Wow, can you believe it? It’s already been over a week since the 2018 Hong Kong International SUP Championship was officially concluded. Man, it still feels like it just happened yesterday. I don’t know about you but that day was definitely one of the best SUP experiences we – the Whatzsup Team ever had for the last couple of years.
But, before I start rambling about what happened during this exciting race, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all the staff and sponsors supported the race and also all the international SUP athletes who came to Hong Kong to take part in the race. This event could not have happened without the enthusiastic support from you guys. I think I can say this on behalf of the entire Whatzsup Team, we were all having a super time and there is nothing that makes us happier than doing what we love with the community who loves SUP as much as we do.Speaking of sponsors, Whatzsup Hong Kong is glad to continue supporting the Hong Kong International SUP Championship for the fourth year. A total amount of $16,000 prize money was given to the Champion, 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up of the Whtatzsup 6KM race for both Men & Women categories.
And that’s not all, thanks to our generous partner from the SIC, we were able to give out one of their best SUP surfboards – the SIC Tao Surf 10’6 to the winner of the 1km iSUP male category! Let’s give SIC a shout out here! It’s very generous of them to do this and we appreciate it very much. And If you are serious about SUP racing, we definitely recommend you try out the SIC boards. Seriously, they know what they are doing.
As for the female champion of the 1km iSUP race, Whatzsup had partnered up with Supflex to give out one of their most popular inflatable SUP boards – the Supflex 10 Pro to the female champion! You know what, I think this is the first time ever, we had given out actual SUP boards as prizes for the race. Do you want us to do this again? Leave a comment below to let us and our sponsors know, maybe next year we will surprise you with something even more interesting? Who knows?
So, what’s the big highlights of the race this year? Well, we’re happy to report to you that the entire Whatzsup team performed admirably in the race. Our team paddlers were able to secure a number of podium positions across different categories.
One of our top team riders – Edmund Lai was able to win the Whatzsup 6KM Short Course in 1st place with a record time of 45 mins 34 sec! Another two of our team riders Kelvin Chan and Buddy Weeks followed closely behind and were able to secure the 2nd and 3rd places of the Male category.
Our only female paddler, Mandy Leung also did a great job in the 6KM race and got a 3rd place in the Female category with only a few seconds behind the 1st runner-up. Not only that, after the 6km race she decided to race again in the 200m sprint race in the afternoon. And guess what, she again got a 3rd place in the Female Open category. How about that.
Since we are talking about the 200m race, I must mention that Whatzsup team paddler Darren Hester, was able to win the race in the Male O35 category with Buddy Weeks – another Whatzsup team paddler, just 6 seconds behind in 2nd place. I must say, you guys really did a great job out there. We’re proud to have you guys on our team.
Of course, this couldn’t be the biggest SUP event of the year in Hong Kong without the longest and most challenging race category – the 18KM Elite Long Course. This year, the 18KM race perhaps was one of the toughest SUP races ever been held in Hong Kong. Why? Ask any one of the paddlers participated and they will tell you that this year the race condition was particularly challenging, mainly because of the heat, humility and the weather. Some of the paddlers even reported they drank all of their water before finishing one-third of the entire race and had to ask the safety boat for more water.
But, despite the difficult conditions, most of the paddlers soldiered on and were able to finish the race. Personally, I haven’t participated in the 18KM category so I can only imagine how hard it would be to paddling non-stop for over two hours over a distance of 18km under these conditions. Let’s give a shout out to all the 18KM racers here. Believe me, no matter what your results were, just by completed this race was a great achievement in itself.
Speaking of which, the male champion of the race is Michael Booth and I think many people were expected that. After all, he is the current top male paddler in the Paddle League leaderboard with over 390 points in the pocket. In fact, there is a very good reason that Michael Booth wanted to win this race. On his official website, he said:
“Hong Kong is extremely hot and humid and I’m really glad I got to do this race and familiarise myself with the warmer climate again before heading over to China for the ISA where it will be very similar weather”.
Looking forward to see more SUP competition take place across Asia in the future, Michael Booth said the Hong Kong International SUP Championship was a wonderful race to take part in and was very well organised.
The female champion, on the other hand, is ONE SUP global team rider Kate Baker from UK, one of the best female SUP paddlers in the world. Hey Michael and Kate, I just want to say that we really glad that you guys have come to Hong Kong and we really enjoyed your company! Hope to see you guys again real soon. Maybe at the 2018 ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship later this year?
Besides Kate, ONE SUP had also sent out some of their team paddlers to the race. Dave White and Mike Hayes are both respectable international SUP athletes in their own rights and performed remarkably during the race.
Another noteworthy paddler is Rai Taguchi from SIC. He is the rising SUP star of Japan and SIC youth development rider. The 14-year-old Japanese SIC rider Rai Taguchi got a fifth place in the 18KM Elite category, competing alongside some of the best adult paddlers in the world like Michael Booth, Kenny Kaneko and Kate Baker! What more impressive was that he’s only ten minutes behind Michael Booth, and incase you’ve forgot, he’s only 14! Imagine what he can do in a couple years time.
It’s exciting to see more and more young people become interested in the SUP sport as well as the racing aspect of it. If you are one of those people who want to get to know more about SUP, why not send us a message to ask all the questions you can think of? Or better yet, there is a free SUP trial coming this Sunday at the Final Race of the 2018 HKSUPBA League Series. Come and have a chat with us! We’d be glad to help!
See you all real soon!
And remember, If in doubt paddle out.