The Guadiana Challenge 2017

The Guadiana Challenge 2017 is from Friday 7th April until Sunday 9th April 2017.

Booking now open

Tickets on sale now at €30 each and €20 for the festival dinner, drinks, free camping and tons of fun on Sunday with talks and other activities! Please select your option carefully, we have three options:

32km FUN paddle. Open to all paddle craft: SUP, kayak,canoe, OC1 etc

Book 32km FUN


10km FUN paddle. Open to all paddle craft: SUP, kayak,canoe, OC1 etc

Book 10km FUN


32km RACE. Stand Up Paddle only.

32km RACE

Huge thanks to for supplying the credit card booking system. More details about the event itself follows below.

Special note

In previous years we haven’t opened the gates to all kayakers and canoeists but we’d love to have you this year. Please feel free to enter and join us for the weekend’s festivities!

guadiana challenge 2017

A Weekend Festival

Friday 7th April (evening)

This year we’ll be putting on free welcome drinks on the Friday evening at 18h00 on the river side quay at Mértola. Pre-event registration will be available from 18h00-19h00 followed by a casual dinner at one of the restaurants in Mertola (we’ll arrange a special rate). It’s the perfect time to network and make new friends before the paddle on Saturday.

Saturday 8th April (paddle day)

Three different paddle events will take place as detailed below. All paddlers start from the river side quay at Mértola for registration:

  1. 32km Stand Up Paddle RACE from Mertola to Alcoutim.
  2. 32km fun paddle from Mertola to Alcoutim (SUPs, kayaks and canoes all welcome).
  3. 10km fun paddle from Mertola to Penha d’Aguia (SUPs, kayaks and canoes all welcome).
  • Registration 07h30 – 08h30
  • Briefing 08h30
  • On the water 08h45
  • Departure 09h00

Please note that the registration price includes the following:

  • Transport provided for you and your board back to Mertola after you have finished (from both Penha d’Aguia or Alcoutim).
  • Snacks, energy bars and drinks supplied in a goodie bag.
  • The official Guadiana Challenge 2017 T-shirt to be worn on the day (please).
  • Insurance.
  • Medical assistance if necessary.

We finish at the town of Alcoutim where refreshments will be available. For those of you who would like to enjoy the only trans-border zip line in the world, we have negotiated a 10% discount. Prepay at €16.20 or pay on the day at €18.

zip line spain portugal

Photo courtesy of

Riverside Dinner on Saturday night

After our return to Mertola, we will hold the prize giving and commence with the Riverside Dinner held on the quay. Live music will entertain us while we feast, and a campfire will keep us warm. However please remember to bring warm clothes for the evening. In case of rain we will divert to an alternative location close by.

Sunday activities

Sunday kicks off at 10h30 with talks in the tents down on the quay by stand up paddle adventurers from around Europe. The pizza truck will be on hand for lunch and Leonard Nika will be offering a professional race clinic (for those of you who want to get into racing or just improve). There is more info at the bottom of this post.

Map of the stand up paddle route

Take note of the landmarks to give yourself an idea of how long you have to go (or print out this map below). The first major tributary is at 5km, Penha d’Aguia is the first stop at 10km, Pomarão is the second stop and easily noticeable at 19km. The Rio Vascão comes in from the right at 22km and forms the border of the Alentejo and Algarve regions. Puerto de la Laje is at 24km with the finish at Alcoutim after 32km.

We’ll be adding more info to this page as we get closer to the event.

Guadiana Challenge 2016 Promo Video

Guadiana Challenge 2016 Photo Album

2016 guadiana challenge

Guadiana Challenge 2015 Photo Album

2015 guadiana challenge

Appendix 1

Race Clinic with Leonard Nika

Leonard Nika: Professional Stand Up Paddler.

  • Top 10 World Ranking 2016
  • 5 Time Italian Champion 2012-2013–2014-2015-2016
  • 3 Time European Champion 2012-2013-2014
  • 9 Years Sup Race Experience.

SUP Race Clinic

12h00 midday on Sunday 9th April 2017 at Mertola Quayside. 45€ (minimum 10 people maximum 20) early booking 5€ discount.

Part 1 Skill Training

  • Optimize body dynamics
  • Paddling Technique
  • Correct postural mistakes
  • Improve turns
  • Improve Beach/Water starts
  • Choosing the right equipment for racing (board, paddle, fins, camel pack, ecc)
    Preparing training routines
  • Nutrition before and after Racing
  • How to improve physical performance.

Part 2 Fun Race

  • Getting ready for the start line
  • Start Fun Race
  • Price giving