Great race in some pretty tough conditions, with torrential rain throughout the 16km distance race through the centre of the city of London. Starboard SUP team rider Ben Pye took the win after working with Ben Fisher and PJ Simmons for the first half of the race, he broke away and paddled the rest of the 16km race out front on his own to finish in a time of 1hour 28 minutes. He paddled a Starboard 14’ x 21.5” Sprint.
“ Stoked to take out the London Crossing this weekend in #London 🥇. Racing right through the centre of London. So good to feel the training finally pay off. “
“Huge thanks to Active 360 for putting on a great event, it will be an unforgettable race for me, paddling through the centre of London. A very rare opportunity”
“Massive thanks to all my sponsors and support team for their continued help, I couldn’t do it without them all. Especially Blue Chip Board Store in London for sorting me out last minute with a Waist Leash, the biggest inflatable SUP store in the UK stocking the best Starboard inflatables and Hard boards. Check them out online. Or instore in Kingston”
So this year so far has been the best race season yet of my career. I have travelled lots to race abroad, and also raced a lot around the UK. It has been a blast and it’s not over yet.
So on the 10th of May, i received a message from Glenn Eldridge, the Team England SUP team manager. I was given the opportunity to represent my country for the first time in my career as a senior. In 2015 I represented the UK at the N1SCO World Championships, but this was next level. I was going to be racing in Peniche, Portugal at the European Championships. Pretty cool right? a dream come true. It was an incredible week, with the event running at the famous surf break of Supertubos in Peniche.
I raced the technical and the distance race, with the technical being a 4km race, in and out of the pumping overhead surf at Supertubos, with a BOP style race format, where i placed 9th, which is probably my best result ever. The distance race was a 16km downwind course, from Berlingas Island back to the mainland, but unfortunately the conditions didn’t play ball, and it ended up being a ‘nowinder’ which made it even harder with the heat, and it being a long distance.
So that was my experience of my first European Championships, I was fired up for more international competition.
After that, the next event for me was the qualifiers for the ISA Worlds in Denmark. I got a 3rd in the long distance to Ollie Shilston in 1st and Glenn Eldridge in 2nd. I then battled the whole of the technical race with Damian Warner to just miss out on 2nd up the beach. Glenn took the win. So that was my Team England qualifiers over, i got a third both days, and it was the top two who went to the worlds. I had unfortunately just missed out on the chance.. or at least that was what I thought. Unfortunately Ollie Shilston became injured, in the run up to the worlds, and decided he wasn’t able to go, so I was the next up. I was going to Copenhagen, Denmark to race against the world’s best in the distance race at my first ISA Worlds.
I had a super fun race at the worlds, I learn’t a lot about myself during the 20km race.
So that is my 2017 Race season so far, I am currently back at home, training still for the last couple of races of the season, looking forward to putting the race board away for winter and bringing back out the surfboard, and kite and windsurf gear.
Keep up to date with my last couple of races coming up on my facebook page.
Exciting times in the SUP Industry right now, with the summer race and surf season just about to kick off, and one of the biggest SUP Media brands in the UK right now has just released something new.
The team over at SUPboarder Magazine have been working hard on a new feature, SUPboarder Pro. So if you currently don’t follow SUPboarder Magazine, every week, they have released independent product reviews and tips and tricks tutorials. These have helped a lot of people, be that the beginner, new-comers to the sport, or the more advanced. But now, they have released SUPboarder Pro. A service that offers next level tutorials, product reviews, and much more. This has really helped me to improve as a paddler. For a small fee of £2.49 per month, or £24.95 per year. With the yearly option, you will receive a free, limited edition SUPboarder Pro T-shirt. A really cool design in my opinion.
The price for the year is worth it alone for the T-shirt. So I highly recommend you signing up. Go and check it out, or even give it a 1 month trial for £2.49.
To read more on SUPboarder Pro, and sign up, click this link: SUPboarder Pro
Every year, around the time of Christmas and New Year, we try and escape the darkest months of the UK in search of some wind, waves and warm weather. We usually head to Tenerife, with the small town of El Medano delivering some epic conditions for all the sports we love to do as a family.
So as usual, this year we took it all, Windsurf, Kitesurf, SUP Surf, Shortboard, and the last two years with the help of Starboard SUP UK, we have been able to take the latest Astro Racer 12’6 Inflatable. The benefits of taking all this gear, is being covered for whatever conditions we get, however the downside, as anyone who has travelled with Sports Equipment will know, was the cost! I would like to thank RyanAir for getting us there safely and all our gear undamaged.
