This weekend the last event of the 2011 Naish SUP Tour took place in Paris. A SUP Race in the heart of Paris! A very unique opportunity to pass all the key sights like Louvre, Centre Pompidou and Eifel Tower on river Seine on a SUP, as normally paddling on Seine is strictly forbidden, it’s quite dangerous because there is heavy boat traffic.

The event organizers made the impossible possible by obtaining I don’t know how many different permits. The downside of this was a very early start before sunrise on Sunday, but first things first….

The event started on Saturday at the Salon Nautique Boat Show, the riders confirmed their registrations and were instructed to remove the fins, equip the boards and bags with numbered stickers and stow the boards away in a huge truck.
Then Robby Naish himself opened the briefing for the race. Yeah, Robby’s speech was short, but the Riders’ briefing was the longest I ever attended. We were taken through 12 pages of rules, instructions and logistics, first in French then in English. Well, at least a translation! The forecast for Sunday was: Almost no current (due to very low water level in the river) but a headwind of 10-15knots for the last half of the 11km race. Due to this forecast the race start was moved ahead, we had to be at Salon Nautic at 6:30 AM. Well, what else would you do on a Sunday morning?

The alarm clock rang at 5:15AM, thank god the hotel was quite a long walk from the Expo, which gave us some time to wake up. A bus transferred the riders to the starting point at river Seine, it was still dark when 100 SUP-Boards were unloaded from a huge truck. But different from last year, where it was 3 degrees and snowing, the weather was quite agreeable, about 13 or 14 degrees. We entered the water with the first light, the sky was dark blue and there were lots of orange reflections from the lights above the bridges, a spectacular sight.
We were instructed to only paddle on the right side of the River, there were 5 boats patrolling and making sure every one was on track. Yeah, the boats….they seemed to enjoy speeding back and forth and making some nice waves. So while the river initially looked quite calm, first there was a lot of chop when the 100 paddlers started paddling, then there were some mean waves coming from the side (thanks to the boats). Many riders, even very seasoned paddlers, fell off, many of them even 5 or 8 times.
Not so Belar Diaz, he got off with a good start, initially leading, but was then passed by Casper Steinfaht, Eric Terrien and Gaetan Sene. Casper was leading for the first 2km, but also got passed by Eric and Gaetan.  Well, no surprise Eric won and Gaetan finished 2nd, the ranking we saw in many of the Euro Races. Places 3 to 5 were a closer call.
Belar and Creg Closier were paddling in 4th and 5th position for most of the race. They caught up with Casper about 3km before the finish. It was a close battle between these 3, but Belar, still had lots of energy left and after hearing there are only 1-2km left, he did an amazing sprint to the finish, passing Casper and coming in 3rd behind last year’s winner Eric Terrien and Gaetan Sene.
For the ladies, Sonni Hörscheid from Germany (but living in Fuerte) came in first, followed by Faustine Merret and Sophie Routaboul.
Congratulations to all winners!
All in all, it was a really nice downstream paddle that passed all the famous sites, even with little time to really appreciate them. I only recognized most of the sights later on the Gopro pics and video, but I did for sure notice Eiffel Tower when passing it. There was some moderate headwind towards the last third of the race, but that was nothing compared to Holland, all in all the 11km were quite easy and it never got boring as there was always some boat action going on.
At the finish of the race, there were hot showers and some food provided at the Microsoft office and after a short rest the riders were transferred back to the Salon Nautique Boat show, for some more Sprint race Action, well, for half the riders. Only the top 50 riders were allowed in the sprint race, that is top 50 overall, not top 50% men, top 50% women and top 50% juniors. What’s the point in having one women and one junior compete in heats with 48 men you ask? Well if this women was Annabel Anderson, there maybe was a point, but last year’s female winner was not around this year, he is spending the European winter on the other side of the globe, where there is still summer. Not that I was too keen to get back in the water for some more paddling, but I think having a women’s final with the top 8 women would have been nice, same for the juniors. Anyway, in the sprint final, riders had to paddle one lap in one-on-one heats in the tiny pool (40m long, 8m wide), with a very tight turn around a buoy. Quite a spectacle.
Nautic SUP Crossing Paris
Eric Terrien, Paul-Conrad Delare
, Caspar Steinfath and Arthur Arutkin

 made it to the Quarter Final, the final was Eric vs. Arthur Arutkin, which of course, Eric won again, which also made him the overall winner of the event.
Well, maybe Eric’s win was not surprising, but he had another surprise in stock. He announced his new Sponsor, BIC sports. BIC? Yes, BIC! No, they don’t just make lighters, also Surfboards, and now SUPs as well….
The overall winners were calculated from a mix of the long distance and sprint race, and the winners from the combined rankings were the same as for the 11km Race, 1) Eric Terrien 2) Gaetan Sene 3) Belar Diaz
There was some confusion at the price giving however, as initially Casper Steinfath was given the 3rd prize, but that was quickly corrected.
After  it was time to say goodbye to all fellow riders, as this was the last event of the season and rush off to the airport for the next adventure, stay tuned for that.


11km Race Winners

1) Eric Terrien

2) Gaetan Sene (Mistral)

3) Belar Diaz (Fanatic)

4) Gregory Closier

5) Caspar Steinfaht


Ladies Winners:

1) Sonni Hönscheid

2) Faustine Merret

3) Sophie Routaboul


Sprint Race Results:


Eric Terrien vs. Paul-Conrad Delare

Caspar Steinfath vs. Arthur Arutkin

Final: Eric Terrien vs. Arthur Arutkin

Winner: Eric Terrien


Overall Winners:

1) Eric Terrien

2) Gaetan Sene (Mistral)

3) Belar Diaz (Fanatic)


Here are the full results