On the weekend of May28th, 2011, 101 paddlers from all over the world travelled to beautiful Sainte Maxime on the French Mediterranean coast, to compete in  the SUP Race Cup.

Saturday started with the Relay Race. The Italian team (4 riders), dominated the Equipes SUP Race. The team was composed by: Leonard Nika, Fabrizio Gasbarro, Alessandro Ceccarelli & Silvia Mecucci. Congratulations!

This was followed by a Junior Race, it was spectacular to watch and truly amazing to see so many kids participate and have fun on the water! The Elite Race (12’6” class) took place on Saturday afternoon. About 70 racers, men and women, started at the same time from the beach and had to paddle a 1.7 km round course around 5 buoys , leave the water, run a lap through the sand – with board and paddle in hand – paddle back out, all this 4 times in quite rough waters, a total distance of 7km.

Eric Terrien (Nidecker) won the men’s race before Bart de Zwart (Starboard) who had flown in all the way from Hawaii. Slyvia Merlucci  from Italy won the women’s race before 24-year old newcomer Marie Joelle Lanctot from Canada. Dearly missed was our friend Annabel Anderson, who is battling an infection in hospital. Get well soon, Annabel!



  1. Eric Terrien (41:55)
  2. Bart de Zwart (43:15)
  3. Gaetan Sene (43:16)


  1. Sylvia Merlucci (54:09)
  2. Marie Joelle Lanctot (54:22)
  3. Brigitte Banegas (55:52)

SUP Race Cup St. Maxime

Start of the 7km Elite Race Photo: www.sup-guide.com

On Sunday, the long distance race took place. 15km along the coastline, the water was calmer than on Saturday, but there was quite a bit of wind, first the racers had to paddle out to the East against the wind and then a nice downwinder back in.

In the open class (14’) we saw Eric and Bart racing in mind one beside the other, something rare and unusual because it lasted for nearly 10 km despite their completly different styles. This time they switched positions and Bart came in first. A big surprise was Ryan James from the UK who finished 3rd after 5 falls , he was followed closely by Italian Leonard NIKA and Ludo Dulou.

In the women’s category, 24-year old Marie Joelle Lanctot won, followed by Brigitte and Sylvie, it was a close battle between Brigitte and Sylvie. Brigitte came in a bit earlier, but had not taken her paddle over the finish line. There was some dispute as to wether this was clearly stated in the briefing or not and in the end it was decided to give the 2nd place to both of them and everybody was happy.

the SUP race cup st. maxime, france

The location. Plage centre ville St. Maxime. Photo: www.sup-guide.com

Here are more photos:



14’ MEN

  1. Bart de Zwart
  2. Eric Terrien
  3. Ryan James

 12’6 WOMEN

  1. Marie Joelle Lanctot
  2. Sylvia Merlucci & Brigitte Banegas

We briefly spoke to Eric, right after the long distance race.

Congratulations Eric, how was it?

“It was  a very nice race, the beach race, a very nice course with bouys and running on the beach”

Did you like the running?

“Yeah I liked it,  it was fun, you can actually switch positions, it makes the course very exciting. I won yesterday’s race.

Today was the long distance race, the first half was against the wind and then the second half was a very nice downwind, not too windy, probably 10 knots. Very tough race between me and Bart, we were fighting, it was very close.Today Bart won, I am very happy for Bart because he came all the way from Hawaii, I won yesterday, he won today, so that is good, we are very good friends, I am happy for him.!”

Here is the full interview, excuse the quality, it was very windy….

Joelle Terrien, Eric’s mother, 56, successfully finished the long distance race and was awarded a special price as the oldest participant.  We also briefly spoke to her:

Congratulations, Joelle, tell us about yourself! How did you start paddling?

“I did lots of sports, but 10 years ago I stopped to write a book and do my job, then last year I was here with Eric and tried standup for the first time – I loved it and started  doing it regularly! I then participated in Hamburg and I want to do Eleven City Tour this year, I was a long distance runner. I did 100km by foot, so I really love going long distances!”

How was the race?

“The first 7km were hard, all the time against the wind, but then on the way back, with the downwind it was soo good! We live near the Atlantic Ocean, to come here to St. Maxim with the clear blue water it is very nice, it was a great event, perfectly organized with so many great people, I liked it very much!”

And here is an interview with newcomer Marie, you came in 2nd on Saturday and won the Sunday long distance race


All in all a great, warm, sunny weekend in a gorgeous setting with great people. For me personally, coming from Bavaria with 307 lakes, which are mostly flat, this was my first ocean paddle at all, yet alone race. I was totally focused on staying on the board and not getting in anybody’s way and was glad I did not fall off. When the race started and I realized how choppy to water got once you left the bay, I was like “what am I doing here?”. I think if I had paddled out alone in these conditions I would have instantly left the water thinking “This is too hard”. But seeing how everybody else was struggling but kept paddling kept me going and I somehow managed to finish.

More photos can be found here!

Big thanks to Yannick Pinaud for organizing this and we will for sure be back next year. Save the date, the race will be even bigger and take place on May 27th and 28th 2012.

Cu there!