The middle of January might not seem like the best time for a racing season to begin but for the last few years BaySUP (Bournemouth and Poole's main SUP club) have run a great frostbite series through the winter.
Winter weekend work has usually meant I can only ever do one race in the series but this year it looks like I might be able to do the entire thing. Adding that bit of extra pressure and excitment.
With the recent cold snap it was with trepidation that I saw the first race I could get involved with was a technical race. The two main types of race in SUP are technical and distance. Distance races are as they might sound, longer! But these races quite often take place on flat water, may well have fewer turns in them and usually don't see you falling in unless it all goes wrong.
Technical races however involve more turns, are ideally held on the sea and fingers crossed in the surf. The start and end of the race involve punching in and out through the waves and often making turns in the impact zone. In short you're getting wet!
So the perennial question begins in the carpark pre-race. What are you wearing? Some opt for the full summer suit, or even winter suit, others a shortie, no one braved shorts in the end.
I opted for the Quantum longjohn with the Kaituna NeoFlex top. Flexiblity to paddle, and warm for the cold conditions, this combo was also not too hot to wear when I'm working hard. It's great combination for technical racing when you need some insulation.
I'm glad I'd opted for some layers as whilst I had a really clean start and got unhindered to the outside mark, the first run to inside mark was definietly going to be trouble. Some great swell was rolling in which made the run to the beach a quick one but with it closing out on the inside negotiating the buoy turn ended up with a bit of swimming. In fact lap one saw me take a dunking three times, taking an epic tumble on the last of the inside buoy marks.
A self confessed fanatic about teaching and getting on the water, Sam’s smooth style, expertise, and badger obsession stand out within the new stand up paddleboarding movement. What started as a way of getting to work has now become one of his life’s passions, and alongside windsurfing it’s his daily bread.