Paddle guru Steve West hosted the Hayling Island Regatta SUP race on 21 August 2010.
Steve’s a legend in the paddling world & certainly knows how to put on a fantastic event. Sponsorship support came from The Sup Store, Starboard & Scott Sports.
The morning didn’t start with great weather, showers, strong winds, but Steve had a fantastic course mapped out up & down the creeks to the east of the Island. The course consisted of two 5 mile laps, giving those that didn’t fancy the 10 miles the option to stop half way.
We all lined up in the creek outside the stunning race venue. Under starters orders and with boat and kayak safety support we were off! I got a good start sticking up with the guys on unlimited boards. As we turned out of the safety & shelter of the creek we were hit with about 15-20 knot head winds which we had to battle for nearly a mile, not a fun start. I kept my head down and stuck close to the tail of Nick Watt on his K15. When we turned the marker I put the power down & slipped past on the downwind section.
I could See Neil Riley ahead on another K15 and John Hibbard & Mark Slater were battling together ahead of me in the 12’6 class. I quickly caught Neil but struggled for a couple of miles to get past him. We both worked together to try & close the gap on John & Mark, we were close at the 5 mile turn. This was my cue to put the power down & try & clear Neil. Having done the turn it was good to see I had a good lead on the next 12’6 competitor Charlie Grey so I had time to focus on the goal of catching and getting away from Neil. After a tough upwind section I managed to get away from him and pull out a few yards lead. It was then a case of giving it everything I had for the next 3 miles or so to the finish line to keep ahead. Steve West was on hand in his Kayak giving me some great support, pushing me on. I could see Mark & John still battling not far ahead and I was determined to be a close third.
The final upwind section was proper nasty, the wind was so strong it was pretty much pushing us back. All I could think of was a great article I’d read by Dave Kalama who was describing a similar situation in a race, and he said “…as long as you just keep pulling the paddle out of the water and keep reaching it forward you eventually make it.” So that’s what I did, thanks Dave 🙂
I finished a stoked third in class and 6th overall!
Pete Holliday 1:59:40 3rd 12’6″ Open
10 MILE COURSE – overall & class positions
1. Ryan James 1:47:12 1st Unlimited Open
2. Mike Ellicott 1:48:44 2nd Unlimited Open
3. John Hibbard 1:56:23 1st 12’6″ Open
4. Mark Slater 1:57:10 2nd 12’6″ Open
5. Steve Carter 1:57:45 1st Unlimited Master (40yrs+)
6. Pete Holliday 1:59:40 3rd 12’6″ Open
7. Neil Riley 1:59:55 3rd Unlimited Open
8. Charlie Grey 2:01:30 4th 12’6 Open
9. Matt French 2:01:57 2nd Unlimited Master
10. Nick Watt 2:04:17 4th Unlimited Open
12. Zac Wharton 2:04:40 3rd Unlimited Master **
13. James Hardy 2:06:23 5th 12’6″ Open *
14. Adam English 2:06:48 4th Unlimited Master *
15. Annabel Anderson 2:08:15 1st 12’6″ Open Women *
16. Sean Powell 2:15:36 5th Unlimited Open *
Post race Steve laid on some cracking food, we had some really interesting and educational presentations from John Hibbard about board design, and Ryan James, and Annabel Anderson about training for SUP. Day turned into night, curry & beer were consumed and the band fired up.
Sadly I had to leave before the evening party really got going but it was a truly great event, the picture of SUP in the UK to come.