Stand Up Paddleboarding is the world’s fastest growing watersport… and those of us already into the sport know why! With more and more kit becoming available, new disciplines being explored, and an increasing number of SUP clubs and events being organised around the country there has never been a better time to get into SUP.
To assist with the growth of SUP in the UK, 2014 has seen a passionate group of UK SUP clubs & individuals join forces and launch the ‘UK SUP Clubs’ race series. The races will all follow standardised guidelines for race procedures to align the UK with Europe and the rest of the World. Chris Kenyon from UK SUP Clubs explains more…
The growth of SUP in the UK has been a substantial one, but there have been many obstacles to overcome during the last few years and plenty more in the future. The clubs of the UK have continued to expand and develop providing a grass roots approach towards paddling. Almost a year ago many of the larger clubs up and down the country got together to discuss the current climate of SUP and put forward some ideas to help push the sport further. It was a good meeting and some promising ideas were bounced around the room including the National SUP Club Day and a potential Race Series/Event. Fast forward a year later and a good summer of paddling firmly under our belts, this series is finally taking shape and the first event will be the legendary Head of the Dart in April. Racers and paddlers alike will have the opportunity to take part in the first ever UK SUP Club races under the SUPAA rules to battle it out for a UK ranking amongst the countries best paddlers. A mix of technical and distance races are on offer up and down the UK with something for everyone.
So how did we get to this point? Well, a number of conversations were taking place between key individuals in the UK SUP scene, and it was clear that a simple line of communication and a central hub was needed. A number of top level paddlers along with some of the most knowledgeable club members in the UK took up the lead in developing the series with other specialists from the clubs side, retail and training amongst others to get a structure in place to give the UK paddlers what they wanted. The start of this journey would be the ‘UK Race Series’ which would provide paddlers with an opportunity to race, meet up with other like-minded people and have some fun. It also gave our elite paddlers an opportunity to test their skill over the course of a season to one set of rules to further themselves as athletes. With a lot of passion and determination the group then met in London to finalise the series and to talk about the future development of the UK SUP clubs organisation. There was a lot of positivity to come out of this day as the group discussed not only the race series but how the clubs could get good advice and support and what else could be done to grow the sport, including the up and coming junior paddlers. Since then the UK SUP clubs website has posted information on how to run an event as well as how to set up a SUP club and offered further support to those who want it. The point of the organisation is to provide a good network for all areas of the sport in a transparent format for everyone to benefit from. There is no personal agenda here and all the individuals involved do it because they love to paddle and try at every opportunity to share this passion with everyone else. The organisation is also looking to offer events in the SUP Surfing and Downwinding disciplines too, as this is an area of the sport that has not really been explored as such yet – so watch this space!
This next year will be an exciting one to say the least, with the Dart, Jersey and Central SUP all advertising their stages of the series on the social media outlets now. So please do come along and give it a go, you will find there is something for everyone whether you’re a serious competitor or just want some fun .
Right, where is that race board! I’m off to get practicing!
See you on the water
Entries for the 1st SUP Clubs Race Series event, the ‘Head of the Dart’ on 12th April 2014 are now open. To find out more and to enter click here. Limited entries so enter NOW to make sure you don’t miss out.
And remember to check out the SUPboarder events calender to find out about all the other upcoming events in 2014. It’s already looking like a busy SUP year ahead in the UK, with something for every SUPboarder, whatever your ability and board type.