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      With the Discovery on the Tour International Danubien 2023

      Mit der Discovery auf der Tour International Danubien 2023

      Crazy: it's Saturday, August 25th, I'm paddling in bright sunshine Airboard DISCOVERY on the Danube and see the port facilities of Silistra in Bulgaria. An 8-week trip on the Tour-International-Danubien (TID) is coming to an end. Since the start in Linz/Austria on July 3rd, 1758 km have been completed in 46 days of travel with a total of 229 hours on the board.

      How does it work? Just get on the board and paddle…

      But one after anonther. The foundation for this year's SUP Ultratour was laid in 2016. The entire TID route - from Ingolstadt to the Black Sea, 2500 km in 11 weeks - was covered in a kayak. Impressions for life, deceleration, friendships.

      In 2018, the fascination of stand-up paddling was added: after learning the correct technique, a 4-day tour on the High Rhine from Konstanz to Basel in 2019 and in the summer participation in a section of the International Elbe Trip from the German Canoe Association from Dresden to Tangermünde 7 days (see Kanu-Sport 9/2019).

      The advantages of SUP over fixed boats came to the fore more and more: simply drive away, use public transport, pump up the board, tie down your luggage and start paddling. Just stop somewhere, freedom (5-day eco-SUP tour on the Rhine, canoeing 10/2022).

      In 2022 the board will be on the TID for the first time, with an 18" (5.40 m) board, fast like a kayak, but also challenging to paddle in waves. The tour ended in Erlau just outside Passau after 7 days of driving and valuable experiences were gained.

      The “TID with the SUP” virus had already taken hold…

      For the TID, however, a different board was needed to paddle with less effort in wind and waves, more stability without sacrificing too much in terms of speed.

      Boards from airboard I already had (amongst a few others...): the ultra-light Hike and the fast Rocket. The Airboard DISCOVERY I had noticed it before because of the good lashing options for luggage. “Shape” very similar to the Rocket and only a little shorter: so it couldn’t be that much slower. In short, ordered the Discovery. All expectations were met: fast, maneuverable and stable, ideal for luggage transport. Waterproof duffle backpack at the stern, waterproof bag at the bow, backpack shouldered when carrying, luggage bag in one hand, board and paddle in the other hand, done. No boat cart.

      Then the (66th) TID 2023
      The start took place in Linz/Austria. Arrival by train, setting up the tent late in the evening, on July 4th. then the first day of tour for me. In 6 days we went to Vienna, rest day there. After Austria Entry into the Slovakia, beautiful Bratislava. On the first stage behind Bratislava, the last two barrages before the Iron Gate, finally the free-flowing Danube, speed with the board 9-10 km/h, sometimes even faster.
      The Danube: constant change in landscape, from a “normal” stream to lake-like extensions, shipping traffic occasionally required attention, but nothing compared to shipping on the Rhine.
      After 3 stages in the Slovakia, 50 km stages on consecutive days, followed in Hungary 7 stages with a total of 275 km, in the evenings there was often goulash… rest days in Budapest and Mohacs. Then entry after Serbia, passport control, i.e. handing over the ID cards. After 2 days leaving Serbia, entry Croatia (1 stage), then Serbia again, lots of ID checks…

      The daily routine: Have breakfast, take down the tent, load the board, enjoy the silence of the morning on the water, paddle, cool your feet for the first time after about 20 km, sit on the board, drink enough, arrive, put up the tent, eat, sleep - repeat...

      In Serbia, on the stage from Dobra to Donji Milanovac, the first real wind day: there was a tailwind, but with more than 20 km/h, and with gusts over 30 km/h, stand-up paddling was out of the question.

      So the paddle (Siren P4) was shortened by one segment and paddled “knee-up” with a paddle. This paddling technique was used occasionally, ultimately crucial to the success of the tour.

      Then one of the highlights of the tour: the Iron Gate: narrow, a lot of boat traffic (tourist boats), a lot of choppy water, so again the mutation from stand-up to knee-up paddler...

