From Local Affair To Southeast Asia's Largest Ocean Paddling Championship
Singapore Paddle Club was founded in 2004 by a collection of outrigger canoe and dragon boat paddlers. Having been part of overseas clubs and participated in overseas races, founding members Derek Callow, Stuart Smith, Chris Box, Rod McCurdy, James Sullivan, Nick Yap and Mike Ong decided to create a new paddling competition right here in Singapore.
While not blessed with big waves and strong winds, Singapore has a unique marine topography that truly tests one’s watermanship. The Southern Islands create many eddies and tidal streams. The daily tidal current changes mean you could be flying at one moment and going backwards in spite of all your strength, the next.
2007: The Inaugural Singapore Ocean Cup
In the early years, the Singapore Ocean Cup was pretty much a local affair. SOC offered local teams an opportunity to compete against each other, to invite friends and family to paddle and enjoy a weekend together. The SUP Fun Race was one of the most popular categories at that time.
2017: 10 Years Of Growing Ohana
Over the years, SOC grew bigger organically as we invited our paddling friends from near and far to join us each year in Singapore.
We welcomed crews and paddlers from Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and Indonesia to as far away as Russia, Hungary, Great Britain, South Africa, Guam, Brazil and Hawai’i.
2017 marked Singapore Ocean Cup’s 10th anniversary. To commemorate this special milestone, we were joined by Kimokeo Kapahulehua. Kimokeo is a legend in Hawai’i, known for his efforts to preserve and perpetuate Polynesian culture including outrigger canoe paddling and voyaging. He has also hosted many of SPC’s Hawai’i adventures.
SOC has been graced by Kimokeo's presence ever since, as we seek to share and spread aloha with the global paddling community.
The Pros Seem To Like It
Since 2017, global pros like Adrian Boros, Hiria Rolleston, Oscar Chaulupsky, Tupuria King, Corina Gage, Daniel Hasulyo, Bridgitte Hartley and Johnny Puakea have flown in to race and hold clinics as part of the Singapore Ocean Cup. Here's what they have to say:
It was awesome. The thing that I like about this place is that it is so diverse. […] The highlight of my time here is probably to meet new people and getting to see a lot of Singapore and getting out on this interesting water. They told me that it was flat here and hot. But there’s so much ferries and stuff coming and going that brings up a lot of waves and technical surf that I really enjoy. It’s been an awesome race. On and off the water and I would recommend it to you.
It was the second time that I came to race down here and it was amazing. It’s always amazing. The location is great, […] the currents are very challenging […]. It’s a very technical race. It looks flat, but it is never flat […] and you really have to prove yourself to finish. It is overall just a great event to be at. Great community, great paddlers.
It was really beautiful. It was so nice to paddle around the islands. […] There is definitely some bumps to catch if you’re in the right angle. So it’s definitely not flat and I think it is technical. All of a sudden you got a head current coming to you but you still have some bumps so you could see the way that your speed changes along the way and I think if you had like a really good race there will be some serious tactics […]. My first experience in Singapore and it was so worth it.
The people are super nice and the event […] has a really big following. Over 500 people. You have people from all over the world coming here, sort of making this a world class event. The conditions are good. It’s the water, the racing is flat, but it’s not really. There’re a lot of bumps and boat traffic, so I think it’s going to be exciting for people to get out there and challenge themselves with the heat and the competition from all around.
Through COVID And Onwards
While SOC was established as a competitive sporting event, it has always been at the heart of SPC to extend our reach as a paddling community and to spread the joy of paddling – to the youth, fringe communities and corporates – as well as to raise awareness of protecting the marine environment. And we continue to carry that commitment forward.
Today, the Singapore Ocean Cup is the biggest ocean paddling championship in Southeast Asia, open to Outrigger Canoe, Surfski and SUP athletes.
Following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SOC will return to Sentosa’s shores in 2022! We look forward to welcoming local and overseas paddlers and crews back for a weekend of racing, once again!