Here’s a first hand recount of the JEVER SUP from the Pro division’s distance and sprint 3rd placer, John Hibbard. Read on…
Starboard’s John Hibbard beaming with pride
“When someone told me there was a race event going on in Germany I was expecting some small fry event with a few people. I could not have been more wrong. Arriving at the event after driving across England, catching a ferry to France and then driving across France, Belgium, Holland and finally Germany I was blown away by the size of the thing. A tented event village with hotdog stands, mobile beer sellers and 20,000+ spectators this event was something else. The whole race area was wired for sound and a mix of pumping tunes and commentary boomed around this man made canal basin that had been turned into a SUP Stadium!
It was great to see 50+ paddlers fighting it out in the amateur racing. Both the mens and ladies divisions were hotly contested and with prize money up for grabs there was a lot of commitment on the faces of the riders.
The Pro racing was intense. We had entrants from all over the world and every one of the pro entrants was aiming for a podium place. The Sprint race was dominated by Ekolu Kalama. His speed off the line was insane. He is just so quick. His powerful arms surging him forward. Eric Terrian from France was quick too and was giving me a real run for it as we battled for 2nd and 3rd place. He beat me into 2nd but I was still pretty stoked to be in 3rd place.
The Saturday night party went off, but most of the pro riders were keeping a low profile as Sunday was distance day. After a riders meeting to discuss the future of the these events we stroked out to the start line and prepared for a 10 lap course of the arena. Ekolu and Eric were fighting it out for 1st and 2nd the whole way, but it was Ekolu who’s superior mark rounding allowed him to pull out a small lead in the final stages and cross the line to the roar of the crowd. I was pushed all the way by Australian Paul Jackson but putting the hammer down on the last lap I increased the gap between us and was happy to claim 3rd place for the second day running.
The prize giving was held in front of hundreds of people and the sponsors looked exceptionally happy with it all.
The city sup concept is an amazing awareness raising event. Most of the spectators would not have seen Stand Up Paddle before or maybe only thought of it as a surf sport. It allowed us to bring some of the beach culture to the city. Ok so there weren’t big waves or downwind swells but there was some immensely close racing. I really believe in this concept and I’m looking forward to more events like it in the future.
A big thank you to the event organizers and the sponsors for putting on a ground breaking event. Thanks to my sponsors Starboard for making the fastest boards in the land for City SUP and to Go Fast Sports for keeping me going!
Starboard, Go Fast Sports
For more details on the JEVER SUP World Cup 2009 go to www.supworldcup.de