13 Oct 2014

Charlie Jones – 2014 Battle of the Paddle

Team rider Charlie Jones was one of several UK riders to make their way out to Salt Creek California for the 2014 Battle of the Paddle, since getting back Charlie has

Elite Race: So the way the elite race worked was you were either put into heat 1 or heat 2 and you had to come over the line in the top half of your heat to make it into the elite final. So I was in heat 1. So the race start came round fast and nerves had kicked in! I’m standing on the start line watching head high plus sets come crashing into the beach and looking to my left and right and seeing paddlers like Kai Lenny and Danny Ching, it was a tad intimidating!

Luckily they started us in a bit of a lull, so I managed to get out through the surf without any dramas but was left in the wash of the front pack, which led to me going in a few times, putting me near the back of the heat. I managed to make up a few places before the first buoy, and as we turned around the buoy and started heading back towards the beach, I could see and hear this huge set crashing into the beach! I was praying for a lull as I turned the inside buoy and started heading back through the surf and ended up tacking one wave on the head which lost me a bit of time, finally managing to paddle in to the beach run. The 2nd and 3rd lap stayed the same, I managed to ride a nice head high wave into the beach with 2 other guys on the 3rd lap, which felt good when you’re flying in on a wave with hundreds of people looking at you! 

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On the final lap I managed to catch a couple of guys and then got pounded by a massive set coming into the beach! I came across the line somewhere towards the back of the heat. Not the result I was hoping for but I still had so much fun racing in those conditions! 

Distance Race: This was a 10 mile course set out, so we only had to play in the waves twice, which was good news for me! 

I managed to get a good start making it over the first few waves putting me in a good position just behind the front train lead by Casper, I managed to stay in this position for most of the race with a few people coming past me like Ryan James on the 2nd lap, he had a nightmare start getting stuck in the shore break with loads of other racers, and then came flying past me like I was standing still! 

I managed to catch a nice wave into the beach to come across the line in 53rd overall, including the unlimited and all the 14″s who started before us, I finished 6th in the 19 to 29yr old age group and not sure where I came in the 12’6 class but was somewhere in the top half which I was happy with!

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So it was an epic event and a good learning curve! 

Charlie

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8 Oct 2014

Charlie Jones – 2014 SUP 11 City Tour

Last year’s 11 city tour went really well for me, I finished in 15th and I had my mind set on a top ten finish at this year’s event. I was racing on the 14′ x 24″ wide Starboard sprint so I had really good fast board for this event. At the start of day one my goal looked possible, I had an amazing start and managed to get off the line at the front along with Clubvass friend Jay Haysey and the top 3 Peter Bartl, Bart de Zwart and Martjin van Deth. Jay and I kept them in site for the first 10km and managed to get a gap to the group behind us.

At this point I thought a top ten finish could happen, but then as we hit the 16km my shoulder started playing up due to an ongoing injury, and by 19km I could barely paddle on my right side. This was a huge blow as I still felt like I had loads of energy left in the tank! So unfortunately I was now out of the race as I had to stop at the 26km rest stop.

By the start of day two I’d see two physio’s and they had done a really good job on my shoulder and I felt like I could race. So once and again I got a really good start and me and Jay we’re even in 1st and 2nd for about 30 meters until the top 3, Bart, Peter and Martjin came flying past us. I managed to get away from Jay a little and he ended up leading an 8 man draft train. I managed to stay in 4 for about 2.5km and then fell in and ended up at the back of the draft train Jay was leading. 

Charlie 11 cities

The train stayed the same until we got to a big lake just before the rest stop. The train got broken up and I went really wide to try and then head directly downwind to overtake as you can see in this picture below.

You can also see the top 3 just in front of us! Unfortunately this didn’t pay off and I fell behind the rest of the guys. But in the afternoon I was able to make up some time and finished in 8th on day two. 

Day 3 went pretty similar only I felt a bit weak in the afternoon and finished in 11th or 12th. That night I didn’t feel too great and wasn’t able to eat that much. The next morning I felt even worse and could hardly eat anything, but I tried to race anyway. But only 3 km in and I had to stop I felt really ill and weak. I went to the doctor as I thought it might have been something to do with this rash on my forehead that appeared the week before the race, so the doctor had a look and it turns out I’ve got shingles! So not ideal when trying to complete a 220km race, so that was the event over for me.

I still had a great time at the event and met loads of awesome people, the level was really high this year and the competition between the top 15 guys was really intense all week long! Huge respect for everyone who competed this year! And even more respect for the crazy racers that did the 220km non-stop! I can’t even imagine trying to do this race non-stop!

So all in all not the best event for me! But I will be back next year.  For now I’ve got B.O.P coming up so I need to get myself recovered in time for that!  

Thanks to Bray Lake Watersports and Starboard Sup UK for their support.

Also can’t forget my Dad for supporting me all week! 

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15 Jul 2014

SUP in Vassiliki with Ocean Elements

Vassiliki is well known as one of Europe’s windsurfing hot-spots, but early morning in Vass provides us with some great Stand Up Paddle Boarding conditions. Andy Ridgeway, Ocean Elements private instructor in Vass, takes us through an average SUP morning where he cruises around the bay on one of our Inflatable Starboard Astro-Touring SUPs and Red Paddles.

‘The sunrise brings breath taking beauty over early morning Vassiliki bay. Before the sea breeze begins to blow, you are gifted with a mirror like surface on mill pond water that is tinted with the most breath taking shade of blue. Silhouettes of various groups of paddle boarders and moored yachts towards the harbour create an otherwise vacant bay.

So why does this appeal to the stand up paddle boarder? It doesn’t matter whether it is your first time setting eyes on a paddle board or a seasoned expert; the conditions are perfect. For beginners it couldn’t be any more forgiving. The super flat water and quiet, relaxing setting makes it the ideal opportunity to work on getting to grips with discovering the sport. For the more experienced paddler, you are able to practice your techniques uninterrupted from the elements whilst escaping from the midday heat. This is when I take the opportunity to run my stand up paddle board Sunrise Sessions.

For the past 4 years I’ve been gifted with the chance to work at Ocean Elements, watching centre grow, improve and expand from an action packed fossil in Vassiliki bay, Lefkada.  During this time the claim that paddle boarding is the current fastest growing sport worldwide becomes blatant fact. Each year I see more and more people taking to the water on SUP’s and more and more variety of confidence, age, gender, shape and size of people discovering paddle boarding as their chosen choice of discipline. The simple reason being that it is just so incredibly accessible. Anybody is able to learn. After receiving my BSUPA instructors ticket from the supping legend Sam Ross I have been teaching paddle boarding in the mornings and taking people out into the bay for the past couple of years and I am yet to find somebody who isn’t able to make use of the SUP’s. But most of all, I am yet to find somebody who hasn’t loved the experience and enjoyed themselves. 

So what does stand up paddle boarding mean to me? Easy to learn, hard to master. The most relaxing experience, to the hardest of work outs. A social activity to a competitive race. I get to choose. It’s impossible not to get addicted to it and that’s exactly what has happened to me. From the moment I stepped on a paddle board it caught me hook, line and sinker.

Andy’s Private Coaching
Ocean Elements Vassiliki

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Vassiliki from Ocean Elements on Vimeo.

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