Whether you prefer the sea or you are more of a river and lake person, something couldn´t have gone unnoticed wherever you turn. People. With paddles. On boards. Balancing. Or at least trying to.
This challenging but meditative activity is called stand up paddle (SUP). And its community is growing rapidly – by every stroke.
Stand up paddle is spreading all over the globe, at a fast pace. The home of this sport on the rise is the island of Hawaii, more accurately, Waikiki beach. Derived from beloved surfing, local surfers had to come up with a spare plan on days when there where no waves for them to surf on.
So, instead of balancing on the waves, they tried balancing on still water – using a paddle. And the rest is history. What is so SUPer about SUP?
You can learn it fast, but you can paddle slow. You don´t have to be fit to try it, but you get fit as you do it. You can be 8 or 88. Sounds like a dream activity – practising without practising.
SUP has also reached almost every water corner of Croatia, including river Zrmanja. Few local enthusiasts recognized the potential of this sport and the natural beauty of Zrmanja canyon and with the help and support of different subjects decided to organize an adventure festival – Zrmanja Adventures Festival that just finished last week.
Zrmanja Adventure Festival (ZAF) is a tourist sporting event, which aims to affirm special forms of sports, country and excursion tourism, and it is particularly useful to present the area of the southern slopes of Velebit, the Zrmanja and Krupe River with all its tributaries and the huge karst landscape.
Although a young event, the rising number of 3000 contestants and visitors is mapping this festival on the road of many old but also new SUP enthusiasts. Besides the SUP discipline, this three-day April festival offers two more disciplines for adventurers: Three Rivers Trail and this year´s novelty: RR6 (Run-Rafting), where teams of 6 people combine running and rafting.
In 2018 Zrmanja Adventure Festival and its programme was recognized by WWF Adria, an NGO that deals with prevention of degradation of the natural environment in order for people to live in harmony with nature, making them a part of national campaign “Our rivers, our treasure”, which aim is to protect Croatian rivers from harmful projects of unsustainable hydro power plants.
With no doubt about the catchy nature and the amusing spirit of this sport, set out on a journey in the breathtaking environment of Zrmanja canyon, the only thing you will find is – adventure. So grab your board, keep your balance and paddle on! Do the SUP, it´s SUPer!
PHOTO: Zrmanja Adventures Festival