SUPjunkie reporting

Boy, do we have some cracking events this year.

The GBSUP UK SUP race season 2023

Photos: SUPjunkie

Is it really that time again? My how the winter flies when you finally hit March, and your focus turns to SUP racing whether you’ve booked any events. Those who have trained over the winter will probably worry as much as those who haven’t – do we ever think we are fully prepared for that first race and those that follow throughout the season?

Boy, do we have some cracking events this year – from a packed schedule delivered by the GBSUP National series team to newer races and challenges and those that seem to have been on the calendar for years.

The National series
Let’s start with the National Series, our go-to set of races, including flatwater distance and ocean tech, juniors, challenge tour and sprints. The team has tried to give the paddlers what they want: variety and choices for all at great locations.

For all the GBSUP race events, most of the paddlers will be entering the race fleet, but the Challenge tour will cater for those who do not wish to race but want to take part – you may not feel ready to race and want to test the waters, so this is the perfect opportunity. There is always a guide on the water to encourage you, and the distance is shorter than that of the race fleet. Juniors will be included at all events, with volunteer instructors getting the most out of the youngsters, whatever age or ability and making their day fun. If you know of any young paddlers who want to get involved or be on the water that day, please contact the GBSUP team. They are the future of our sport.

Flatwater distance series
Next up in the flatwater distance series is Cardiff, home to many exciting races held in and around the Cardiff International White-Water Centre. Held on Sunday, 30th April, over the CIWW Paddlefest weekend, it’s a great venue with lots going on. There is excellent viewing at the centre; you can even follow the paddlers and watch them along the river with plenty of bridge viewing.

Finally, in that series, it’s Windermere – who can resist the beauty of a summer Solstice weekend on 24/25th June in the Lake District? GBSUP have visited there before with a point-to-point race down the lake – it was a great challenge in a stunning part of the world.

Ocean technical series
On to the ocean technical series, they are starting with a bang on the 8th and 9th of July at the Falmouth Bay Open. Many paddlers chose this as their favourite event of 2022, so it should be another great weekend of racing. This has also been confirmed as the qualifying race for the ICF World Championships, so there are lots to play for the paddlers who wish to represent Great Britain in Thailand later in the year. Paddlers will compete in three disciplines, sprint, technical and distance, over the two days on Gylly Beach, Falmouth. Paddlers must register their interest with British Canoeing before the event to be considered for team selection. All details and criteria are on the GBSUP website.

On 9th September, it’s all ‘oop north’ to the Beadnell Belta, another cracking venue with superb hosts. We’ve heard they can get a wee surf break in Northumberland, so it could be incredibly exciting and an opportunity to support the North and visit a beautiful part of the UK.

Then on to the finale of the Ocean Tech Series to be hosted by Barefoot SUP in Norfolk; again let’s look forward to a cracking event in a stunning location. Champions will be crowned – we just cannot wait! It’s a new venue on the calendar, so let’s give Sam and her team lots of support.

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