lot easier than surfing and a lot more attractive for people to try out because it is more accessible. Unless you want to compete and build speed, all you need to know in order to practice the sport are basic techniques. In the last two years, people mainly did it in Batroun and Jiyyeh but now it is expanding to Tyre and Nakoura. You can do stand-up paddleboarding everywhere”, says Ali Elamine.