The first National stand up paddle event of its kind in Australia was held at West Lakes, Adelaide as part of the Australian Canoeing 2014 National Sprint Championships.
Internationally, Australia is the first country to have a national SUP flat-water competition outside the Silver Blade Regatta held in the USA. Amateur paddlers were included in the racing which offered the most extensive age group categories so far seen in this country.
Amidst glorious weather and near perfect paddling conditions, Australia’s elite stand up paddlers who generally are more comfortable in large surf or 20-30 knot downwind conditions pitted themselves against the clock in this new flat-water discipline. The racing distances of 200m, 500m and 5km distances were extremely well received and created some intense competition and friendly rivalry. The gated starts proved interesting and were challenging in any breeze. Races could be won or lost at the start line.
Event highlights included the 200m win by Paul “Jacko” Jackson (Qld) in near world record time, Beau O’Brien’s(Qld) tactical win in the 5km race and “young gun” Trevor Tunningtons win in the 500m. Hailing from the Sunshine Coast Trevor is a great ambassador for the sport and is a name to watch for on the world stage. Other notable results were O/50’s winner Warwick Lee (Vic). O/40’s winner Chris Clarke (Vic) and Jake Jensen (Qld) who pressured the winners in the 200m and 500m races.
For the ladies, Angie Jackson won the 200 and 500m races convincingly while Jean Ringrose won the 5km race.
Such is Jake Jensen’s, Angie and Paul Jackson’s commitment to the sport they came to Adelaide for the 200mand 500m races before flying out on Sunday afternoon to Peru for the start of the SUP world tour, hence missing the 5km race.
AuSUP Board would like to extend their sincere thanks to Australian Canoeing in managing the event and the AC members for allowing SUP to feature in their National Championships as the AuSUP SUPfest. The competing SUP athletes gave the event a huge thumbs-up and look forward to future collaboration to develop this racing discipline to its full potential.