First MUG and Guernsey Paddle Club Race Series is a Success
Tuesday 26 September 2017
Male Uprising Guernsey (MUG) made a splash this summer when they teamed up with the Guernsey Paddle Club to bring paddle sports racing to Guernsey.
The MUG Summer SUP Series got off to a flying start in May. The first race of the five-race series was held at Pembroke, where competitors had the weather on their side with the sun shining and the crystal-clear water was as calm as a millpond.
The short technical race opened with a beach start, with participants lining up along the shore, boards under their arm and paddle in hand ready to sprint to the water. The competitors launched into the water and began their first leg of the race out around the first of the three buoys.
Each race varied in distance, location and technical difficulty over the five months, with all competitors competing in the same watercraft racing at the same time. The results were split into board class and age bracket, adults (18 - 39), masters (40 - 51) and veterans (51+), race and leisure stand-up paddle boards.
Every race in the series was open to all and was not only limited to stand-up paddle boarders, as surf skis, canoes/kayaks and prones were also invited to participate, with separate races for each category of watercraft.
It was down to Havelet for race two which would be the first of three distance races, with competitors paddling from Havelet to Fermain, around a buoy and back again. At approximately 2.8 miles this was a short distance event to give participants a taste of what was to come later in the series.
While setting up at Havelet, race organiser Alan Jenner persuaded four kayakers to take part along with two surf-skis. Racers had to combat the tide, winds and Condor's wake on the way back to the finish, but everyone made it back within an hour. Alex Fuller, having already won race one, made it a two-win streak on his 14-foot race board, with its more streamlined and lightweight design being much faster than the leisure boards taking part.
It was back to Pembroke for race three, for another short but technical course with organisers adding a 'super lap' to make things interesting. This race resulted in a fantastic photo finish with Alex Fuller and Jonathan Pooley abandoning their boards at the shore, for a head to head sprint finish, with Mr Pooley taking the win.
Race four was the long distance race, covering about 4.5 miles of the north coast. Competitors launched into the water at Ladies Bay paddling their way round to Port Grat then to Pembroke and back again. Participants were met with windy conditions with a little swell which made a challenging race even tougher. Alex Fuller took the win, but Jim Elliot made him work for it managing to keep up with the race board on his leisure board.
Finally, the series concluded this month with the main Open Race, which will now be an annual event from Vazon to Cobo. Guernsey's tidal conditions were typically unforgiving with a little swell and a lot of tidal movement posing a challenge, but the 27 competitors gave it their all. This time Jim Elliot defied all the odds on his leisure board beating Alex Fuller and his race board, with a fantastic sprint across the finish line.
The race culminated in a prize giving and BBQ at the Rockmount, who kindly donated a portion of profits to MUG.
Speaking of the series' success, MUG council member, Michael Richards concludes: 'The MUG council and I are very proud of what Alan Jenner has achieved. This has been a fantastic inaugural year for paddle racing, and it's very important for MUG to be associated with such a successful summer event. We hope the paddle racing and MUG's skin cancer awareness campaign can grow hand-in-hand each summer.'
To keep up to date with the Guernsey Paddle Club check out their Facebook page, @guernseypaddleclub