Hard core Stand Up Paddlers of Mallorca have been training the whole winter for this important event. It took place 13-15th of May and marked our calendars as the start of the fantastic SUP summer season.
This is the 4th year that Mar Balear SUP Center located in Port Adriano is organizing this amazing event. The long distance race is part of the EuroTour. EuroTour is a multinational event where 14 races in 14 weeks will take place in 10 countries this summer. About €76,000 in combined prize money will be shared among the best paddlers in the world. Port Adriano race was the second stop in this tour. Besides Port Adriano, the major highlights of this tour are SUP Race Cup in St. Maxime, Bilbao Paddle Challenge in Spain and the most famous long distance race in Europe, the Lost Mills in south of Germany. The tour helps the major races to be part of a bigger event but also supports local paddling communities by bringing elite athletes together with amateur ones. Another important contribution of this tour is that it forces all participants to use one size boards i.e. 14-foot class. In addition, the official trailer of the tour carries all participants’ boards from one race to another. This solves the major headache of carrying two boards and transportation.
Mar Balear SUP Center in Port Adriano has a very good infrastructure for a big event like this. Since it is part of a diving center there are plenty of boats for security and helpful staff. The harbor of Adriano also has very good facilities for the participants. The weekend was planned as following: Saturday’s big event was the long distance race which is part of the EuroTour and some shorter distance races for amateurs and juniors. Sunday was planned as the fun day where all participants compete in the sprint race using the 10’6 inflatable children race boards provided by Red Paddle Co. Red Paddle Co. the specialist brand form UK that develops only inflatable boards is one of the sponsors of this tour this year.
Saturday morning’s briefing made many racers disappointed because the race director Manolo Simoncelli (also the coach of Mar Balear SUP Center/Team) decided to postpone the race until the afternoon. The wind was not super strong, maybe around 20-25 knots but the triangle between Port Adriano, El Toro Island and the Malgrats Islands where the long distance race would take place is a very tricky area indeed. I did paddle there many times and I can tell you that the waves come from all directions sometime. It can be a real challenge! So the schedule was shuffled around and the amateurs and juniors did their races starting from the harbor and competing in the bay nearby.
The length of the long distance race is normally about 12 km. The atart is from the harbor, then the competitors paddle to El Toro Island. From there they paddle to Malgrats Islands, turn around the big island and come back to the harbor. At the 13.00 briefing the race director decided to shorten the course to about 9 kilometers due to the sea conditions. The racers would paddle from the harbor to Malgrats Islands, turn in front of the islands and return back. The winners of this really difficult race were Paolo Marconi (Italy/RRD) and Sonni Hönscheid (Germany/SIC). Paolo had a lead from the 3km mark of the race and finished 1 minute ahead of the second racer. Sonni has won this race before and is considered to be one of the best female paddlers in the world at the moment. Our national and local hero Laura Quetglas (SIC) was 3rd. The best Spanish male athlete Pepe Oltra (SIC) was in the 6th position. As expected the race was difficult due to sea conditions and some paddlers had to abandon it.
Sunday was full of action and a lot fun for the spectators because the famous sprint race took place just in front of the beach. The idea is very simple but so brutal in a way. Everybody competes on the same type of board which is a 10’6 inflatable children race board by Red Paddle Co. Men, woman and children, all compete together in groups of 8 racers maximum. The first 4 advance to the next round. The course is simple. The racers start from the beach in the water, paddle about 50 meters to the first buoy, turn and paddle about 50 meters parallel to the beach to the next buoy, turn and paddle 50 meters back to the beach. It is so much fun to watch because these small and tippy boards make it very difficult for adult racers and give great opportunities to children to compete against their idols. In addition to sprint races, this year the organizers included a race for OC-1 (outrigger canoe for one person) and surf ski paddlers too. There are more races for surf ski in Mallorca but a race for OC-1 paddlers was a good start of a new discipline on the island.
It was a great weekend indeed and I am so happy to see those young kids, the future of this sport getting better and better every year. Manolo Simoncelli and Laura Quetglas from Mar Balear SUP Center are doing an amazing job with these young talents. I was extra happy because my little boys got to the podium too. My 5 year old boy was 1st and his brother was 2nd in their age groups. Now I am a proud SUPer father.
Special thanks goes to sports photographer Matthias Söder from palmapix.com and Argazki Mahatu the official photographer of the event for the pictures.
Until the next article I wish you a lot of fun time on the water. If you have any questions about SUP surfing or real estate in Mallorca (which is my real job), you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about SUP events in Mallorca can be found on our Club de SUP Mallorca Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/clubsupmallorca.