2015 Highlights.

Wow, what an incredible year. My first year with Starboard, racing, and competing in SUP has gone great. I am really pleased with my results, Starboard have helped and supported me throughout. I have worked on improving my surfing, and gone from never having raced before, to racing in lots of events, which have been great fun, and I have enjoyed immensely. It has been a great learning curve for me.

My year started off with my first ever race, the Celtic Cup in St Ives, Hosted by Ocean Sports Centre. I entered the Cruising Class due to it being my first race, It was a 4km course, and I was very happy with my first place! This event also kicked off the start of the Starboard Tiki Tour, and I spent the weekend with Connor Baxter and Fiona Wylde. Both Starboard international team riders. I learned so much from that weekend!

The next race, was the Exe Hammer, from Exmouth to Topsham, along the river Exe. The Junior fleet in this event was a strong one, with a lot of competition for myself. With Todd and Joe Sawyer from Cornwall, and Blue Ewer from Plymouth, it was a big race for all of us! I finished with a 1st place 12’6, and 2nd overall in the juniors, this was a great finish for me!12032079_1211952602163965_2381647388828708991_n

Then, the event I had been looking forward to for ages, Jersey’s Battle of the Rock! I was staying with The Axford Family for this event, so I had a very determined Sam Axford to compete against. A future champion for sure.

12036515_996553513698197_8221706570459562471_nYou can watch the Technical race from Jersey below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6GWQQjdHKQ

The next event was the event I had been looking forward to possibly the most, and that was Watergate Bay, UK Surf SUP Nationals. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but I was still so happy and learned a lot for future events like this.

The final event of the year was the UK SUP final race, and I guess you could call it my ‘Home Turf’ because Waterborn is the club I am proud to be a part of! I had another very good race, and I really enjoyed the racing at this event.11233089_434625406722902_7763293099668308602_n

I have had such a good year overall, and I am very pleased with my results. I have learned a lot, and gained a lot of experience. I would like to thank Starboard SUP UK, SUPboarder Magazine and SUP South West for all their support this year. Also, a huge thanks to my family for their help and support throughout.

I have a lot more events planned for next year, and I’m really excited for the 2016 season. I also have plans to enter men’s competitions as well as juniors to gain more experience.

Bring on 2016!

UK SUP Clubs: SUP The Creek.

Saturday 24th October 2015 saw Waterborn SUP’s SUP The Creek. A 12.5km race including a mixture of upwind, downwind, sidewind, swimming, and bobbing. There was no junior fleet, so I was thrown in the deep end with the Men. The board I was using was the Starboard Turtle Bay, 12’6 x 25.5, which worked a dream on the downwind stretches and was once again very fast on the upwind handling the chop very well.

11233089_434625406722902_7763293099668308602_nThe race started outside the Crabshell Inn, with a quick upwind dash to the slipway, and our first buoy turn. I had a good start, giving myself the best chance going up to the buoy. Being a quite a narrow start point, as you can imagine, it got very choppy. I had a good turn, catching a few people up by going sharp round the buoy and sprinting a little way after. It was then a downwind stretch to the second buoy by the bridge up Bowcombe Creek. Where I picked up a few places with another good buoy turn. Then with another long downwind with the a few nice little bumps to play with to the Salt Stone marker or the Buoy of disaster, where I got a nice cold swim. I was then faced with a gruelling side wind paddle up Frogmore Creek.

12189152_423553017848314_8753460618145376749_nCrossing from Frogmore to Blacksmill really was tough going straight upwind, and it was like paddling into a brick wall every stroke. But we eventually got to the next buoy, with another short downwind then short upwind to next buoy, were I spotted Marie Buchanan catching me, so I pushed on to try to make as much ground as I could to the final buoy, I just had one long straight to the finish, but it was straight upwind. I was about half way when Marie caught me, and I tried to keep with her to the finish, and It was definitely a sigh of relief to get back in to the narrower less choppy parts of the estuary to the finish. Really happy with my result, 1st Junior overall. Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far, Starboard SUP UK, SUPboarder Magazine, SUP South West, and my very supportive family. Also a big thanks to Crispin Jones from Waterborn for putting on this event, as I know how much work and planning has been put into this! It was a great race!

12179031_779242578852744_344394212_nPhoto credits: Rachel Wickett, Georgia Wharton and Jason Sawyer.

Jersey – Battle of the Rock!

Jersey’s Battle of the Rock. I flew out on my own to enter.

It was my first time flying on my own, so I was super excited!

Flying out to Jersey, I didn’t really know what to expect, but what a weekend, Jersey is somewhere everyone has to visit at least once. Such an awesome place! The water is clear, blue and warm. The people are nice. The weather is great.

I arrived on Friday, about 4:00pm, and was met and hosted by the Axford family.

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This is Tim (Dad), Sam, Toby  from Team STAxford. Unfortunately missing Polly (Mum). Photo: Ben Pye

We went and SUP Surfed at St Brelades straight from the airport. It was small, but clean, great fun.

Saturday, Racing at St Brelades. Long Distance was up first, Elite – 14km, Open – 8km and Juniors – 6km, 10’6 Groms – 2km.  Then after lunch, was the Technical, Everyone did the same course, in the shape of an arrow, with a distance of approx 1km. Elite – 5 laps, Open – 4 laps, Juniors – 3 laps, 10’6 Groms – 1 lap.

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Photo: Sacha Van Stratan

On Saturday evening, we had a presentation dinner at the Yacht Club, where Jon from Jono’s Watersports presented the Summer Race Series winners, and then Jo Hamilton-Vale from UK SUP Clubs presented Saturday’s UK SUP Club’s Race winners.

Sunday, Racing at Le Braye. With a B.O.P style race. The Course was roughly around 3km, with the Elite – 3 laps, Open – 2 laps, Juniors – 1 lap, 10’6 groms 1/2 lap.

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Photo: Sacha Van Stratan

All in all, it was a brilliant weekend, and a huge thanks to everyone who made it possible for me. Starboard SUP UK, SUPboardermag, SUP South West, Jono’s Watersport’s, Flybe, Verity Thomas, The Axford Family, Tim Tredant.