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Paddling news from around the world

Mexican National SUP Championships

Erika Benitez earned a hat trick at the Mexican National SUP Championships with first place wins in the Sprints, Long Distance and Technical races. Benitez has been steadily rising in dominance through the ranks as a young paddler for several years now with impressive placings in top international competitions such as the Pacific Paddle Games and ISA World Championships. Her victories last weekend at the Mexican National SUP Championships in Puerto Vallarta earned her a return spot on the Mexican National Team scheduled to compete at the ISA World Championships in Brazil later this year.

Erika Benitez, Erik Benz, paddling, paddlexaminer, Mexican National SUP Championships
Erika Benitez on top of the podium at the 2018 Mexican National SUP Championships in Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Erik Benz

Santa Cruz Paddlefest

The annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest kicks off this weekend in the scenic locale of Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, California. Paddlers from around the world have flocked to Northern California for what should be a fun filled weekend of wave riding and racing. I haven’t had the opportunity to attend the Paddlefest in person to get a feel for the event, but I like the fact it is open to all ocean going paddlecraft and has a little something for everyone. #bucketlist 

For a semi-real time connection to all the action, I recommend checking out the Instagram feed for my friends at Infinity SUP for outtakes and a bit of shenanigans guaranteed to make you laugh. 

Sustainable SUP Paddles

Colorado-based Grass Sticks has unveiled a range of bamboo SUP paddles. Sturdy and durable for the rugged whitewater of the Rocky Mountains, yet light enough for a day of touring or surfing, SUP Sticks bring a natural look and feel to the fastest growing sport in the outdoor industry.

“We are super stoked to introduce such a cool and unique new option for SUP paddlers,” said Grass Sticks chief designer Andrew Beckler. “This material feels great in your hand and its natural flex delivers really intuitive action.”

For Grass Sticks, performance is key, but it is also about being environmentally friendly. Industrially manufactured composite and aluminum shafts use an incredible amount of energy and place a burden on our environment. Per acre harvested, bamboo produces three times as much lumber as trees, absorbs more CO2, and produces more oxygen than any other plant. Read more about this cool, environmentally friendly development.

Coming in Hot

Stay tuned for Audrey Lee’s exclusive interview with Lanakila Outrigger Club paddlers Danny Ching and Ryland Hart as they endeavor to achieve their best performance as paddling partners in a number of upcoming events.

Paddling Events on the Horizon

Here’s what you need to know.



Is your paddling event on our calendar? Listings are free and always will be. Email us at to have your event listed. We’ll even post your logo to social media!


Matt Chebatoris
Matt is a former national security professional and lifelong adventurer. He has published material on a variety of topics in the foreign policy arena and created PaddleXaminer™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. When not on the water, Matt can be found hiking along rugged mountain trails in the California wilderness. Matt resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California.