Lake Tahoe is known for many things; it’s 400 inches of annual snowfall, 300 days of sunshine, and home to the largest alpine lake in the country. Add a new distinction to this list as the destination is now the largest flat-water stand-up paddleboard venue in the world hosting a series of five races starting May 29 and ending September 26.
Recently the Lake Tahoe Paddleboard Association and Ta-Hoe Nalu, both non-profit organizations, combined their stand-up and prone paddleboard events to create the 2010 Quiksilver Tahoe Stand-Up Paddleboard Race Series, with two of the five being elite races and offering a combined purse of $40,000 in cash and merchandise.
It all kicks off Saturday, May 29 with the 2nd Annual Donner Lake Memorial at the West End of Donner Lake in Truckee at 9 a.m. This is a five-mile race and free on-water stand-up paddleboard demos will be available to spectators after the contest.
Over on the scenic East Shore is the Thunderbird Run Lake Tahoe Saturday, June 5 with an eight-mile loop course that runs past Sand Harbor Beach State Recreation Area and turns around by the historic Thunderbird Lodge.
The 3rd Annual Jam to the Dam is Saturday, July 10, 8 a.m., when participants paddle the six miles from Patton Landing Beach in Carnelian Bay to the Tahoe City Dam located at the Gatekeeper’s Museum in Tahoe City. Spectators can also get in on the action as free on-water stand-up paddleboard demos will be available after the race.
The Ta-Hoe Nalu Stand-Up Festival runs the weekend of August 21-22 in Kings Beach with five races, including a 14-foot elite race class and OC-1 Outrigger Race.
The five races conclude with the Tahoe Fall Classic Sunday, September 26, 8 a.m. In its third year, there is also an additional 14-foot elite race class. This event has paddlers going 22 miles from Camp Richardson Marina in South Lake Tahoe, completely across Lake Tahoe, to Kings Beach on the North Shore. Visitors get wet with free on-water stand-up paddleboard demos.
Stand-up paddle boarding is an emerging sport with a Hawaiian heritage, and gave early surfers a higher viewpoint, increasing visibility of what was going on around them, such as incoming swells. Today boards are anywhere from nine to 18 feet with features such as padded decks, one to three surfboard-style fins for stability and equipped with a long paddle.
In Lake Tahoe, stand-up paddle boarding is popular with crossover athletes, especially skiers and snowboarders, along with mountain bikers and runners, as it helps develop a strong core, essential for succeeding in just about any outdoor sport.
Try stand-up paddle boarding with a rental from any of North Lake Tahoe’s equipment shops.