Starboard’s Ryan James Wins UK National #6

Congratulations Ryan James on a valiant effort to take first in UK’s National Series Race #6. Ryan provides us with a recap and photos here:

The Bray Lake Water Sports 25 km Ultra SUP Race is the longest race in the series calendar, the race also consisted of 6 portages of about 100m in length. The race start was packed with 70 paddlers heading down the Thames with the finish at the historic Windsor castle.

I had a crappy start with my Starboard 14’ Sprint sideways on the start line trying to hold position before the horn sounded. The sprint off the line found me sitting 5th and with only a kilometre to the first portage, I had to put a massive effort in to get to the front and avoid any of the other chasers jumping on the draft train. I managed to get 10 metres at the first portage and ran the 100 metres across the lock and jumped into the water on my board only to hear the other 4 paddlers in a draft train hit the water about 5 seconds behind. This required another massive effort to stop them catching.

As the race progressed I managed to pull out a 90 second gap on the chasers with 10 kilometres to go, unfortunately the big effort at the start had taken its toll and I was starting to hurt. Looking at my GPS, the 11.0 kph average had started to drop to 10.0 kph and the chasers were catching. With 5 kilometres to go I had about 45 seconds on second place and with 2 kilometres to go I only 30 seconds. I could feel the guys getting closer and the pressure of a loss was incredible to the point I almost quit twice, but focused on the process of putting the paddle in the water, keeping my technique and trying to relax. Luckily I held on to take another national series win, and be 1 race away from taking the series win and a place to the world championships. ~Ryan