British SUP Club Championships Preview
Now in it's 4th year the British SUP Club Championships has fast become on elf the UK's Biggest SUP events. Lets look at how this year is shaping up.
With the move to Bray Lake to allow a greater diversity of water activity this year’s club championships was always going to add something a little bit different.
Now only a couple of days away it has seen it’s largest ever entry with 186 paddlers registered and 37 Junior paddlers.
For those that don’t know how the champs work, it sees clubs and individuals from all over the country battling it out in a series of individual, team and sprint races. With the points they score going towards their club’s overall total. The club with the best set of results become the British SUP Club Champions.
The same happens with the Juniors, their points count towards their overall club total but they also battle it out for they own Junior Club Championship.
A reminder of last year’s standings:
So lets look at how the clubs are shaping up:
Waterborn clinched the title in 2015 with a pretty dominant display across most disciplines. They come to this year’s event with a strong team of 19. 18 adults and 1 junior. The question is will their small junior presence mean they are missing out on big points in the junior section. They do however have strong female contingent from elite all the way down to Novice, their secret weapon may well be their Novice Lady Cal Major. Whilst she hasn’t raced before she certainly has paddling pedigree having paddled the entire coast of Cornwall for Paddle Against Plastic. The Novice categories always score big points towards the overall.
The Jersey Paddle Club Team arrived last year with a small but well trained team, missing out on the overall by just one point. This year they are back and despite having to travel the greatest distance bring a big team with 16 making the trip. Well covered in Junior and Senior Categories with paddlers like Andre le Geyt who conquered the Yukon this year and the young Axford Brothers could they go one better in 2016!
The Dark Horses of Dorset
BaySUP won the first two years of the club Champs in impressive style, but last year with a small team and very few junior paddlers finished down the rankings in 7th place. However this year they arrive with an almost 30 strong team, almost half of which are juniors. Could they come back and reclaim the title. They are missing those vital novice paddlers so will just need to make sure they top the points in the Dragon and sprint events if they want to top the podium again this year. The Juniors however could be standing on their own plinth with good numbers covering most age groups.
Always the bridesmaids but never the brides! Also these two clubs have ding donged between themselves over the last few years. Wet n Dry and Bray Lake will both again field the largest teams at this event. Bray have been on that podium twice in the last 3 years nudging out by Wet N Dry Last year on count back . Always, the gap between being the next rung up the ladder has been by a single point. Both clubs have great weekly paddle sessions and a fantastic team atmosphere but will this year see these perennial bridesmaids hit the top spot. Both teams have always done well in the team events and this is the first time they will count towards the overall.
The Sleeping Giants
Blue Chip have always had a team in this event, but rarely had enough numbers to make an impact on the overall standings, this year the arrive with over 20 paddlers challenging for both Junior and Senior Crowns. They also have 2 paddlers ‘fresh’ back from the 11 cities so a 6km race to them will feel like a warm up. But will this all pale into insignificance when the SUP Polo Starts. Very much seen as specialists could they add this to the Blue Chip trophy cabinet, or will it wonder North?
The Northern Power House
SUP North are a new team to enter the club champs this year, and whilst fielding a small team will look to make an impact. Off the back of a very succes
sful Northern Racing Series this winter I’m sure we will see some new names topping podiums and upsetting the status quo. They will also be looking to wrestle that SUP Polo trophy away, so could well be taking home more than just individual silverware.
They’ll have to get past their closest rivals though Central SUP. Fielding the bigger team and having more experience on the big boards may well see Central SUP sneak ahead this year. They had a rushed and late arrival last year so hopefully better race prep could well see Central SUP getting on the overall podium. Central SUP had a great overall 5th last year, will they go better?
Bottom to Top?
Last year both St Ives and Suffolk SUP had great results from all their paddlers also excelling in team racing but never had the numbers to challenge for the overall. This year we see bigger teams entering from both clubs so we could well see their overall quality fire them up the overall rankings. Suffolk are most adult focussed this year, but have one excellent Junior in Lottie Smith. St Ives however seem to have gone the other way with most of their entrants being Juniors. Could this mean their focus is more on that Junior title this year? Well with the breath and quality of their adults they’ve entered as well as the Junior points counting towards the overall, they could well walk away with both.
The Hove team last year was the smallest in the field but still aged to post a result off he bottom of the table. They did however dominate the Mixed XL Racing! They’ll be looking to regain that title and quite possibly add the Dragon title to it. With 9 adults entries though they could well be right up the top in the overall.
So that’s the runners and riders in the Adult and Overall, lets have a quick look at the Juniors.
Last year Hayling Island Paddle Club took the win, but without them here this year we will have a new champion club. 9 of the 10 clubs have Junior entered, with some teams as big as 10. Last year only 6 teams contested the overall with Bay SUP bottom of the table and St Ives not there at all. This year along with Bray they filed the largest teams. It was a count back decision between Bray and Jersey last year so this should be a super close competition all the way through. 36 juniors will be fighting it out.
One to Watch
With all the races separated out this year there will be plenty one excitement. The Dragon format will see it competitive debut, and we will have a Men’s Elite class debuting at the Championships.
All eyes would be worth putting on the Novice Racers though. With no age groups and big entries this is often where the championships are lost and won.
Inclusion of team and sprint events however should give very club a chance to snatch back vital points in the afternoon.
Also on going support from Red Paddle Co, Fanatic UK, Starboard SUP and JP
A big thanks to Bray Lake for hosting, organising and running the event with fantastic group of staff and volunteers.