Guadiana Challenge 2017

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

Secret Beach Tours


coastal sup tour

Every day in summer we’ll be running two “Secret Beach” tours a day at the following times:

  • 09h00 Miracle Morning tour (because it’s the BEST time of day to paddle).
  • 11h15 Secret Beach Tour (for those of you who prefer a saner time of day).

Book here

Location of the “secret beach” tour

Probably the toughest part of this tour is getting there! Actually it’s quite easy:

  • Head down towards the beach called Senhora da Rocha just west of Armação de Pera, BEFORE you get there…
  • turn right before where a sign reads “Quinta das Figuerinhas”.
  • You’ll approach a Y-junction where a primary school is located with a sign saying “CRASTOS”. Take the left turn and proceed down the narrow street.
  • The street carries on (don’t turn right at the end) and turns into a dust road after going through some buildings.
  • Turn right where the sign  says “no entry” and carry on down to the beach.

Map of the meeting point

Here is a map of the location and the normal route we paddle. It changes sometimes depending on the conditions.

Photos of the “secret beach” tour

Here is a photo gallery of the spectacular rock formations you’ll see on the Algarve SUP secret beach stand up paddle tour.


What to take with

We offer expert tuition, paddle boards, paddles, pfds (buoyancy aids), leashes and light refreshments however please bring the following items with you:
  • Swimwear, (quick dry shirts are great if you have)
  • Towel (for afterwards)
  • Sunscreen
  • Cap or hat
  • Extra water (for before and afterwards)
  • Warmer/Drier clothing for afterwards
The tour lasts about two hours and it costs €40 per person. If you could pay online it would secure your place:
We look forward to paddling with you!

Faro SUP – paddle boarding in the Algarve capital

Faro SUP paddle boarding in the Algarve capital

Quick details pertaining to all Faro SUP tours.

  • 2 hour stand up paddle board tour
  • Leaves from Faro Marina (map below)
  • All equipment included
  • All instruction included
  • Tour leaves by appointment (please book)

Book Now

Faro SUP video

Here is a quick overview of the Ria Formosa area and paddle boarding on it.

Faro SUP photos

All these photos were taken on our Faro SUP stand up paddle tours which leave from the Faro Marina (close by to Faro railway station).

Faro SUP location

The meeting point is at the railway side of the Marina in Faro, in the parking lot just behind the two marina cafe’s.

No matter what the weather is doing, you can be assured of a nice easy start to your paddle boarding career in Faro Marina’s calm, glassy waters. Even when there is a stiff breeze out in the Ria Formosa, the marina is a protected and safe place to learn those first few moves required to stand up on a paddle board.

Paddle boarding is pretty easy, its just like riding a bike. You need a few pieces of expert instruction, a calm place to begin, a few guiding tips and you’re up on your feet within the hour.

Now you’re free to learn proper stroke technique to ensure you can paddle a little ways and then you could always be off on your first stand up paddle adventure. Algarve SUP offers sup adventures to hidden lakes (far from the crowds), to spectacular coastal caves below the inspiring ochre cliffs which are plastered all over the tourist brochures and out into the rich marine wonderland of the Ria Formosa.

However, firstly you need to master the basics of stand up paddle, and what better place to do it than in a calm protected area? Take your time and enjoy the peace and quiet that this small little haven almost in the center of Faro provides.
Book Now

5 reasons why a coastal SUP tour will blow your holiday away

coastal sup tour

We head out on tours every day and our coastal SUP tour is by far the most popular. But who’s to say you can’t do all three of our tours?

  1. Coastal SUP tour (paddling through cliffs and coves).
  2. Ria Formosa paddle (an idyllic coastal lagoon near Faro).
  3. Lake stand up paddle tour (hidden in a fold in the Algarve hills, this dam is away from it all).

Here are five reasons why a coastal SUP tour will leave you with tons of great memories:

1. Because everyone who comes on a tour with us loves it.

The amount of people who change their facebook photos to photos of them paddle boarding with us is phenomenal. It’s so exciting to see people getting thrilled by stand up paddle and starting to change their lives. It’s a super healthy and fun way to explore any region, even your own back yard!

Coastal sup tour

2. Explore the Algarve

Explore a part of the Algarve you wouldn’t normally see under your own steam. Walking along the cliffs is a fantastic pastime, but you don’t get to see the caves underneath do you? Sitting on a beach is relaxing but not as thrilling as rounding a point and catching your breath as the next little gem reveals itself.

coastal algarve sup tour

3. Learn a new skill.

Walking on water is a pretty cool thing to do. Imagine returning home and saying I learnt how to stand up paddle board?

learn to stand up paddle

4. Introduce yourself to a new lifestyle of fitness.

The sweet thing about paddle boarding is that we’ll give you a taste of a new lifestyle. Imagine paddling every few days instead of going to gym? You’ll be amazed at the things you can do on your board to get fit. We call it Paddle Fit! Complement a sweaty gym session with a fresh outdoor workout. Oh and you CAN do it in winter! You’ll be amazed how snug and warm you’ll be in a wetsuit.

sup for fitness

5. Because everything is included.

Everything on our coastal SUP tour is included. All you need is a swimsuit. We offer expert tuition, paddle boards, paddles, pfds (buoyancy aids), leashes and light refreshments.

algarve sup tours

Join us on a tour before they’re all booked up!

