Blog #18 – world class!

As summer 2018 goes from strength to strength, we’ve had another amazing week of paddleboarding in this incredible weather…

Most recently, yesterday saw a gang of eight of us head over to the rejuvenated Royal Victoria Docks in East London for the inaugural APP London SUP Open – the first leg of the 2018 world tour, no less… Plus there were categories for national level racers too, so Ian, Andy and Dunc decided to test their mettle in Sunday morning’s distance races – which went very well indeed. Ian brought home gold in the men’s 6k race after a superb paddle on his Red Paddle 14’ Elite, followed by Andy who took silver from his first ever SUP race (and only the second time he’d paddled his newly acquired Starboard AllStar!) Then Dunc, who found himself drafted up from the amateurs into the pro-am fleet on his trusty inflatable 14’ Elite, put in a strong paddle to finish second in the morning 9km race – and was later stoked to discover that, as his time was faster than the afternoon race as well, he’d earnt second place overall in the pro-am fleet. So before the evening podiums, we were in celebratory mood all afternoon as we watched the professionals charge around the same course – cheering them out and enjoying the spectacle of Michael Booth, Arthur Arutkin, Casper Steinfath, Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter and co from the perfect perspective of the floating Oiler Bar. Hopefully this event will return next year, in which case we’ll definitely be back with a much bigger SUPsect crew!!!

The day before, Saturday was a school day for us – and Papermill Lock on the River Chelmer was perfectly peaceful as apparently England were playing some kind of football game?!? It worked out great for teaching though, as we pretty much had the water to ourselves for a morning Learn to SUP session followed by an afternoon improver tour, and finally an early evening 1-2-1, all in incredible sunshine and heat. We’re fully booked this coming Sunday, but still have BSUPA Ready to Ride spaces next Sunday 22nd July and throughout August at www.supsect.com/learn-to-sup

And the evening before that, Friday night saw our first Race Club of the season. We had a great turn-out too, as 13 of us hit Chalkwell for a great night of stroke sequencing essentials and racing turn practice in a bit of breeze and slightly choppy waters – before some essential sports nutrition and rehydration at the Yak & Yeti curryhouse! We will be continuing with Race Club almost every Friday evening throughout summer at whichever location best suits the weather and tide – keep an eye on the Facebook Forum and @SUPsect page for updates on that late in the week. While it’s not for newbies, we do expect a full range of different boards and speeds at Race Club, so as long as you’re ready to put in some proper effort and are looking to improve your technique, more experienced paddlers are very welcome…

Of course, our legendary Wednesday evening SUP Club continues as normal – always more of a social paddle and explicitly designed to be suitable for all comers. Last Wednesday turned out to be another biggie: in fact, our biggest turn-out yet for an inland SUP Club as 32 paddlers, new and old, hit Hoe Mill Lock for the beautiful 7k trip to Beeleigh and back before another marvellous meal at the Six Bells Boreham

So what of this week’s SUP Club plans? Well, more football means the roads and beaches should be a lot emptier – but we have a 6.07pm low tide, which limits us to Two Tree if we’re able to go coastal. Right now we’re hoping the easterly wind will be light enough that we can power out down the Ray against the breeze and early flood tide, before turning and riding it home. It may be a relatively tough one if the forecast stays put – and currently no idea what we’re doing afterwards as dinner could be tough to source on such a busy pub night, so we’ll have a think about that too… Stay tuned to our Facebook page and the SUP Club #16 event right here for a heads-up tomorrow – and then the full and final call, as ever, on Wednesday.

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