Results from BSUPA round 1

BSUPA conest 2009

Round one of the British Stand Up Paddle Association 2009 contest series was held at West Wittering beach over the May bank holiday weekend. The event is part of four contest series held in the UK to find the best stand up paddle surfers in both surfing waves and distance races.

Saturday started with sunny weather and light winds and small surf – so a distance race was organised. The men’s distance was 4 miles and 2 miles for the ladies and juniors. The race was started by competitors running to their boards on the edge of the water, then racing flat out around the marker buoys, making for some exciting action as competitors vied for the best line around the buoys, then racing back to the beach, pulling the board out of the water and sprinting to the finish line. The stand up boards this season have been restricted to a maximum length of 12 feet 6 inches, making the race more about the fitness of the competitor and less about the equipment. In the men’s race there was a very close battle between Jock Patterson, Mark Slater and John Hibbard. Their board speeds were very close and it turned out to be the turns around the marker buoys that eventually decided the winner. Mark Slater eventually powered to victory and held off John and Jock in an exciting struggle. In the ladies Claire Blacklock (Chichester) and Bobby Cooper (Birdham) battled it out during the race just a couple of board lengths apart followed by Anna Seagar who did well in her first event and Holly Bassett (Itchenor) won the junior race.

During the rest of the afternoon the wind picked up and we had professional coaching from Wave Champion Neal Gent and Distance Champ John Hibbard, who gave free advice to advanced and intermediate SUP riders. Simon Bassett, the event organiser and head coach for BSUPA took the beginners group out for their first SUP experience.

The weekend was not just about competition, had organised a “Big Board Bash” with boards from NSP, GONG, Starbaord, Seven, Naish and RRD. There was big crowd down all weekend testing boards courtesy of the brands and Event organiser Simon Bassett said “stand up paddle surfing is becoming more popular as so many people took demo boards out for the first time ,we had age range from 10 years to 65 all out on the water!"

The contest waited until 6pm in the evening on Saturday to see if the promised surf was going to materialise, but despite plenty of swell the wind refused to drop sufficiently. It was decided that the contest would resume on Sunday morning at 7am to catch the high tide.

The early start to catch the tide did not produce the quality surf that was forecast, so an expression session was held in the small surf. Heats of 3 or 4 riders all went out together and were judged by the BSUPA judging team of Emile Kott ,Adriano Roldan, Graham Taplin and Simon Bassett. The waves were infrequent but the good guys still managed to get some quality rides. Early on Neal Gent laid down the gauntlet as the rider to beat with an excellent series of cut backs and switch stance moves on a small wave. John Hibbard, Mark Slater and Jock Patterson were all showing their form as well in the poor conditions, but after a tight contest Neal Gent (Bracklesham) won overall after a close run heat, Mark Slater got a well deserved second followed by David Tidaball who came up from Exmouth in Devon for the contest. Local bobbie Cooper won the ladies followed by Claire Blacklock and 10 year old Holly Bassett.

Once the Expression Session was finished we came back to the beach at 9 am for a BBQ breakfast and waited for the sprint race to start at 11am. This is a new race format that is held in heats of 3 with the top rider going through the next heat. The course was a cross wind 3 and 1/2 minute flat out paddle. The technique for this would be board speed but also good turning skills were essential, with more that one competitor overshooting the buoy and having to fight to regain the lead. Boyd Shaw narrowly missed beating John Hibbard in his first heat and Mark Slater powered his way through the heats and was only just beaten by John’s good use of race tactics in the final. Bobby Cooper was determined not to beaten in the ladies and powered her way to victory over Claire Blacklock in the final heat.
We had a new award this year called “man of the match” which was awarded to Mike McChesney. Mike had only sent two hours on a SUP board prior to the contest, but entered all the events with great enthusiasm and determination. We hope to see Mike again during the 2009 series

Matt Argyle, the BSUPA Chairman for 2009, commented “this was a fantastic start to the 2009 series. The event ran like clockwork thanks to the X-Train team. The seeded riders from last year had lost none of their fitness over the winter and the new competitors made their mark. Even though the season is still young the standard have definitely been raised this year, Neal Gent was really on fire in the surf and Mark Slater looks like the man to beat in the distance races. Bobbie Cooper also put in an impressive display, having won the juniors in 2008 she is now competing in the women’s and it looks like she has set her sights on the title – watch out Claire !”.

Thanks to all sponsors, GONG, Kialoa Paddles, Indo Board, Da Kine, Matunas, surf wax and Northcore for all the cool prizes, for the medals, as well the team at (the UK’s leading SUP school) including Chris, Emile, Luke, Olli, Pete and finally Matt from for running the demo event.

Distance Men

1 Mark Slater (Jimmy Lewis, Quickblade)
2 John Hibbard (Starboard, FatFace)
3 Jock Patterson (Jimmy Lewis, Quickblade)
4 Steve Carter
5 Anthony Cooper
6 Jay Manning
7 Nick Watt
8 Boyd Shaw
9 David Tidaball
10 Matt Argyle
11 Tony Peters
12 Simon Brook
13 Malcom Parker
14 Mike McChesney

Distance Women

1 Claire Blacklock (Naish, Werner)
2 Bobbie Cooper (GONG, Kialoa)
3 Anna Seager
4 Sharon Hollyoak
5 Wendy McGee

Distance Junior

Holly Bassett (aged 10) GONG, Kialoa, 2XS

Sprint Men

1 John Hibbard – 2 minutes 28 seconds
2 Mark Slater
3 Jay Manning
4 Steve Carter

Sprint Women

1 Bobbie Cooper (aged 16) GONG, Kialoa, 2XS
2 Claire Blacklock
3 Anna Seager
4 = Holly Bassett
4 = Wendy McGee

Waves Expression Session Men

1 Neal Gent – Gong, Kialoa, 2XS, Fatface
2 Mark Slater
3 David Tideball
4 Steve Carter
5 =
Matt Argyle
John Hibbard
Boyd Shaw
Nick Watt
Antony Cooper
Jock Patterson
Malcom Parker
Tony Peters


Waves Expression Session Women

1 Bobbie Cooper
2 Claire Blacklock
3 Holly Bassett
4 Wendy McGee


1 Holly Bassett