If you love kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and canoeing, this is the ultimate day for you. It is the return of Sault Ste. Marie’s salute to all things paddle-powered.

Now in its third year, Soo Ultimate Paddle (SUP) Day has planted itself as one of the premiere water sporting events in the state and has helped put Sault Ste. Marie on the map for some of the best water trails in Michigan. It brings races, love for the outdoors and a family friendly atmosphere together for one jampacked day of fun.

This little slice of paddler’s paradise is is put on as a fundraiser for the Chippewa County Community Foundation (CCCF). It originated as an idea to play up to the booming interest in paddleboards and recreational water sports, and a way to take advantage of Sault Ste. Marie’s natural gifts.


This 2019 edition of SUP Day will launch Saturday, Aug. 17, from the friendly confines of Rotary Island, as it has its previous two years. On-site registration for races will begin at 7 a.m. with the festivities beginning shortly after. Registration is available online as well.

Races that require registration include the demanding “Portaging Portage” gauntlet (starting at 10:30 a.m.), Michigan Canoe Racing Association (MCRA) sanctioned events, the land and sea (running and paddling) Voyageur Island biathlon (beginning at 9 a.m.)), and the four-mile paddling based Chain of Islands Race (starting at 12:30 p.m.)

Portaging PortageVoyageur Island BiathlonChain of Islands

Kayak and stand-up paddleboard classes will be available for the three races that don’t involve canoes. Registration for races ranges from $25 to $50, and minors will need permission from their parents to participate.

Portaging Portage

Taking full advantage of the street name, the “Portaging” Portage race sees contestants start at Sherman Park, paddle to Ashmun Bay, portage their vessel and then launch back into the St. Marys River and head towards Rotary Island.

SUP Day offers activities for the whole family. Not only are there the sanctioned paddle races, there is so much more! Participate in guided tours, a lazy river float, and seemingly anything possible that takes advantage of the St. Marys River and Voyageur Island.

Grab your friends and take on the “Beast,” a 10-person stand-up paddleboard. Or try “sinking a battleship” with a canoe-based game inspired by the timeless strategy game. Or if you just want to float, there is a lazy river with floating tubes, life jackets and shuttle back to Rotary Park provided.

Limited kayak rentals will be available on site thanks to Bird’s Eye Outfitters. The St. Marys River will play host to a scenic two-hour tour for just $25 ($10 for youth.) Tours will leave on the hour beginning at 11 a.m. and running until 4 p.m. For more information visit here.

At the main set up state on Rotary Island Park, there will be music, food vendors and merchandise available. Adults will be able to enjoy a beer garden tent courtesy of Michigan’s own Short’s Brewery from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

To register today click HERE! For more information, or to register for SUP Day events, call 906-635-1046 or email the CCCF at cccf@lighthouse.net. All photos courtesy of the CCCF. 

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