The 12’6 Astro Racer was awesome to get some race training in whilst I was out there, it was great to have it out there with us, the downwinders are pretty epic out there too, so it was perfect for that.
We also had a very good south swell whilst we were out there, which is very rare, giving us swell almost every day! Although because the spot is often windy and it was every day, the surf is not perfect clean offshore wind, so I took my Starboard Hypernut out there for the trip which was perfect because it’s very stable in the chop, but also gives me insane performance on the wave.
The wind was good as well. We had 5 days of 4.0/3.3m weather in a row, it was so fun!
At the end of the trip I made a film highlighting the things I got up to. Check it out on my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLQuHe6eiPo
As always, thanks to all my incredible sponsors for the continued support. Starboard SUP UK & Ireland, SUPboarder Magazine, Standuppaddleuk, West Country Surf Wax.
Stage 8 of the 2016 UK SUP Clubs National Race Series, Jurassic Coast, Portland Harbour, Saturday 22nd October.
Going into this event, the final of the series, I was in a good position overall. I needed a good result, around 2nd, to get a 2nd in the 12’6 Men’s Overall for the year.
The race was roughly 7km, with one large lap at the start, going into 5 smaller laps.
The race start was a 100m dash straight upwind, to a left hand buoy turn. After the start I was instantly chasing. With Mo Guy, Robin Williams and Jon Smith ahead of me, I had to catch up with Mo to get a solid end result in the series. The course had quite a bit of choppy upwind/downwind ocean conditions, which definitely played into my favour. In the first mile there was a very fun downwind section, which helped me pull back a few places after not a great start. I managed to overtake Jon and Robin, but I was still chasing Mo.
Once I caught Mo, I had a good battle with him. I was on the front for one lap, and that definitely taught me something.
This was an awesome event to finish the season on! I think it was one of the best events of the year!
I finished with a second to Mo, and a second overall in the series. I’m stoked to get a second in the Men’s 12’6, with this being my first year in the Men’s. I also won the UK SUP Award of Rookie of the Year!
I would like to thank my incredible family and friends for all their support this year as it would never have been possible without them. I would also like to thank all my sponsors for their incredible support this season, Starboard SUP UK, SUPboarder Magazine, West Country Surf Wax, Standuppaddleuk. I can’t wait till next year!
Photo Credits: Jo Pye, Georgia Wharton Photography.
Watergate was the third event in the new BSUPA Surf Series for 2016. Previous years has just been the solo event at Watergate, but this year there were three events as part of a series. The first event was at Putsborough in North Devon, and the second at Gwithian, West Cornwall.
With this being my first event of this years series, I was eager and ready to get the surf contest jersey on. It was great going into the event with no pressure.
We arrived Friday afternoon, to our AirBnB, and drove around Newquay trying to find some clean swell. We ended up at Crantock. I had a fun session on the Starboard 6’10 Hypernut.
Saturday arrived with slightly smaller swell than Friday, but still strong onshore conditions. Sean Facey decided to go for a pre heat warm-up, kiting! My first heat was heat 2 in the first round, up against Ollie Laddiman and Ben Sawyer. It was a decent size, and 25mph onshore wind. I used my Starboard 8’0 x 28″ Pro. I advanced from that with a 2nd to Ollie. That put me straight into Round 3. I had my Junior heat on Saturday afternoon. The Junior standard just gets better each year! I was up against Blue Ewer, Todd Sawyer and James Greenwood. All very good surfers. No-one had an advantage in this. It was low tide dumping close out. I used my Starboard 8’0 x 28″ Pro once again. It is a truly great board!
Sunday was a much better day for sure.
The conditions cleaned up, the
sun came out, and the swell was pumping! I started off the morning
with a great result, winning my junior heat, against some very tough
competition in some good surf. I chose the Starboard 7’7 x 27″ Pro for
my heat, and it gave me the win for sure!
Later on I had my Men’s round 3 heat against some very tough competition, Jason Sawyer, James West and Blue Ewer. They were ripping. That finished the men’s event for me unfortunately, but it was a learning experience for me.
