Guadiana Challenge 2017

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The Guadiana Challenge Event

The Guadiana Challenge is a journey by paddle from one stunning town in the Alentejo region of Portugal, down 32km of gentle river to Alcoutim in the Algarve. 32km is a long way by paddle board, canoe or kayak... be sure you are up for the challenge!

Guadiana Challenge

Quick facts

Guadiana Challenge Quick Facts
1 Date 7th - 9th April 2017
2 Start time 07h30 Registration 09h00 Start
3 Location River Quay, Mertola, Google map link
4 Length 32km Unless you do the 10km option
5 Duration Average is around 5-7 hours
6 Price Paddle only €30
7 Price Paddle + Festival €50

Guadiana Challenge Video

Check out more videos on Algarve SUP's YouTube Channel and subscribe.

The 2017 Guadiana Challenge Photos

Click to view the photos on Flickr.

Guadiana Challenge 2017

The Route

The route is simple and proceeds from Mertola downstream to Alcoutim by way of two official check points. The competitors in the 32km RACE do not have to stop anywhere, you just need to shout your number to the officials as you pass by the two checkpoints.

Checkpoint 1 - Penha d'Águia - 10km

The 32km FUN participants stop at the 1st checkpoint, tick their names off, grab a coffee or snack and head off when you wish. No rush! You're there to enjoy the day. The 10km FUN participants finish at the first checkpoint and you can leave the river on the western bank (right hand side as you paddle down) and proceed to the shuttle buses who will take you back to Mertola.

Checkpoint 2 - Pomarão - 19km

We will be on the western bank of the Guadiana with extra sandwiches and waters. The 32km FUN participants stop at the 2nd checkpoint, tick their names off and head off when they wish. Pomarão has a restaurant where you can buy food on the eastern bank.

FINISH - Alcoutim - 32km

Proceed under the zipline and finish between the green and red markers. Head over to the quay in the middle of the town where we will have tents set up. You may relax and grab a drink or food (there are restaurants close by) while you wait for the shuttle buses to return you to Mertola. The zipline company is offering a discount for us if you have the energy for some more fun!


The Festival Timetable

This year we are putting events on all weekend, so come early and stay late!

Day Time Event Location
Friday 18h00 Pre-registraion Mertola Quayside
Friday 19h30 Dinner* Restaurant Muralha
Saturday 07h30 Registration Mertola Quayside
Saturday 09h00 Paddle starts Mertola Quayside
Saturday 17h30 Last paddler Alcoutim
Saturday 19h30 Prize giving Mertola Quayside
Saturday 20h00 Dinner and Music Mertola Quayside
Sunday 10h00 SUP Demos Mertola Quayside
Sunday 11h00 Talks Mertola Quayside
Sunday 12h30 Race Clinic with Leo Nika* Mertola Quayside
Sunday 12h30 SUP Safety Clinic with WSA Mertola Quayside

*For your own account.

Event Pricing

€30 Paddle only

€50 Festival + Paddle

How to book. Choose one of the three following events priced at €30 per person. Add "EXTRA MEAL" to qualify for the weekend festival (which costs an additional €20. You can add extra meal tickets (i.e. family members and friends) to your order. Kids under 10 eat free, but please let us know if they're coming due to seating. See below for what's included in each ticket.

32km RACE

For Stand Up Paddleboards only.

Starting at 09h00 racers will paddle directly to the Alcoutim finish line, with no obligatory stops. You'll be timed from start to finish, and if you need resupply you may leave replenishments with our checkpoint team. See Route Map for details of the check points.


For all types of paddle craft.

The 32km FUN PADDLE starts at the same time and place (Mertola Quayside), behind the racers. There are two obligatory stops where we will check you off the list of paddlers (please see route map for more info). You may wait for other paddlers to catch up and depart when you wish. It is not a race, it's a fun day to see if you can survive the paddle!


For all types of paddle craft.

The 10km participants start with the 32km paddlers behind the racers and set off for "Penha d'Aguia" which is the same route down the river.

At Penha d'Aguia you may leave the water and there will be transport waiting to take you back to Mértola.

Whats included?

Paddle Only

INCLUDES: return transport for you and your board to Mértola / insurance / medical support / emergency boat support / free event t-shirt / energy snacks, sandwich, water and juice.

Festival + Paddle

INCLUDES: 3 course meal on Saturday night / International DJ / Bar and chill out area / Camp fire / Sunday board demos / Sunday morning talks with international adventurers: / ANDREW COTTON (Big Wave Surfer) / SPIKE REID (SUP Explorer) / KIKO MATTHEWS (Atlantic Rower) / Board demos from STARBOARD, RED, SiC Maui and others / SUP Safety Clinic with the WSA / EXTRA : Race Clinic with SUP Pro, Leonard Nika

The Guadiana Challenge SPONSORS

We need to thank a huge range of companies and individuals who have helped us so much in the preparation of this event.

Title Sponsor

Blacktower Financial Management

Huge thanks to the prestiguous Blacktower Financial Management Group for sponsoring the Guadiana Challenge as "Title Sponsor".

There's no doubt about it - the world of investment and financial planning services is complex. Even if you are financially aware, finding the right products is time consuming. And if you're not, it can be daunting.

That's why Blacktower Financial Management is here. Specialties: Wealth Management, Full Financial Planning, QROPS/QNUPS, Mortgages. Website

Paying Sponsors

In order for us to keep the entry price down, these companies have stepped in to help us by sponsoring with cash. Thanks so much in helping to organize such an incredible event.

