Blog #25 – SUPtember!

Blog #25 – SUPtember!

Wow – it’s mid-September so we’re well into meteorological autumn already! How time flies… We’ve had a super-busy few weeks of it since our last regular blog update at the end of August: Wednesday evening SUP Club has continued to go from strength to strength despite the nights drawing in, Race Club too has proved super-popular with a couple more skills & drills nights from Two Tree Island then a wrap-up time trial at Mill House last Friday evening, plus SUP school continued into September when we’ve taught a couple more fully booked days of paddleboard lessons up at Papermill Lock. Oh, and of course Dunc took a quick paddle around Northern Friesland in Holland…

Having been locked inland for most of our August SUP Clubs we pushed our limits with the tides to go coastal for the last few. Three weeks ago we hit Chalkwell late in the tide (if very very early in the evening!) for the ever-popular 7k downwinder to Thorpe Bay. The following week El took an all-comers splashabout session back to Chalkwell where approaching 50 paddlers assembled for a night of fun & games off the beach, including SUPdog and SUP hockey until it got too dark to see. Then last week we hit Old Leigh as late in the tide as we dared for a full-on 9k+ mid-ebb down-tider via the Ray and the Pier to the coastguard station at Ness Road, Thorpe Bay, where we scored one of the most amazing sunsets we’ve seen all year. More pix of that in our Facebook gallery. Perfect! Has to be said the weather’s looking sub-optimal for this week’s SUP Club with quite a strong south-westerly wind, so we’ll probably be headed back to Mill House for a battle up the River Chelmer and back beyond dusk – so dust off those lights, folks… (Please no bright white ones though!) Look out for a heads-up tomorrow and the full call by Wednesday lunchtime here via SUP Club #26 and @SUPsect on Facebook…

Friday night Race Clubs have proved popular this season too, and they stayed that way with a couple of trips back to Two Tree: first tucking into Tewkes Creek then down the dogleg for recaps of our drills (from catch, via ‘disco-hips’ engagement, suspension and unload, to ‘tip-toes’ and ‘stealth mode’). Plus El introduced a new game of ‘hot pursuit’ to integrate starts, steady state, turns, sprinting and a bit of competition. Then at the end of last week, we put everything we’ve learnt over the summer together with 4k and 6k time trials up on the river from Mill House ahead of the British SUP Club Championships in a couple of weeks’ time now. Check out the results at the end of our Facebook gallery. That’s certainly the last Race Club until after the Club Champs – but keep an eye on our Facebook Forum and @SUPsect page for updates as we may continue into late autumn and even through winter if the demand’s there for it…

Then to SUP school, where we’ve had a couple more fully booked days of double BSUPA Ready to Ride courses at Paper Mill Lock  on Sunday 2nd and Saturday 15th September. That could be it for lessons this season, although if the weather picks up again we might schedule one last day in early October – details via our Learn to SUP page, or email [email protected] to enquire.

Having taken a week off instructing, our Dunc is now fully recovered yet still buzzing from his exploits in Holland, where he raced in the SUP 11 City Tour – 220km around Friesland over 5 days of world-class endurance competition: he was pleased just to finish, totally stoked to be so competitive and come home with 9th in the masters fleet in just a shade over 25 hours, but completely blown away by the many messages of support and congratulations before, during and after the event. You guys rule! (If you haven’t already, catch up on Dunc’s 11 City blog: day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & epilogue.)

So what’s next? Well, after SUP Club this week El & Dunc are off to West Wales in search of surf (so, sorry to say there will be no SUP Club next Wednesday night…) Then we’re all convening at Bray Lake near Windsor for the British SUP Club Championships where SUPsect will be represented by our biggest ever team of 25 paddlers – same as it ever was, our main aim will be to enjoy ourselves; we’re not there for glory, it’s truly all about participation and team spirit, but we’re still planning to give it our best for a result we can all be proud of…

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