Next up I had the Junior final, a man on man final with Blue Ewer, a very good SUP surfer. I managed to find the rip like in the rest of my heats, and get out the back quickly. I got one good wave early, and soon after, a second. I felt set up for the heat and it put me in good rhythm. Blue also got a couple good waves and the heat finished with it feeling close! I used the awesome Starboard 7’7 Pro for this final and it was the perfect board!
The men’s final was all time to watch, with the standard being improved every year. With Aaron Rowe, Matt Barker Smith, Max Shepherd and Ollie Laddiman all battling it out. It was the best and most exciting final ever in my opinion. Aaron came out with the win, and Matt second, Ollie third and Max fourth.
Every year the standard in the juniors is raised and it is great to see!
I am super stoked to come away with the win, against some very tough competition. I had a great experience competing in the men’s too!
I would like to thank a number of people for their support for this event. Marie Buchanan and Ben Sawyer for the loan of their boards for all of my heats on Sunday. Steve, Jo and Holly Pye and Rob Martin for being there whenever I needed them as Board caddies, photographers and keeping me focused and just helping me in general throughout the event. Starboard SUP UK, SUPboarder Magazine, West Country Surf Wax, Standuppaddleuk. I could not have done it without such a brilliant support crew.
A fantastic, well run event, and I can’t wait till next year!
Saturday 17th September. Bray Lake saw 11 clubs battle it out in multiple events, from 200m Sprints, to XL board team races, SUP Polo, Individual races and much more!
I was racing for Team Waterborn. We were there to defend our title, and it was not going to be easy! I didn’t attend the event last year, so I didn’t know what to expect. But it was an incredible day!
My day started off with the Under 21’s. I had an awesome race, with 4 laps of a 1.25km course. I was pleased with my start, and I managed to keep the lead to the end!
My next race was the Elite Men’s sprints. Unfortunately I didn’t make it through the first heat, but it was great fun sprinting 200m with 10 or so other guys!
Next up was Dragon Racing! 4 people on a 22ft race board = great fun! We went straight through our first heat by default as Hove Lagoon SUP Club said they were too tired and would much rather go straight into the repechage. We were already into the Semi Final! Our Semi Final suffered I think from a lack of practice that the other teams got by being in that first heat. We didn’t quite have our steering right, and were veering off to the right just at the crucial part of the race, costing us second place.
Carrying on with the talk of MASSIVE boards, The next race was team XL Board sprints. Team Waterborn Mixed finished with a 2nd to Hove, and Team Waterborn Ladies, the exact same team from last year which was disqualified won! Team Waterborn Men’s came tied 3rd.
The final event of the day, SUP Polo, and we were in the final with Central SUP. After both half’s of the game, (3 minutes each way) and a further 2 minutes of extra time, we finished the game on penalties. Team Waterborn scored 2 penalties, and unfortunately Central SUP scored 3. It was great fun, and we still got a 2nd.
Overall as a club we finished 3rd. It’s not the result we would have liked, but it’s still a podium. Massive congratulations to Bray Lake for 2nd, and BaySUP for 1st.
Thanks to everyone who continuously supports me. Starboard SUP UK & Ireland, SUPBoarder Magazine, Standuppaddleuk, West Country Surf Wax, and my family and friends.
A few weeks prior to the event, 25 of the UK’s top paddlers were selected to race in this event. I was incredibly pleased to have been selected for this event. 20 Men, and 5 Females were selected by SUPboarder Magazine to take part in this test event. The reason for such a little number was to cause as little congestion and problems through the busiest part of the Thames, by trying to get everyone finished as close together as possible.
The race started outside the Thames Rowing Club, at Putney Bridge.
The race then went all the way downstream to Big Ben, and back. Past MI5, The Houses of Parliament, with the London Eye in sight.
With the strong tidal flow, and tail wind, everyone was super fast on the way to Big Ben. With every bridge we went under, the wind funnelled through, which was great on the first 10km, and with the wake from all the boats, it made it like a downwinder, but for the second 10km, it was not fun at all. with the strong headwind for 75% of it, and the tide against us also, it made it a challenging.
My race started with a good sprint, and I managed to draft someone for the first mile, then I overtook and let them draft me for another mile until Maurice Guy came past, and I paddled with him for a while.
After the turn at Big Ben, the main pack that I was chasing with Mo broke up. I was drafting two people for a while, Crispin Jones and Phil Plume were in front of us, but I was starting to tire at this point, and couldn’t keep up. I got dropped. I then paddled the rest of the race on my own.
