Words: Alex Tobutt
Pics: Andy Stallman
Edit: Gray Promotional Photography and Soaring Productions
July 8, 2017, saw the final UK N1SCO Championships (Inland) event scheduled for Bray Lake. Unfortunately logistical restrictions saw the decision made for the event to up roots and relocate to the venue used for the recent N1SCO European Championships, Swanage Bay, Dorset.
With a perfect SUP forecast many of the sell out 100 paddler fleet took the diversion and enjoyed close racing, flat seas, deck chairs and ice cream on the sandy beach. More last minute surprises came in the form of x4 European SUP Champion Casper Steinfath flying in to hit the water with competitors before offering bespoke ‘Viking Paddle Clinics’. Casper commented: ‘So stoked I decided to jump on a last minute flight to the UK yesterday! Racing, paddling and laughing with this crew has been all time!!’
With paddlers from 8-78 the inclusive nature of N1SCO racing was very evident on the day as was the sharing of experience with some of the countries best paddlers, cheering and coaching – some who had only very recently taken up the sport.
Racing followed the standard N1SCO format with all competitors taking part in a packed schedule of three race disciplines during the day; sprint, mid-distance technical (lots of turning) and a more traditional 5km long distance race. Both the men and women fleets went down to the last race to decide the titles with an in form Phil McCoy holding off a hungry George Cornwell Brown and the highly experienced Dave Ewer to lead the men in the highlight of his first years SUP racing.
In the women’s Andrea Richardson held off heavy pressure from Ginnie Odetayo on her N1SCO Premier and the current N1SCO Sprint European Champion Helen Dennison to finish the year with a triple by taking all three N1SCO Championship titles in 2017 – an achievement not to be underplayed.
Junior racers enjoyed the focus of the fleet with two short confident building races in the crystal clear knee deep water during the lunch breaks. With Casper Steinfath taking the role as mentor, the juniors fought hard with Storm Ewer heading up the podium – all the juniors were invited to have their achievements recognised.
The evening sun was enjoyed with cold beer from event sponsor Whitstable Bay and the British tradition of fish & chips whilst stories of the day’s action were exchanged and laughter shared. The last of the daylight was put to good use as further paddle clinics took place with Casper whilst others made full use of the increasingly comfortable deck chairs.
Full results can be found here – http://n1sco.co.uk/swanage-not-inland-championships-results/