Blog #9 – Result!
We’re in a celebratory mood this week as, with the official results just posted, our Dunc has been declared 12’6″ men’s champion of the prestigious 10-mile Battle of the Thames race, the opening event of the 2018 GB SUP national race series. Having stuck with his trusty Red Paddle 12’6″ x 25″ Elite inflatable that he’s been training and racing on over the winter, Dunc’s aim was to make an overall podium amongst the solid boards – but beyond expectations the winter training and ‘frostbite’ racing really paid off and it all came together on the day, as he put in his strongest 10-mile paddle yet to pull out a healthy lead over Jon Smith (Suffolk SUP) and Pete Stubberfield. Finishing in a personal best BOTT time of 1.59:07, his first under 2 hours, despite some confusion resulting from a couple of technical errors on the day he’s now confirmed as overall 12’6″ winner. Result! A big shout also has to go out to our Graeme Berry who, in his first ever SUP race, somehow charged his Red Paddle 11’3″ Sport around the course to gain a top 3 place in his age category – against 12’6″ raceboards! Next up for Dunc he’ll be moving back up to the faster 14′ Red Paddle Elite ahead of June’s Norfolk Ultra 70k and Thames Ultra 55k endurance races, and eventually the 11-City 220k in September…
That wasn’t the only SUPsect result this last week though, as SUP Club on Wednesday evening really came through, completely against the odds. Although the weather forecast wasn’t looking at all pleasant, with strong winds and heavy rainshowers widely predicted (and experienced!) luck totally smiled on us as the clouds parted, the sun came out and – quite amazingly – the wind died down as we departed Hoe Mill Lock. So, with huge apologies for those who sagely gave it a miss as we were predicting such a ‘tough’ paddle, 16 of us enjoyed a lovely trip towards Papermill Lock and back. As we implemented the ‘bounce-back’ at Rushes again, the lead paddlers were able to really open up and covered nearly 8k at a strong pace, yet we all repeatedly grouped up and finished together with the more leisurely paddlers who covered 6-7k in all. Perfect. Then to top it all off we tried a completely different pub, less then 10 minutes down the road, at The Hurdlemakers Arms who really couldn’t have been more welcoming and accommodating, feeding over a dozen of us one of the best meals we’ve enjoyed after a club night. Result!
So will we strike so lucky this Wednesday? Dare we dream?!? Erm… OK, the tide’s completely wrong so we really can’t imagine an option at the coast – and yes, today’s freezing and completely pouring down with rain, so there’s going to be quite a flow on the river. But it can’t be as bad as what we already paddled earlier this month. Problem is most weather predictions currently see a wet, windy Wednesday – albeit with a glimmer of hope on both the BBC and Met Office models that the wind might veer westerly and drop off a little towards the evening and the sun may peek out between rainshowers. So there is a chance that we may get another result: although we have to say the odds are again stacked against it! Anyway, fingers crossed – but whatever happens, likelihood is we’ll be back to Mill House this week with another 6.30pm launch… (Loads more pix on Facebook. And as usual, watch our @SUPsect page for the heads-up tomorrow then the full call by Wednesday lunchtime.)
Looking a little further ahead, seems summer’s due to make a comeback this coming bank holiday weekend – so keep your eyes on the SUPsect Forum on Facebook for a possible Bank Holiday Monday paddle if the mid-term forecast pans out. And then we’re getting stuck into teaching season again the following weekends: thanks for all the help so far, but again if you can see your way to recommending our lessons to any family and friends, please point them in the direction of our Learn to SUP page, with various sessions very much available to book online throughout May and June. Look out too for some progression sessions / improver tours to be announced this week.
Right – that’s that for now; thanks for reading and see you soon!