Book now

Oh, and if you want something special, we occasionally plan a full day coastal extravaganza. Here is a taster of that one! Call Nick for more info on dates.

Paddle Board podcast hits the water for its launch weekend

supfm podcast launch
A weekly stand up paddle podcast. What could be better?

Welcome to SUPfm!

Here’s a press release from our new project SUPfm, a stand up paddle audio podcast focussed on a global audience.

If you are a fan of the hottest and fastest growing water sport in the world, then Friday May 1st 2015 is a date to mark in your diary. It’s the official launch of the SUPfm podcast, an online radio series devoted to stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

There aren’t many people who will visit a beach anywhere around the world this summer and not see a SUP out there. Standing on a large ‘surf board’ and paddling with a single long paddle is an increasingly common sight, with water sports companies offering SUP hires alongside their kayaks and surfboards. Unlike many water sports, however you can immediately get out there and experience all the benefits, within minutes of starting your first session. Fans are hooked by the feeling of walking on water and seeing nature from a new perspective, as well as getting a full body workout without it ever feeling like a chore.

The SUPfm podcast was created to help and inspire paddle boarders from beginners to experienced paddlers and it covers topics and interviews with the personalities who are supporting its massive growth across the world.

New episodes are released weekly and span the range of SUP activities, from racing to SUP Yoga, from adventure and exploration to fitness and training, with episodes focused on all levels of skill and experience. We have a bunch of fascinating individuals from all continents lined up to share their knowledge and experience and offer inspiration to our listeners.

The podcast is hosted by Portugal based, South African, Nick Robinson, owner of the Algarve SUP stand up paddle school and co-hosted and produced by Simon Hutchinson, owner of Hutch SUP Wear in the UK.

“Our mission is to spread the love of stand up paddling by inspiring others to take up the sport and paddle more.” Said Simon “There is an exciting spirit around this new sport and we want to share this spirit and excitement through our weekly podcast”

Subscribe to SUPfm

You can do it on iTunes or Sticher and on our website

The launch weekend will offer listeners three brand new episodes, released on Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May.

6 compelling arguments to explore stand up paddle

stand up paddle tavira algarve
Stand up paddling in Tavira, Eastern Algarve.

To be honest, I had a false start when trying to stand up paddle.

A friend very kindly took me out for a paddle in the ocean. However it was a pretty chilly and choppy day and I wasn’t that keen to fall in without a wet-suit. A few months later I drifted down the glassy Ria Formosa, with a wintry sunset exploding under the clouds behind me. Fish darted through the crystal clear water below and I was hooked.

So here is a little tip – start your first stand up paddle (SUP) experience with as little wind as possible and you’ll love it. Here are five reasons to get excited about SUP.

1. Get fit!

If you’re looking for a new way to get fit, you’ve found it! Have a look at any of the people involved in Stand Up Paddle and there’s one common thing you’ll find. They’re all pretty fit!

Stand Up Paddling is a fantastic workout as it excercises all your major muscle groups:

  • arms,
  • shoulders,
  • your core
  • and your legs.

Basically, if you SUP regularly you’ll get fit and the great thing about it, is its a low impact sport. All ages enjoy SUP, from kids right through to the older crowd. No jarring on your bones like running, no full impact like rugby. You can push yourself as fast as you want, or you can drift with the elements, the choice is yours.

2. Soak away the stress.

We all need to get away from the daily grind and SUP is the perfect vehicle to transport your mind into a state of calm. The excercise combined with being fully immersed in a foreign environment can focus you into a near meditative state. The result of an hour’s paddle can be truly and powerfully calming.

3. A new perspective on travel

Apart from seeing your home town through a fresh, new lens, you’ll have a new-found ability to explore rivers, lakes and oceans. Soon you’ll find yourself travelling to stretches of water further afield and who knows, you could end up in the Algarve paddling into exotic coastal caves or stroking down the Spanish/Portuguese border under a zipline.

4. You can compete

People are making a career out of stand up paddling. You can race and get sponsorship like surfing (or football but that’s on another level already!). There is even a Stand Up Paddle World Tour called the “Waterman League”. You could also become a certified SUP instructor or open up a SUP school like we have. Alternatively you could belong to a SUP Club and have fun with new friends on a weekly basis.

