Day 1 of the 12th Annual 5-day SUP 11-City Tour
The excitement and crispiness was in the air! And at 9 am, during the LIVE SHOW with Chris Parker (who is stuck in Australia), Marije Elgersma (in Leeuwarden) and myself from Hawaii, the first tour start took place in Leeuwarden. Temperatures were warm (18 degrees), but it was also muggy. A few ‘watery’ sun rays popped through the clouds as everyone made their way to Sloten in the ‘start waves’ that followed. Tour paddlers, Competition, Diva, Masters, Grandmasters and Teams. It is great to have options to paddle in an age category that fits you best.
A heated battle starts off in the male competition with Bruno Hasulyo (Hungary) and Joep van Bakel (The Netherlands) with a ‘7 km long interval training’. Bruno wanting to defend his title from the previous years; Joep being hungry to take over!
Day 1 is a very important day in the SUP11 race. With some bigger lakes presented, this is day to run away from your competition and grab some time for the days ahead. Petronella van Malsen (The Netherlands) and Tanja Ecker (Germany) are known to be strong paddlers in this event. And then you always need to keep an eye out for ‘a dark horse’ to come out of nowhere.
It wouldn’t be a real 11City Tour vibe, if it wasn’t for the rain today that hit before Sneek. An element of suffering is ‘a given’ for the paddlers. Bad weather for the organization makes it extra challenging. Off course this day ‘did not fall into the water’! Thankfully many bridges in Friesland offer ‘rain shade’. The lunch team was also on it like every year; with tents, warm soup, sandwiches and really.. what is NOT provided at that magical midway point!
The wind never made a strong come back today, but she was there from the right side and made the legendary Slotermeer tough with waves and chops. 4 participants who had to stop. Thankfully three of them can start again tomorrow. Unfortunately former crew member Rebecca Jochems isn’t able to start anymore, due to the knee injury she got.
Bruno took a solid win today finishing the 48 kilometers today in 5 hours and 18 minutes. Joep van Bakel came in 2nd with 5 hours and 29 minutes and Alain Luck from Switzerland came in 3rd with a time of 5 hours and 50 minutes.
Petronella took the lead by the ladies today with 6 hours and 21 minutes. Followed by Tanja Ecker who was only 4 minutes behind her. Wietske Kuipers from the Netherlands came in 3rd today 6 hours and 55 minutes.
A few fun facts: Hugo Vernhout is the one and only paddler who is committed to the 200 km long SUP Clean up these 5 days. And in Sneek there was a great turnout on the water for the free SUP Clinics (we offer since 2009).
Massages, meals and warm dry clothes are always the things to look forward to after a long day on the water. Off course provided according protocol Covid-19 this year. Also due to the Covid, big gatherings in the event (like price giving’s) are avoided. The winners of today will receive their prices at the skippers meeting tomorrow morning with race director Hans Schouten at 8 am.
As for now: recover, recoup and have a sleep tight! We will see you back online with more recaps and detailed info of today’s action with SUPracers LIVE SHOW at 8:30 am Leeuwarden Time.