Hotel Museu Mertola

Hotel Museu

A lovely hotel overlooking the Guadiana River. This is the official hotel of the Guadiana Challenge and we thank the Hotel Museu for sponsoring us as well. Hotel Museu

Yellow Fish Transfers Algarve

Yellowfish Transfers

Yellowfish Transfers have agreed to sponsor the event and do a special price for transfers from Faro Airport to Mertola. The price is 1-4 pax €110, 5-8 pax €143. This price includes free wifi on board, free toll motorway (A22), and free luggage. Insert the code "GUADIANA" on their site: Yellowfish Transfers

Hoenalu SUP shop


HoeNalu is a surf shop in Marbella and online, specializing in stand up paddle board and accessories. Huge thanks to these guys for getting the word out to our awesome Spanish friends. HoeNalu in Marbella

O'Shea Surf


O'Shea International Surfboard wetsuit and clothing brand based in Abersoch, North Wales. O'Shea Surf

Love Smoothies

Love Smoothies

100% FRESH FRUIT & VEG SMOOTHIES, Blended with Apple juice, Half way to your 5-a-day. Each of our smoothies contain 100% fresh fruit, hermetically sealed and flash frozen. Ensuring that every smoothie maintains all of its nutritional value helping you stay healthy. Love Smoothies

Siesta Campers

Siesta Campers

Siesta Campers rent Brand New VW campers and lovingly restored classic retro VW camper vans from 1968 to 1979. We’re a family business that’s been hiring campers for 10 years in Portugal. Siesta Campers



Leaders in water treatment, Aqualgar works with you in water analysis, water treatment and pool construction. Aqualgar





Participating Companies

These companies have helped us immeasurably by donating their time and resources to make the Guadiana Challenge a bigger and more exciting event. Thanks!

SiC Sandwich Island Composites

SiC Maui

SiC Maui stand up paddleboards from Hawaii. At SIC family comes first, and winning second. In Portugal, they are represented by Nuno of SUPNorte. Come and meet him at the event. SUP Norte



BEYOND BOARDS is Portugal’s representative for the world’s number one Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Brand, STARBOARD SUP. With light, durable Award winning performance designs, STARBOARD continues as the trendsetter and world leader in this category. Beyond Boards

Supxperience SUP shop


Supxperience is a stand up paddle shop both in Lisbon and online. They also teach SUP and host events and SUP adventures. Come and meet Paulo Godinho who will be at the event. Supxperience

Birch Photography

Birch Photography

We are Dan and Natasha Birch, a husband and wife team, owners of two dogs, a cat and proud parents to our baby boy. We are lucky enough to really enjoy working together and share the same passion for photography. We consider ourslelves to be friendly and relaxed and that is reflected in the way we work. Birch Photography

Water Skills Academy

Water Skills Academy

WSA offers instructor qualifications, workshops, mentoring and consultancy across the disciplines of SUP, surfing, lifeguarding, coasteering, outrigger and first aid to support the water sport enthusiast and educationalist in their pursuit of a relationship with wind, water and waves while nurturing a vision of sustainability through responsibility. Water Skills Academy

Physiotherapy Lagos

Physiotherapy Lagos

Tanja Rai, Physiotherapist helps people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. Physiotherapy Lagos

Algarve SUP

Algarve SUP

We love stand up paddle so much that we left our day jobs! Stand up paddle tours and adventures along the spectacular Algarve coastline since 2014. Nick is the owner and organizes the Guadiana Challenge every year. Algarve SUP

Algarve Marquees

Algarve Marquees

Tom Longhurst runs the Algarve's best "tent, lighting, furniture hire and anything else you would want for an event" company. He also organizes the Guadiana Challenge and the Algarve Trithlons. Algarve Marquees

Gustavo Lima Events

Gustavo Lima Events

Gustavo Lima has really helped the Guadiana Challenge for the last two years now and he runs his own events company based in Faro. GL - Events & Business Network

Brawd Mens Health

Brawd Mens Health

Brawd is built on our unique philosophy – our belief that men can lead more fullfilled lives when investing in the body, adventure and the mind. Whether locally at our Lifestyle Centres, or online, we live our lives by this philosophy. Look out for Loydy leading your warm up! Brawd Mens Health

Up Supping Magazine

Up Suping magazine and its website was launched in 2015. They form part of the media industry in Spain and overseas, and represent the evolution of Stand Up Paddle and it's growth all around the world. Download the magazine for free here: Up Suping Magazine

Art in Surf

Art in Surf

Art in Surf is a movement of surfers, photographers, artists, shapers and designers, focused on sharing with the world the stoke that surf has brought to our lives.

Jobe SUP

Jobe SUP

Stand Up Paddleboarding is a magnificent way to reflect your passion for watersports. Take on the SUP-challenge and discover your world with Jobe SUP. Discover that your local lake can bring you quality time with your family. Discover that the canal in your home town transforms into an urban jungle on your SUP. Discover Yoga is not exclusively made for the mainland. Discover your hidden talents. Discover Jobe SUP is available everywhere for everybody! Jobe SUP





Get in touch

Give us a call if you need any clarification on any details about the event. We hope everything is covered in this site but let us know if you need to talk.

Nick Robinson
Nick Robinson

(+351) 916 634 007

Tom Longhurst
Tom Longhurst

English (+351) 933 713 867

Gustavo Lima
Gustavo Lima

(+351) 914 126 151

Guadiana Challenge 2017