To the Bat Cave! Head 50 meters (164 ft) below ground and onto Saint-Leonard, an underground lake in Switzerland.
Europe’s largest underground lake plays host to the BAT Race – a paddle board race through near-darkness around a cave that’s 250 meters (820 ft) long.
Here’s how event organizer Benoit Mouren described the event to Sup Racer:
“Accessing this lake is a strange feeling. After you drive to the end of ‘La rue du lac’ (literally: Lake Street), you you pass through a gift shop, climb down 30 meters of stairs and rocks before coming across this amazing underground wonder. Water is pouring from the ceiling. When you are down at water level you can’t see much which helps create a unique atmosphere for paddling.
“It was a friendly spirit among the paddlers with lots of costumes. After the awards ceremony, a band hopped in one of the small boats and played a unique performance as the competitors sat beside them on the lake.
“For most competitors it was their first time paddling on an underground lake. They were like little kids discovering something new for the first time. It was a great atmosphere!
“We also tried something new with a tandem race on Red Paddle Co boards. I’m not sure it has been done before but it was definitely a lot of fun. Then we had a kids race at the end of the day where four brave youngsters jumped on the dark lake and raced all the way to the end and back. It was also really great to see Swiss paddler Anna Tschirky win the open women’s race despite only being 14 years old!”
1st: Jérémy Laugerat (France)
2nd: Olivier Comazzi (Switzerland)
3rd: Nick Crettenad (Switzerland)
1st: Anna Tschirky (Switzerland; 14 years old)
2nd: Tanja Ecker (Germany)
3rd: Sigrid Baumgartner (Austria)