SUP Paris Crossing Recap by Leonard Nika

The first annual SUP king of the bay was held on the 19th January 2013.
A 7km long distance SUP race across Mui Ne bay from Surf4U to Jibes Beach Club.

Registration opened on the morning of the event accompanied by a light breakfast courtesy of Didi and the Ocean’s republic team.
The day began with a few words from Andrew Zabolotnyi and Pascal Lefebvre, the two school owners who have joined together to make this event possible,

The 9 competitors, one female from 5 countries were briefed on the course by Janot Prat who would follow along side the race in a speed boat donated by Manta sailing school
At 9.30 the race began with the sound of the horn, a running start to the SUP’s which were lined up across the shore.

Once the boards hit the water the pack quickly split into two groups.
Initially a strong headwind sent the leaders deep into the bay which allowed the second group to catch up with their more direct approach to the finish.

With a time of 41.01sec Olek from Kite n Surf School was seen approaching the finish line at Jibes Beach club.
It was a bit tricky bringing in the long race SUP’s through the waves but provided great amusement for spectators who had gathered to welcome the competitors.

Waves were caught but bounced off riders with the backwash created by the seawall.
The race finished with a short sprint to a flag hanging inside the club.

A small Prize giving was held at the Jibes Saturday BBQ with prizes kindly donated by
Ocean’s republic
Fish Eye production
Jibes beach Club
Lang Ca Voi the whale Village.
Manta Sailing School

Oleksandr Olefirenko was crowned KING OF THE BAY 2013 with a time of 41.01sec, setting the first record to beat.
Join us next year to see him defend his title on 18th January 2014!

For a more up close look at what took place at the event, check out this video

1st: 41.01: Oleksandr Olefirenko
2nd: 42.42,: Pavel Lobodin
3rd: 42.54: Pavel Chistakov
4th 43.51: Sergei Shubin
5th: 44.40: Will King
6th: 44.52: Sergei Tovkan
7th: 51.19: Nguyen Van Rot
8th:53.45: Lucy Odillo Starboard dominated the Paris Crossing this year with 3 Starboard Team riders winning all podium positions (Leonard Nika 1st, Gaetan Sene 2nd, and Titouan Puyo 3rd). Also in the women’s division Marie Buchanan of Starboard Dream Team, won 1st.

Here is a recap by Leonard Nika.


Nautic Sup Paris Crossing 2013 –
The first day, Saturday 7th, I spent it to get to the event traveling by plane from Rome with my 12’6 board, then we took a metro, a train, walked for 20 min, all with the 12’6 board, and a 25kg suitcase on my shoulders. Fortunately, Pascal Pouget picked us up or we would have never made it in time to the meeting point.

This was my second time racing in Paris, it is always a pleasure to be here for the last race of the year, but this time it was a bit difficult to check in because when the inscription opened in September, the race was already full with 300 people, in just 10 days. During this time, I was in California attending at the BOP. The only solution was to be in the waiting list to see if someone would delete his inscription so I can take his place. I waited two or three hours after the closing of the entries, but the long wait was not wasted, some people decided not come, so I signed up and I got my jersey number 18. After all of this, I still like this event because it is well organized and I can see how the organizers worked hard to entertain all the people.

The Second day, Sunday 8th, the day of the race, I was ready, well rested and positive to get in the cold Senna water. It was a bit warmer then last year. The first meeting point was at the boat show at 6.30am where 4/5 buses were waiting for us. Me and my brother Claudio, we climbed on the first bus to arrive early at the starting line, and to get our boards ready, put on the 3.2 wetsuit, which was perfect for the conditions. The current was in our favor and at 7:30am, we where ready. At 7:45am we had a little briefing and at 8:00 every body was in the water. The race began around 8:10/8:20, it was still dark and 300 people trying to reach the starting line due to the current.

My Brother Claudio competed in the amateur division and juniors division for 11km on the ACE 12’6×25 with his Hi Aspect 475 oval shaft paddle. I was on the Turtle Bay surf race 12’6 x25 with my Hi Aspect 475 oval shaft paddle and competed in the Pro division for 15km. The start of this race was unbelievable as there was not count down, just a big sound that makes you know that the race started. When I heard the sound I was in the middle of the amateur riders far from the starting line. I tried to paddle as much as possible to get out of the fray so I could put my paddle on the water and not on the board of somebody else. Finally, I got out and I was going fast with the water current helping. My brother was next to me for the first km and we were in the top line. I saw on my left side a bunch of people with the pro jerseys trying to make a line for drafting, but I was feeling good and I decided not to draft for a while.

After the island where we have to make the turn, I was very happy that I chose the board I was on, the choppy water and the little bumps helps the Turtle Bay edition to catch the speed. I took the lead for half of the race and every bridge that we passed the water was like boiling. I remember that I fell 3 times trying to pass between the amateurs and this caused me to lose my lead. Falling in the water helped me to get a little bit fresh, so I paddled hard to get back in the line to try and take the draft. I was behind Gaetan Sene and Titouan Puyo as the finish line was getting closer. I knew from the last year, that when we past the Eifel Tower, it was the last 2km. I kept drafting to keep my energy back after falling 3 times and at the last bridge before the arrival, I decided to pull out all my energy for the last part of the race. I did it and I arrived 1st! Titouan came in 2nd and Gaetan Sene in 3rd. I was so happy to be the 1st, but also happy to see that behind me was other two Starboard riders.

My Brother Claudio was in the photo finish with the first of the amateur winner and he got second, but he won the juniors division and I’m proud of him because he trained hard for this race and he got in the front of a lot of people.

In the afternoon we had the sprint race on the pool, the top 4 of the long distance was already in the round 3, this race is so fun cause is so short distance and anything can happen. Everyone has the same board, but they can choose any paddle. We started two at a time and turned 2 buoys in 25m and came back. The winner passed on to the second round. One little mistake can make you fall in and lose. I was having so much fun watching the amateurs and the juniors competing because there was 1000 people around the pool screaming to excite the riders to win. Claudio was in the both division and he had to do his best to win and he did! He win both the races in the pool he got first amateur and first juniors, second overall amateur and first overall juniors, good job Claudio.

I was having so much fun, I almost forget that we where doing a competition, during the race in the pool I was winning all my hits and it brought me to the final with Gaetan Sene. After choosing the coin toss to decide which side to start, Gaetan chose and he took the buoy on the right and I was on the left. He turned the buoy in back side and I was in front side, which was a bit of a disadvantage because for a regular footer, it is easy to turn in the back side, but when I arrived at the buoy a little bit faster then Gaetan, had all the time to turn it and go to the finish line. I got to the pool 1st.

I would like to thank all the organizers and Didier for this wonderful experience in this big beautiful city, Paris. Racing in December with so many people looks like summer time and happy to see this sport growing so fast every year. I wish to see many and many more people sharing fun time like this around the world.

Thanks to my Sponsors, Starboard, Bombereyewear, for their support.

Leonard Nika

Congratulations to the entire team and to Paris for an amazing event.

9th: 53.56: Truong Ky Tu

Pics: by Jibe’s Beach club