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 excitement.

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.


After lap one it was time to be a little more cautious, no need to be a hero just try and stay out front, out of trouble and consolidate the lead.

I got pretty luckily and dodged most of the tricky bumps and after my five laps took the win in the 12’6″ class having managed to stay out in front of the chasing 14′ pack to take line honours.

The BaySUP crew did a great job of running this race with the Watersports Academy in support. It was the first time I’d raced my new Red Paddle Co 2016 board and it was perfect in the chop and swell.


It’s a good start for me in this series, fingers crossed I can make the most of the next two and get a good series result.


Photos  Warren Rowe (full photo gallery here)