Europe’s largest underground lake hosts stand up paddle board races

The BAT race in St-Leonard
Participants paddle during the BAT race, a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) race of the Alpine Lakes Tour, on Europe’s largest underground lake, in St-Leonard near Sion, Switzerland, March 12, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

March 12, 2022

ST-LEONARD, Switzerland (Reuters) – Competition at stand-up paddle board events is fierce given the sport’s rising popularity, but competition on Europe’s largest underground lake adds another layer of difficulty.

About 60 athletes took part in Saturday’s BAT Race in St-Leonard, Switzerland, as part of the seven-stage Alpine Lakes Tour.

Paddlers compete on the 300 meter long underground lake on an illuminated course, which is a special tour stage for athletes.

“Even if it’s lit, it’s dark and with such a sport we quickly realize that we lack oxygen, we have trouble breathing. But mostly it’s fun,” said organizer Benoit Mouren.

“To realize that you are paddling underground. This is the only race in the world that is like that and people like that originality.”

Competitor Didier Maximilien said: “On the sea we have free sky, here we are in the cave. But it’s great. The setting is wonderful. Its magical.”

(Reporting by Denis Balibouse; Writing by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Mike Harrison) Europe’s largest underground lake hosts stand up paddle board races


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