28/04/2017 | Kerama Blue Cup – Race Report by Daniel Hasulyo
Kerama Blue Cup at Zamami Island, Japan, has been by far one of the most professionally run and broadcasted events I have ever entered. There was the national Sport television doing a full live show, with complete 6 person camera crew, 2 drones flying around, and 2 famous MCs (comedians) to make it exciting for everyone! Interviews before and after the race, exciting footage, great atmosphere on the beach! Good music, good food and heaps of smily faces!
We flew in with Peach Airlines, who has just opened a new flight Bangkok – Okinawa, making the location very affordable to every nature lover from Thailand!
The ocean around Okinawa looked already astonishing, but arriving with the 2 hour ferry ride to the little Island of Zamami has just turned all the sense of our body to a higher frequency charging every receptor with the cleanest air, the most vivid colour combination of blues and greens and the sweetest melody of nature, pampering our soul for the entire weekend!
Kerama Blue Cup was a 2 day event, featuring a 15km Elite Long-distance (that turned out to be one of the most grueling 30knots upwind-sidewind challenges of my career), 6km and 3km for the adventurous sport lovers, 1.5km for the kids and first time paddler, a Pro Sprint Race and many fun relays!
In a big contrast to the Paradise that had welcomed us on the first day, Saturday’s weather however drastically changed and nature showed her real power, raising wind gusts up to 30 knots and tough ocean swell conditions. The race course was extremely entertaining, combining, channel crossings, island rounding, crazy upwind leg and a big flat water section at the end, inside the bay… fortunately nature spared some action for us and kept on turning the wind direction transforming the race to one of the most challenging races of the season, giving as the chance to test our belief in ourselves and to push our limits to a new level!
Taking the big flat water section into account, I chose to race with my favourite board, the SPRINT 12’6 x 23. Despite the incredibly choppy waters, the SPRINT performed amazingly and almost managed to close the gap with Jake’s “Ace” shaped ocean board, which has showed great potential of our flat water missile! Jake drew on his ocean experience, while I flexed all my flatwater muscles and the outcome was a big smily 1st and 2nd place after an intense battle with the elements! A huge Congrats to everyone who has finished the race! Especially the girls, they did an amazing job in trying conditions! And even more a massive congratulations to Yuka Sato, for smashing 1st place in the Woman’s division, leaving Angie Jackson (who has hit a big wall on the upwind leg, where even us with Jake where averaging around 5km/h) behind her!
Long Distance Race Results:
- 1st Jake Jensen
- 2nd Daniel Hasulyo
- 3rd Kenny Kaneko
On Sunday, Zamami rewarded us for the hard work of the day before, the sky cleaned up, the wind stopped blowing and the whole island switched back to its surreal crisp blue waters, giving the most spectacular colour frame to the Sprint and Fun races, making Kerama Blue Cup one the most breathtaking events of the year!
I felt good in the morning, snorkling around with my girlfriend, Sai, we discovered an incredible amount of fish, corals, shells and turtles, which really gave me a positive charge. Now I only had to do what I love the most! The board was flying, my muscles where pumping and the crowed went crazy at the last sprint of the Final. The line up included Paul Jackson, Kenny Kaneko, Jake Jensen, current Japanese Champ Ryohei Yoshida, Kota Kayashima and myself. I went out with everything I had from start to finish and managed to secure 1st place on the podioum! At the back of my mind I knew that Bruno was 1st at the Golden Bouy at Carolina Cup, among 150 elite Paddlers, so I had to paddle at least as fast as my little brother to conclude the weekend with a great Sprint SUPBROz Style!
Beach Sprint Race Results:
- 1st – Daniel Hasulyo
- 2nd – Jake Jensen
- 3rd – Kenny Kaneko
- 4th – Ryohei Yoshida
- 5th – Paul Jackson
- 6th – Kota Kayashima
The rest was a gift of nature and life! The relay was very fun, with completely mixed teams laughing and rolling around! Everyone was on the water and the water was everywhere!
Thank you very much to the Kerama Blue Cup organisers and all the sponsors for this great weekend! Mark your calendars for next year if you want to participate to the MOST BEAUTIFUL RACE OF THE YEAR and never forget to love the Ocean, because that’s where we’re all come from!
Kerama Blue Cup SUP Race Photo Gallery:
All photo credits: Kiyotaka Kitajima