Day 4 of the 12th Annual 5-day SUP 11-City Tour
Will it be the Hell of the North (the usual term of this stage) or Heaven on Earth? Franeker-Dokkum can be both depending how the winds are blowing and which ways the currents are going. As it turned out; westerly winds and currents towards Dokkum were in favor of all paddlers who did another fast track to the finish line in Dokkum today. With 2 docks to ‘Kluun’ (sprinting or walking with your boards past the docks) the first half of this day gives plenty of excitement; handling the 14 foot raceboards safely and swiftly.
Saturday and Sunday also are called “the weekend stage” and for average paddlers who want to give themselves an endurance challenge (and a test to do the 5 days event the following year) this the perfect way!
Anne Merkus decided she wanted to do just that! And does it get better than paddling together with your mother Tineke Merkus and being escorted to the finish by your dad Ritske Merkus and friends on his boat the Brutus? Tineke has started her 9th SUP11 City adventure this year. After a team participation with the NON – Stop edition last weekend, she continued the SUP Fun with her SUP friends in the 5-day Tour division. If it would be up to Tineke, this event never stops!
Alain Luck, the number 3 in the male competition was determined to stick with his peloton. He did so for a solid 10 kilometers, but before the first ‘kluun spot’ he had to let Joep and Bruno go. And again, these 2 guys looked so strong and so fast! They paddled together the entire day till Dokkum. At the final sprint to the finish line Bruno just managed to grab a few seconds on Joep.
Tanja Ecker earned her nick name “Queen of the Locks” once again, gaining 500 meters on this obstacle course for the SUP 11 paddlers. But Marion Behrens and Heleen Straatman from the Diva’s were the close runners ups with some excellent ‘fast kluun technique’.
Petronella kept a solid lead today making her number 1 ranking even more solid.
It is also pretty safe to say that she is one day away to her first SUP 11 City title. Off course we don’t want to sell the skin before the bear is caught, but it is exciting to see how hard work over many years is paying off for Van Malsen. Tanja with a solid second ranking and Wietske Kuipers in third had a great time paddling together and pushed it till the end with a final finish sprint.
In the Grand Masters Peter Mulhauser is leading the top 3 overall with 51 minutes lead. In the masters it’s Guido Donze, after the mistake from Niels Lønborg yesterday, he is leading the overall results with 16 minutes and a bit.
The finish location in Dokkum is just before the center of town where all the bigger boats dock and where the beautiful windmill warmly welcomes the SUP 11-City Tour with its turning blades.
The arrival afternoon in Dokkum is always very exciting! Finishing on day 4 is an amazing feeling after ‘hump day’ and the long tough stages of the first few days. The idea that you ‘only’ have to paddle one more day to complete this Monster Tour, makes Energies rise by everyone. By now you have found your paddle buddies and by now you have bonded with the SUP11 crew and the personal support crews who travel with the event all week long. It becomes that turning point where you feel like ONE BIG family and like Tineke Merkus, you don’t want this to end.
Big shout out to volunteer Gerlof Werkman, who called us on Thursday night if it was ok, he was going to paddle on day 4. He really wanted to know what it’s like to be on the board for that long. After being on the safety boats for many times, it was time to get his own paddle experience. Special fact: this was his 3rd time on a board, 2 times a Friday Night SUP in Leeuwarden and this time from Franeker to Dokkum!
Looking into tomorrow, there is thankfully another day to paddle to Leeuwarden.
With 40 extra paddlers on to start line tomorrow on the 28 kilometer stretch, this last day stage will kick off in style followed by an entire time trial day for all competitors.
When you like to know what this looks like, please tune in with Chris Parker, Marije Elgersma and myself @ SUPracers LIVE SHOW tomorrow at 9:15 am Dokkum time. See you then!