Last weekend, the SUP Race Cup took place in St. Maxime at the French Cote d’Azur. It is the biggest and most prestigious SUP Race in Europe, an event not to be missed, which unofficially crows the European SUP Race Champions as ultimately a race is about who was there and not about the title or prize money.

This year really everybody was there. All the top European riders plus some guest from overseas. There were over 100 starters with high profile names like Europe’s undistputed number one Eric Terrien, Top French Riders Gaetan Sene, Gregory Closier, Yoann Cornelis and Didier Leniel, Italian Hotshots Leo Nika and Fabrizio Gasbarro, Spanish Champion Belar Diaz, top UK racers Ryan James (2nd in the  2011 Eleven City Tour) and Pete Holliday from the UK, Caspar Steinfath from Denmark. Bart de Zwart came from Hawaii (winner of the Eleven City Tour 2011) and Chase Kosterlitz from the US (World Champion on 14’).

The growing popularity of the SUP Race Cup was also demonstrated by more riders from more nations that were not present last year, 15 year-old talent Manca Notar came all the way from Slovenia, after one rider last year, there were 3 riders from Germany this year. For the first time, there were also 3 riders from Austria: Austrian Champion Sigrid Baumgartner, Melanie Brandstädter and Christian Moutsakos (3rd in the 60k Ultramarathon Podersdorf). Only one rider was dearly missed: Fred Bonnef, who was in a terrible car accident on the Monday before and has a long journey of recovery ahead of him. We wish him all the best!

As always, the race was perfectly organized by Yannick Pinauld from La Cigale Surf Club. Aside from the perfect organization he had also done an awesome job in motivating everybody to come to the event. Different from last year, the setting of the event was not in the center of St. Maxime by the casino, but about 6km East at the La Cigale Surf Club. Personally, I liked that much better, it was less stressful for the riders with ample parking, showers, toilets and more space vs. the crowded city center. Saturday started with a fun competition in fancy dresses and the juniors race.  It was amazing to see all the people dressed up in amazing constumes and how much power and enthusiasm the juniors had.

In the afternoon, the beach race with 92 riders took place, a 3 lap course around bouys with a lap of running through the sand after each lap. Of note in the race format was a new start system that seemed to work very well: There were 2 starting lines, on command riders walked down to the second line from where the actual start was. This seemed to work well in avoiding chaos in the massive 92 rider start and also made the start less stressful for the riders. For the running through the sand, the riders had to take their boards and run with them, which added extra momentum for the spectators and photographers.
The beach race was designed to be 8km but turned out to be much longer, about 10km, the pace of the race was incredibly high.

Eric Terrien once more proved he is not only Europe’s undisputed number one but can also beat top international riders. He came in way ahead of the rest of the field. Behind him there was a fierce battle which all the top 15 racers being very close together. Ultimately, Leo Nika came in second before Gaetan Sene, Caspar Steinfath and Bart the Zwart

TOP 15 Men:
#1 Eric Terrien (BIC)
#2 Leo Nika (Starboard)
#3 Gaetan Sene (Starboard)
#4 Caspar Steinfath (Naish)
#5 Bart de Zwart (Starboard)
#6 Gregory Closier (Hobie)
#7 Yoann Cornelis (Fanatic)
#8 Chase Kosterlitz (Fanatic
#9 Daniel Arthur (Jimmy Lewis)
#10 Didier Leniel (Fanatic)
#11 Arthur Arutkin (Starboard)
#12 Thierry Kostka (Starboard)
#13 Fabrizio Gasbarro (Fanatic)
#14 Ryan James (Starboard)
#15 Belar Diaz (Fanatic)
Olivia Piana won the women’s class of the beach race, beating quite a few men and arriving only 11 minutes behind the men’s winner. Silvia Mecucci from Italy finished 2nd and the only 15-year old Manca Notar, who had already shown an excellent performance at the Port Grimaud race and the Bavarian 4 Lake Trophy finished 3rd
TOP 10 Women:
#1 Olivia Piana (Fanatic)
#2 Silvia Mecucci (Jimmy Lewis)
#3 Manca Notar (Naish)
#4 Celine Guesdon
#5 Sophie Balmary
#6 Letitia Isnardon
#7 Lydie Soule Touche
#8 Sigrid Baumgartner
#9 Melanie Brandstädter
#10 Marie-Laure Donat.
Here is a video interview with Eric Terrien after the race!

For more on Eric, check out his new Facebook page:

More pics of the event will soon go online on: