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!