Next stop on the GBSUP circuit is iconic Sandbanks on the Dorset coast, where a choice of beach-based challenges awaits later this month.
On offer is a range of races for both stand-up and prone paddlers in what is set to make Battle of the Bay an amazing day of competition on Saturday 22 June.
Director Mark Price said, “This will be GBSUP’s second year of partnering with our awesome hosts BaySUP for what’s quickly becoming a stand-out fixture on the UK SUP calendar. Last time we had wall-to-wall sunshine but even if we’re not quite so lucky this year, we can still guarantee a fun and action-packed schedule.”
Race HQ for the day will be on the beach in front of the Sandbanks Hotel, reached from Shore Road, Poole.
First up at 9.30am is the fifth GBSUP distance race of 2019 for the stand-up and prone padders taking part will need to show they have had previous ocean racing experience. Mark said, “This is a tough out-and-back race covering around 14km on a course that runs parallel to the coastline.
“If there is any wind, we can guarantee parts of the race will be challenging and this — together with unpredictable sea conditions — is why you need to have done some ocean paddling before taking part.”
Mark added, “The course will almost certainly start off the beach in Sandbanks and take the racers to Boscombe Pier where they will turn around and come back to the start.”
After the distance race comes the technical races, with all of them run over three or four laps — depending on conditions on the day — totalling between 6km and 7km with at least six buoy turns per lap.
Mark said, “Racers will start from the beach, running into the water with their boards before paddling around a course marked out with buoys. They will then head back to the beach where — carrying their boards — they will run up the sand and through a gate before heading back into the sea for their next lap.
“The finish line on the final lap is also on the beach, and everyone needs to cross carrying their paddle.”
The technical races get under way at 11.30am, with separate events for each board category. These remain the same — for both the technical and distance races — as for the rest of the 2019 GBSUP series: hardboard and inflatable 14’0” and 12’6”, and One Design.
The 14’ technical race is a 2019 Team England selection event for the ISA and ESF. “This guarantees some serious competition among the paddlers at the sharp end of both the men’s and women’s race,” said Mark.
There is no Challenge category for the Sandbanks events. Instead, there is a non-competitive paddle around Brownsea Island which starts at 13.00 and will take between two and three hours. The tour will start and finish near the Watersports Academy on Banks Road.
There are prizes for the first three men and women overall in any race, and the first three in four age divisions — Seniors (18-39), Masters (40-49), Veterans (50-59), and Grand Kahuna (60+). If there are fewer than three paddlers in any age category, podium places will still be awarded to those who took part.
For younger paddlers aged between 12 and 18 there is the chance to take part in short distance and technical junior races, starting at 10.30am.
The prize-giving for the adult distance and technical events — as well as a raffle with some great prizes — will take place at an after-race party at the Watersports Academy on Banks Road, Poole, from 7pm. Tickets cost £10 payable on the night and cover the cost of burger, sausages, or veggie burger, with salad and crisps.
Mark said, “Between the distance, technical, kids’, and Brownsea Island paddle we’ve got something for everyone at Sandbanks and because most of the action takes place just offshore, there will be plenty of opportunity for family and friends to cheer on our paddlers.”
There are public toilets on the beach, and plenty of places nearby to buy snacks and drinks. Parking in nearby car parks will cost around £15 for the day.
Full race day details for 22 June:
08.00 Distance race registration opens
09.00 Distance safety briefing
09.30 Distance race starts
10.00 Technical and junior race registration opens
10.30 Junior distance and technical races
11.30 Technical safety briefing
11.45 One Design technical race
14’ technical race starts five minutes after last One Design finisher
12’6 technical race starts five minutes after last 14’ finisher
19.00 After-race party with prize giving, raffle, beers and food at Watersports Academy, Banks Road, Poole.