It was incredible turning at the halfway point with Big Ben towering over us, and then back up past the houses of parliament.
This was probably the hardest race I have ever done, mentally and physically. Going against the current for most of the second leg, and the hard head wind made me tire quite quickly.
The total distance of this race was 20km.
I thoroughly enjoyed this race, and it was a great experience to partake in the first SUP Race through Central London!
The end results were:
1st: Paul Simmons
2nd: Marie Buchanan
3rd: Adam Stilling
I would like to thank everyone who supports me, Starboard SUP UK & Ireland, SUPboarder Magazine, Standuppaddleuk, West Country Surf Wax, and my incredible family and friends!
The first weekend of September 2016 saw the National Watersports Festival at Hayling Island.
I arrived late Thursday evening, trying to pitch my tent in the dark, and having never been to Hayling Island before, I was curious as to what was around me.
The next day, Friday. The morning began with the latest boards from Starboard being pumped up and finned up on the beach for people to try. SUP Polo pitch being inflated, and everything being set up for the weekend.
Throughout the day, I had great fun on a brilliant Starboard WindSUP, and had my first taste of SUP Polo organised and ran by SUP North. The wind made the SUP Polo choppy, and with waves coming through, it was all added fun! Sam Ross earlier in the day got an awesome result in the Chimnet Dash on his Windsurfing foil.
The Saturday got even windier, and the windsurf racing got even greater to watch, with the Night Windsurf event in the evening, and the Severne Cup during the day.
I had the awesome opportunity on Saturday to run some Junior SUP Racing. This was a new experience for me, and I enjoyed it. The conditions were tough, with a lot of chop and strong winds, made it far from ideal paddling conditions. It was awesome to see the juniors battling it out on the technical and sprint courses!
On the Sunday, I also ran a SUP Racing Paddle Clinic with Alan and Lucy from SUP North. This was my first ever time running a SUP clinic, so I learned a lot for future opportunities like this.
The Sunday finished with a downwinder with some of my Starboard Team mates, and then the NWF awards and prize giving.
My first ever National Watersports Festival was an awesome experience to say the least, and I can’t wait till the next!
I would like to thank everyone who continuously supports me. Starboard SUP UK, SUPboarder Magazine, Standuppaddleuk, West Country Surf Wax and my incredible family and friends.
With this being my first ever downwind race, I didn’t know what to expect, but now, I honestly believe it is one of the best disciplines you can race in. Here is my write up of the 2016 Icon Classic.
The event properly started for me on Friday evening. We had Verity Thomas from Jersey come to stay with us for the weekend, and it was great to get some last minute advice and tips from her for the race.
I raced the awesome 12’6 Starboard All Star Turtle Bay board for this race, and it worked a dream!
The race started in Lee Bay, and took us along my local North Devon coastline, past Ilfracombe, to Combe Martin. That coastline is pretty awesome!
Photo: Ian Phillips
The race started with us all sprinting to a rib out to sea, about half a kilometre, before heading east, down to Combe Martin, riding bumps and having fun! My target for this race was Scott Warren, mainly because he was also on a 12’6, but also because he has pushed me in previous races this year, so I thought who could be better to try and beat? Unfortunately, he had bad luck, with his PFD falling apart multiple times, and multiple dunkings and swims. Unlucky Scotty! He sprinted ahead of me at the start, but I managed to catch him in the bumps before his PFD disaster. I then went on in the race, trying to catch a few people in front of me on 14ft’s and 17ft’s, perhaps I was being too optimistic;) !
In Ilfracombe Bay, we passed a cruise ship moored up, probably filled with about 200+ people, which was great for the sport! For 200+ people to see a SUP race, (which a lot will have not seen before) is great!
Past the Cruiser, and on into Combe Martin, we started to lose the tail wind, and there was a lot of water moving around, still with some bumps to play with.
I finished the race 1st 12’6 board across the line, and also the only junior to enter the race.
A huge congratulations to my fellow Starboard Team mates Ollie, Paul, Marie and Emily for their podium finishes!
I had an awesome race, and the most fun I have probably ever had in a SUP race! I can’t wait for next year!
I would like to thank Starboard SUP UK, SUPboarder Magazine, Standuppaddleuk and West Country Surf Wax for their continued support, and of course my incredibly supportive family and friends!