“Pure Isolation. Total Exhaustion. Absolute Self-Sufficiency.” This is front page message that greets those looking into the Yukon 1000, one of the longest self-supported paddling races in the world. Starting in the Yukon Territories and pushing up into the arctic circle of Alaska, the race is 1000 miles of “whitewater, fallen trees, braided and poorly mapped channels… in the most isolated grizzly and black bear territory in the world.”
This year, two stand up paddle boarders completed the race in 8 days, 1 hour and 42 minutes (The winning Canoe team took 6 days 13 hours.) According to the race rules, paddlers must stop for at least six hours a day to avoid over exertion.
Teams will paddle for no more than 18 hours a day and must stop each evening by 2300hrs to observe the mandatory 6 hours rest. Teams that fail to observe the minimum 6 hours will be disqualified (note that teams are permitted to rest for longer). – Yukon 1000
One of the SUP winners sat down with SUP Racer to describe the experience.
“Amazing,” is the first word Bart uses to describe the Yukon 1000, “but also the hardest paddle I’ve ever done” he continues…”The first 700kms of the 1600km race were relatively easy because it follows the same course as the Yukon River Quest, the next-longest race in the world.” – SUP Racer
This is coming from a man who set the 24-Hour SUP World record with 120.4 miles over that time frame. Taking the next longest race in the world, the Yukon River Quest and passing it off as though it’s a casual Saturday on your local pond is mental. As he continues to describe the race though, he makes it sound like something that might be fun to do…
“We carried a long list of compulsory safety gear that included bear spray, enough food for 11 days and other survival items in case we were stranded. It was all necessary equipment but also very heavy–it turned our 10-12kg pro race boards into near-50kg beasts (about 110 pounds).
This was a very special race but also the hardest thing I’ve ever done on a paddleboard. Funnily enough, as soon as you finish you can only think of the fun times and not the extremely challenging parts. Within an hour, your mind starts thinking about doing it all again some day.” – SUP Racer
In this community, we often interact with folks who are consistently pushing the boundaries of what the human body can achieve. Whether it’s a trick that’s never been landed or climbing the Grand Teton three times in one day, I continue to be impressed by athletes who have a seemingly endless willingness to suffer.
If you’re the type of person who loves Type 2 fun and wants to register for the 2019 Yukon 1000, head on over to their website. Just know there’s a strict vetting process and last year 17 of 32 teams got turned away.