On the weekend of 13-14 August, 2022, stand-up paddleboarders from across the UK met at the National Watersports Centre, Nottingham for the inaugural Holme Pierrepont White Water SUP Festival.
With the sun shining, paddlers had lots of opportunity to paddle (and swim) on the white water course throughout the weekend, with everyone enjoying the opportunity to paddle the course with no kayakers around.
Saturday started off with paddlers having time to get out on the water and get some training in on the main channel of the white water course. For many, this was their first time on the course at Holme Pierrepont, and although it was a step up there was plenty of safety on hand to help out if paddlers got into difficulty. After a couple of hours practice, and a good amount of time cooling off in the water, the SUP-X races started.
This event saw groups of 4 paddlers racing down a course at the same time aiming to be the first across the line, whilst navigating 2 upstream buoys. With the winners of the first round getting a bye into the semi finals, all other paddlers got the opportunity to have another race before the semi-finals and finals took place. With the final run, it was Jorge Avillez coming out on top in a closely fought race.
Following the conclusion of the SUP-X race, there was one final race on the schedule for Saturday, the Mass-X race. This time, around 20 paddlers took to the top pool of the white water course to battle it out on the same course as earlier in the day. There was a lot of carnage and some serious battles between racers all the way down the course, with Tom Westaway making it to the finish line first.
With most paddlers having never attempted a slalom course before, there was a lot of nerves among the group whilst walking down the side of the white water course on Sunday morning. With the 14 gate course set late on Saturday night, it was ready for paddlers to have a few hours practice prior to the start of the race. To get given a gate, paddlers had to be on their board (whether that was on feet, knees or flat on their stomach), with all paddlers giving the course a fantastic go and many getting all 14 gates. After 2 runs, all the paddlers were keen to give the course another go to try and dial in the lines and enjoy the challenge of SUP-Slalom, so with a 3rd run under their belts, it was Tom Westaway who again came out on top.
Following the final slalom runs, and a short break to refuel, many of the paddlers got back out on the water for an impromptu wave jam session. This was a lovely way to finish the weekend, with everyone staying to watch and cheer on those who still had the energy to paddle.
Following on from the fantastic inaugural event, we are deep in planning for next year, so keep an eye out for another race weekend as well as some potential opportunities for coaching in the months prior to get you ready for the race weekend.
Massive thanks to Peak UK and all the other sponsors for their prize donations towards the weekend!
About Beth Kirby (@bethk128)
Beth comes from a white water kayaking background with many medals won in World competitions. Kirby found White Water SUP after seeing some friends trying it 4 years ago and now Beth is stacking up lots of UK wins and experience in SUPX, river surfing and river running.
Beth is an experienced Stand Up Paddleboard coach based in the East Midlands, offering flat and white water SUP coaching.