      In Serbia A total of 11 tour days without a rest day in a row: eat, sleep, stand-up paddling, repeat…

      Bulgaria: The flood wave from the storms in the Alps at the end of July had reached us, the otherwise numerous sandbanks that were ideal for swimming: they (almost) no longer exist.
      Another 11 days of touring in Bulgaria, without a day off. Unforgettable landscape. Get up early to avoid the wind, which usually picks up in the morning, but also the high temperatures (up to over 36°C in the afternoon): sometimes on the water at dawn, gigantic beautiful sunrises.
      On the eve of the last day of the tour in Vetren there was a wonderful long folklore performance, which is also what Bulgaria stands for. Then the last stage: view from the tent of a long row of boats on the beach, start of the last stage, “recreation tour”, 21 km.

      The port facilities of Silistra come into view, group photos are taken: goal achieved.*
      What about the benefits of SUP? Exactly: half an hour after arrival, the board was stowed away and the return journey could begin: after a day of rest, the TID bus took us back to Winzer an der Donau in 24 hours, where the collective parking lot for the other participants' vehicles is located. Last stage for me: train ride home.

      1758 km - 229 h

      Was that the last TID? Let's see.

      * Note: due to the war in Ukraine, the Romanian route of the TID to the Danube Delta / Black Sea could not be paddled, so the tour ends in Silistra. With the discovery on the TID 2023 page of 3 3 detlef.wehle@web.de At the Iron Gate - stand-up… … and “knee-up”…

      Yukon River Quest

      Yukon River Quest

      715 kilometers of pure adventure - that is the Yukon River Quest. A breathtaking paddle race in the SUP category that pushes its daring participants to the limits of their endurance and wilderness experience. This 50- to 60-hour challenge takes place in the depths of the Canadian wilderness, far from any civilization and barely accessible via conventional roads.

      In the midst of this challenge, Thomas Schillig, an ultra long distance paddler and Yukon connoisseur, ventures into this adventure again. He is fascinated by the aura of the Yukon River and is driven by the prospect of such epic long-distance races. A race that tests not the body but also the mind and makes adventurers' hearts beat faster.
      Thomas developed a SUP specifically for this challenge. You can find out more about this Concept SUP here

      Read the whole story standupmagazin.com


      Greenland SUP Expedition

      Grönland SUP Expedition

      Greenland - Four Stand Up Paddlers, 
      25 days and a land full of Icebergs.

      In the mid-summer months, the ice parts just long enough to allow passage for those who seek
      adventure. For risk, there needs to be reward. The landscapes of Greenland are, while barren, remote and inhospitable, never boring. The icebergs are a constant visual wonderland, ever-present, sometimes menacing and eerie, sometimes gigantic.  However, every day they mesmerize with their absolute beauty and strength. This is a land like no other and the rewards are boundless.

      Pascal Richard, Justin Hession and Jean-Luc Grossmann are Zurich-based photographers and together with Simone Talfourd, a writer from the UK, undertook a self-supported 450km stand up paddle on the Airboard DISCOVERY which was specially developed for this purpose, from Upernavik to the village of Kullorsuaq on the North West Coast.

      Get the 52-page photo book with breathtaking photos now.

      SUP-Reise Mauritius

      SUP-Reise Mauritius

      Ein Reisebericht von Nicole und Philipp.

      Endlich geht es nach Mauritius. Zwei Wochen Sonne, Meer und paddeln.
      Mit dabei zwei Ultralight-SUP von Airboard: Das STRIDER 12'6" Sand und das STRIDER Petrol 11'2". Wir haben beide gut zusammengerollt und mit zwei Paddel in eine Sporttasche gepackt.
      Knapp über 25 Kilo - konnten wir als Sportgepäck bei Edelweiss aufgeben. 
      Die beiden Bretter waren nur 13.5 Kilo aber mit Paddel,Tasche, Pumpe und Finnen sind wir dann doch auf 25 Kilo gekommen. Aber mega - komplette Ausrüstung von zwei Brettern in einer Tasche. Das kriegst du sonst mit keiner anderen Marke hin. Natürlich ein Swiss Brand! Airboard.
      Nach einer Zwischenlandung auf den Seychellen sind wir endlich angekommen.
      Schöne 28 grad warm - was will man mehr.
      Transfer ins Hotel und dann Bretter aufpumpen. Wir hatten nur die kompakte Nano-Pumpe mitgenommen. Braucht dann schon ein Paar Pumpstösse mehr als mit der grossen :-) Finne und Tragegurte montiert und ab gehts. Schon krass wie leicht die Dinger sind. Traggurt kannst du gleich als Leash benutzen. Wir bevorzugen aber weiterhin klassische Leash, diese sind einfach flexibler.
      Als erstes, "grosses Erstaunen" wie steif die Bretter sind. So leicht und trotzdem so stabil. Wirklich chapeau!
      Mauritius bietet sich wirklich an zum Stand Up Paddeln. Die Riffe liegen an den meisten Orten weit draussen und brechen so die Wellen. So fährst du eigentlich in einer Lagune und hast wenig Welle. Klar je nach Wind kann es schon etwas choppy werden aber dies ist mit diesen beiden Brettern gut zu handeln. Kleiner als 11'2" würde ich auf dem Meer nicht gehen. Das STRIDER Yellow 9'9" dann eher für wirklich ruhige Gletscherseen und leichte Personen oder Kinder.
      Wirklich zum empfehlen ist der Blue Bay Marina Park. Der ist fast überall vom Riff geschützt und bitte so entspanntes paddeln. Sehr schön ist auch die Ile aux Cerfs (Liegt auch im Blue Bay Marina Park). Sandstrände, Mangroven, Palmen und je nach Uhrzeit Robinson-Crusoe-Feeling. Im Windschatten der Insel wunderbar ruhig. Je nach Gezeiten manchmal nur Knietief oder weniger, also ein Bisschen aufpassen.

