SUPfest June 26, 2016
There were a wide variety of events so that there was something for everyone - from the hardcore racer to the first timer wanting to give SUP a try. We did an analysis of the registered participants of SUPfest and were glad to see that so many were TWC members: 40% were TWC members, 15% were guests of members and 46% were non-members so over half the participants were members or guests of members.
We were blessed with warm sunny weather and calm winds for the morning races. The new format of combining a "distance" race (about 4.2km) and a short slalom race run in heats was a winner. Let's be honest, while distance SUP races are engaging for the racers, most casual spectators on the beach wouldn't find them very compelling. Well, the slalom race format was not just lots of fun for the racers, it was also dramatic for the spectators. We had lots of buoy action and close finishes in the final heats for both the Elite and Rec slalom races. As I said on Sunday, they were the most exciting SUP races I've ever seen in person! The play-by-play race commentary definitely added to the atmosphere.
For the slalom races, we ran heats of 13 or 14 racers, which seemed to be a reasonable number. The course was 2 laps with each lap being estimated at 600m. There were 5 turns per lap.
Race photos: https://goo.gl/photos/CGtxUf2NMqjYEkVo6 Big thanks to Ivan Dimic for taking these photos.
Original event description can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxD9Vef7OUSLRm9KNWJJNWpieTA
Lunch was catered by the Raging Spoon (ragingspoon.ca), featuring butter chicken, meat and veggie lasagna as well as 3 types of salads (baja bean, arugula spinach, and caesar). Food is by far our biggest cost for this event and we typically barely break even or lose money as a result. But I think it's worth it to hang out on the beach enjoying a great meal in the company of friends after a good morning of racing.
The prize draws included $600 in gift certificates from KayakSport Canada (kayaksport.net) as well as prizes from Werner Paddles (a paddle + 2 T-shirts). We definitely appreciate our sponsors and the extra value they add for our racers.
The giant SUP races on our 2 Starboard Starship boards attracted 4 teams with 6-8 paddlers per team. We had a semi-final then a finals race. The short side-by-side course was set to have the giant inflatable boards cross paths twice on their way to 2 buoys before turning for the sprint home. We had everyone from hard core racers to beginner paddlers and kids joining in on the fun. There were a few collisions - some of which resulted in several people getting dunked! This was the one race I had time to participate in and I definitely had a blast (especially since our team won!).
Jonah Logan and his team from North Shore Paddlesurf (www.northshorepaddlesurf.com) brought their collection of inflatable boards and dedicated polo paddles for a game of SUP polo. By this time in the mid-afternoon, the wind had picked up creating some interesting conditions for the game. Three games were completed. It was a lot of effort to bring all the gear, inflate all those boards and organize the SUP polo game. So a big thanks to Jonah and his team for leading this!
The winning teams for the giant SUP races and SUP polo received Tim Hortons gift cards.
The day was capped off with several clinics including
- Larry Cain: SUP Technique
- Tracey Finlay: Intro to SUP (on water)
- Sonia Jafaar: Intro to SUP yoga (on water)
- Rob Kavcic and Dan Michaluk: Preparing for your First Ultra Distance Race
- Michael Shin: Intro to downwind SUP
- Mike Fekete: Surfski Technique and Equipment
Many of these clinics were free and some were provided at a minimal cost (much lower than the market rate). Thanks very much to our clinic instructors for contributing their time and expertise!
A number of manufacturers and retailers also set up tents with lots of demo gear. This was a great opportunity for those that wanted to try out many different types of boards in one place. Exhibitors included:
- KayakSport Canada
- North Shore Paddlesurf/South Coast Watersports
- Paddle Sport Performance
- Beach Toyz
- Red Paddle Co.
- Surf Ontario