5. SUP is a highly versatile sport

Stand Up Paddle has evolved since it regained popularity in the late 90’s. Nowadays there are different disciplines with boards evolving to match each and every one. Check out this variety of activities:

  • Touring. Strap your camping gear on board and paddle off for a night outdoors or simply explore your local dam at sunrise. The possibilities are endless but the nature of the game is to explore.
  • Surfing. Nothing can quite beat the thrill of gliding down the face of a wave, bottom turning and powering off the top. Stand Up Paddle boards are longer than surfboards and have a powerful paddle – these two factors make it ten times easier to catch a wave than a surfer. Use this super-power with respect and share the waves.
  • Racing. If you’re competitive or need a mission to train for, get involved in your local SUP races. You may not believe this but there is already a SUP World Tour. It’s not quite up to the standards of the surfing one yet but it’s rapidly getting there. SUP Racer is a great blog to get initiated.
  • Downwinding. This is can be one of the most extreme aspects of the sport. On a windy day, paddle out into a heaving ocean and paddle with the wind, surfing “bumps” as you go. It’s tough, but seriously rewarding.
  • Yoga. People practice yoga on stand up paddle boards which adds a brand new liquid dimension to the practice.
  • SUP Fitness. There are fitness programmes out there that use paddle boards. Paddle FIT is one.

6. Check out the wildlife

Floating on remote expanses of water may look pretty boring but you’ll be amazed at the life forms you’ll encounter. As you probably know there are some crazy videos on YouTube and some SUP videos are right up there with the craziest. There is even a SUPing pig in Hawaii.

However, you’ll be able to view tons of birds, fish and other interesting creatures. Get a camera and document them all!

Do you need any more reasons to jump on a stand up paddle board?

Stand up paddle warm up exercises

SUP warm up

It’s vitally important to warm up properly before any exercise session, and even though stand up paddling is a low impact sport, there is still the possibility of straining relatively unused muscles.

Robin Williams (no name jokes now!) from the UK takes us through a great set of exercises to prime your body for the often peaceful act of paddle boarding. I’m not sure about you, but I wish I was prepping for another SUP session right now!

The basic SUP warm up

  1. Light jog increasing into a vigorous knee and arm pump.
  2. Heel flicks
  3. Body weight squat
  4. Alternate left and right front lunges
  5. Joint mobilization
    1. Rotation of both arms
    2. Twist the trunk
    3. Rotation of the feet
  6. Dynamic stretches
    1. Leg swings
    2. Stretching the calves

SUP warm up video

After that I would move into some intense shoulder and tricep exercises with the paddle. Any doubts? Join me down in Faro, Algarve for a paddle session.

Huge thanks to Robin Williams for sharing.

Faro stand up paddle board lessons

Quick info

Where? Doca Faro, 8000-541 FARO. See map below.
When? 09h00, 11h15 and 18h30 every day. Please book here before arrival
How much? €40 per person
Tours run by: Algarve SUP (Gravity Rhythms Lda.) CP91A Corotelo, São Bras de Alportel, 8150-029
Make a reservation Call Mauro on +351 968 736 604 or book online.

Book now

Welcome to the Algarve!

Faro airport is your most popular entrance gate to the Algarve. However, instead of pausing and taking in this jewel of a city, most push on to their holiday destination along the coast. We urge you to stay a while and enjoy the Algarve’s capital… from the water.

Stand up paddle board tours

Run by our WSA certified instructors we offer two hour tours throughout the year. Stand up paddle boarding is fairly easy to master and especially so in Faro’s glassy, calm and protected marina.

After a few minutes of expert instruction, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get out into the rich water life of the Ria Formosa. This 60km long natural park and wetland stretches from Faro eastwards (almost to Spain).

The Ria Formosa

Check out this video we filmed in the Algarve’s 60km long Natural Park: Ria Formosa

Algarve SUP’s location

We are based on the southern side of the Faro Marina and operate from the Clube Naval de Faro. Here is a map of Algarve SUP’s base to make it easier for you, however please make sure your make a booking before arriving.

Enjoy something different and get out on the water, to see life in Faro from a different angle. You can book online, send a message through our contact form or call Mauro on +351 968 736 604

Book now

Learning to stand up paddle – great video

Meet Lunden. I guess she’s from Germany or Austria or the USA? Anyway she’s superfit, lovely and is Runtastic’s Fitness Coach & Healthy Living Motivator. That’s quite a tag line but this video is pertinent as I often use Runtastic to track my paddle boarding sessions (until the time I took my iPhone for a swim… but thats another story altogether).

If you’re contemplating getting on a paddle board for the first time, then this video is a perfect intro. We’re about to kickstart a series of “Learning to SUP” holidays, so if you’re keen on perfecting your SUP technique or learning stand up paddle from scratch, then stay tuned to our blog (or give Nick a call!). News on those holidays is coming soon.

Over to you, Lunden!