      Auf der Insel ein Bisschen spazieren, schnorcheln und dann gehts weiter. Auf dem STRIDER 12'6" kann man auch gut zu zweit fahren
      Es ist angenehm zu stehen auf den Brettern und macht richtig Spass. Die Stabilität und Breite der Bretter ist natürlich auf dem Meer sehr angenehm. Dass der Geradeauslauf dann halt nicht so super ist nimmt man gerne in Kauf. Für längere Strecken muss man öfters die Seiten wechseln zum paddeln als bei einem schmaleren Brett.
      Vielen Dank nochmals an Airboard.
      Auch zu empfehlen für one-way-touren. Die Bretter kann man so klein zusammen rollen und dann easy im Rucksack transportieren. Der Mann kann dann auch beide tragen :-)
      Für alle die auf Reisen gehen und nicht soviel schleppen wollen.
      Tolle Bretter - tolle Qualität - tolles Konzept

      Amazon SUP Challenge

      Amazon SUP Challenge

      Thomas Schillig from Airboard, together with Tony Bain, forms the reconnaissance team that tests the Madre del Dios river for navigability with stand up paddleboards. - Or are we perhaps the guinea pigs being eaten by the local animals? We will try to find out all of this.

      At the briefing, Carlos and Freya from Amazon Canon Challenge presented the route, which is over 300km long, and explained to us about the wildlife and the upcoming encounters with the local communities.

      Our vehicle is in front of the hostal on time, an hour late. It's an old, rusty, partially welded Unimog. We heave all our luggage onto the open loading area and sit on it ourselves. The bumpy ride takes us through the thicket of the rainforest. The path becomes increasingly narrower until we finally reach our entry point where we unload everything and prepare our SUP.

      Meanwhile Angel has also arrived with the 10m long canoe. He accompanies this expedition together with Carlos and Freya from Amazon Challenge. Angel is from the Shipetiari commune where we will be visiting.
      His job is to ask other communities whether we or future paddlers are welcome or whether we will spend the night on our own. A lot is still unplanned here, because we are on a reconnaissance trip and so far no SUP has strayed into this Amazon region.

      How will we manage the river? We were told it was whitewater level 2-3 on the first day. We have very different boards and each of us will probably have our own advantages and disadvantages, because the river doesn't have a lot of water. There are gravel islands and shoals everywhere that have to be specifically avoided. If you don't pay attention, the board will scrape against the worn stones.
      Tony Bain is an absolute river professional who knows this type of river from New Zealand.

      For the first few kilometers there is one Airboard DISCOVERY certainly a good choice while in the following days Airboard ROCKET would be more advantageous. But you have to commit to a board. This happens again with Thomas Airboard Concept SUP for use which was specially developed for ultra-long distances on rivers.

      The aim of this challenge is not to cover over 300km in a specific time. The main goal of this adventure is to get in touch with the local communities. To find out how they live, hunt and feed. We will visit the Shintuya commune and the Shipetiari commune.

      But we are also confronted with the problems of the rainforest. The search for mineral resources represents a threat. Not only for the forest, but also for local communities.

      You can download the entire story here or order it free of charge as a 24-page magazine in our shop.