20 May 2013
This years event saw the attendance of prone paddleboard legend Jamie Mitchell who has turned his hand to SUP along with all the top UK riders to compete in a 10mile course on the River Thames in London.
This years event organised by Blue Chip saw record numbers for the event register to take part in a variety of challenges including a 10 mile or 2 mile distance race followed by a 150m sprint event on one design boards to truly see who was the fastest paddlers.
The main race saw a great start and tight racing throughout the event with battles taking place up and down the fleet. The buoy turns proved very interesting with racers jockeying for position as they rounded the mark with some pushing their luck a little too much resulting in a cooling dip in the Thames. We were able to position ourselves well to capture some of the unseen action whilst we were able to admire the variety of different techniques on display.
The Starboard team did fantastically well with four of them finishing in the top ten in the mens event and three of the top four in the womens.
Sam Ross and Pete Vale also put in sterling efforts on the new 12’6″ and 14″ Red Elite race boards both winning their respective classes and Sam only being beaten by competitors on full carbon race boards. Full results can be seen by click HERE
After the Main event a series of knock out sprints were held on one design boards in front of a large at the Thames Sailing Club. With the only rule being that you had to round the buoy to your left made for some interesting tactics during some of the heats and the final.
With several competitors taking multiple swims it was great entertainment and Sam Ross managed to battle his way into the final and took a solid second place behind Mark ‘Slasher’ Slater after being in last place going into the first turn!
A full selection of photos can be seen on our Starboard SUP UK Facebook page HERE
Paul Simmons has updated us on how his race was after finishing third under four minutes behind race winner Jamie Mitchell:
A mass start featuring a tight bunch of racers on all manner of SUP boards passed without too much carnage thanks to some slick organisation from the Blue Chip team. We were set a ten-mile course on a three lap route starting at the Thames Sailing Club downstream towards Kingston then a turn and back up through Surbiton to the upstream turn less than half a mile from the start.
When the starting horn sounded I went off fast to hit the clean water away from the masses. With the adrenaline pumping and knowing that race legend Jamie Mitchell was hot on my heels, I worked really hard all the way to the first mark. After a slightly cautious turn on the stunningly fast but slightly wobbly 24” wide Sprint, I felt his powerful presence tearing away from the buoy and past me as I lost momentum for a second or two. Heading back upstream I tried to remain in touch but sensed that maintaining such pace would definitely lead to burn out well before the finish. Hugging the bank to avoid the Thames’ flow, the remainder of the first lap was all about knuckling down to a steady rhythm and not overcooking the pace.
Only a few hundred metres into the second lap, Starboard team mate Ryan James powered through like an express train at a pace that I couldn’t match. Through a race a competitor pushing hard tends to have periods of relative comfort, interspersed with varying degrees of pain. As Ryan overtook I was in a tough part of my pain cycle and had no way of increasing my efforts to stay with him. He gradually pulled away and though I recovered and felt pretty good for most of the remainder of the race, Ryan’s superb fitness and power ensured I wasn’t in with a chance of reeling him in. On the last lap I was attacked by some Canada geese, which forced me to stop dead and wield my paddle to defend myself, losing several seconds and breaking the rhythm.
Worse was to come on the final straight, where feeling pretty good physically, I decided to go flat out and try and close the gap to Ryan. This plan backfired with the onset of intense stomach cramps, forcing me to ease off and stand tall to alleviate the pain. Fortunately I had a reasonable lead over the following group of racers so I could cruise towards the finish, by which stage my burning stomach had subsided enough to allow a burst of speed over the line.
Blue Chip did a superb job in organising the event and promoting it well to draw in such healthy numbers, which made for a memorable occasion for all involved. Thanks to Mitcho for making the effort too, must have been quite a bit colder that he’s used to! With no national series, rankings or association interested in racing, perhaps the time has come for event organisers and keen competitors to look at setting up a national series and race association for next season to build on the superb SUP race events we’ve already seen in 2013.
3 May 2013
Made in Chelsea star Andy Jordan recently took a short trip to Totnes in Devon during a break in filming for the hit E4 show, to try out some of the latest Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards available from local distributor Starboard.
Andy is planning to paddle the 200 mile length of the river Thames this summer in aid of the Princes Trust and was looking at what will be the best equipment for his challenge.
Luckily top UK SUP coach Sam Ross was on hand to help refine Andy’s technique as they paddled the 10km distance from Totnes to Dittisham down the River Dart and discussed the best ways to train close to his London home in preparation for the event, whilst also being joined by an inquisitive seal along the way.
After the paddle Andy surprised local teenagers where he attended and cooked the BBQ at an 18th birthday party for Bronti Hackford making it a day never to be forgotten for the birthday girl.
The following day Andy went for his final paddle at Bigbury beach. With the backdrop of Burgh Island behind him (the subject of local boy Ben Howards recent EP) he enjoyed the sunshine in the quiet location before heading back to London after his whistle-stop tour of South Devon.
At the end of the challenge Andy will auction the board off at the finishing event to help try and raise further funds for the Princes Trust.
30 Apr 2013
Hayling Island, Hampshire. 22nd April 2013 – NSUPFEST (National SUP Festival), which ran simultaneously with the National Windsurfing Festival in 2012, will now form an integral part what will be known as The National Watersports Festival (NWF) in 2013.
This year’s NWF is the biggest ever. Started 8 years ago, the unique and highly successful concept of a fun event, in which any novice or intermediate can take part, has attracted other action watersports. NWF is now the largest festival of its kind in the UK and in 2013, will feature Kayaking and Kitesurfing to complement SUP and Windsurfing. Renowned for its amazing atmosphere and sense of community, last year, over 10,000 spectators enjoyed watching hundreds of competitors, of all ages and abilities, taking to the water for the first time or joining in the fun races.
Highlights of the Festival include free taster sessions in all of the featured sports; races for all levels of competitor, with hundreds of fantastic prizes to be won; free tuition from top, professional coaches, many of whom are former British and World champions in their particular sport; two amazing beach parties, with live bands, on the Friday and Saturday nights; demonstrations from the professionals and the Night Watersports event, where professionals race or perform incredible stunts under the floodlights.
NWF also boasts the most extensive trade-show in the country, with the latest ‘must-have’ equipment available to view or demo and professionals of the highest calibre on hand to offer advice. NWF also raises money for W4CR (Watersports for Cancer Research) through a charity auction of items donated by the industry and exhibitors.
As Paul Simmons, General Manager of leading manufacturer Tushingham Sails Ltd said; “(NWF) is a rare opportunity to bring the country’s leading competitors together with recreational Stand Up Paddleboarders. It’s the perfect environment to not only show and demo the latest gear, but also share knowledge and skills with anyone keen to improve. Set at an accessible location and boosted by a great party, the Festival has all the ingredients to round off an exciting summer of SUP in the UK with a bang!”
NWF will take place at HaylingIsland over 3 days from Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September 2013, so save the dates! Online entry opens 1st June 2013. See www.nationalwatersportsfestival.com or the National Watersports Festival Facebook page for more information or to keep up with the latest NWF community news, blogs and articles.