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Sunshine, blue skies and a little wind greeted a fleet of 70 paddlers at our biggest race yet as The SHAC hosted the 2023 Gla Gla UK event.

Credit : Craig Sawyer / The SUP Coach

The mens distance race quickly became a two-horse race with Will Keetley and Hector Jessel pulling away from the main pack on the first lap. Hector initially had the lead as they left the small lagoon but it wasn't long before Will pushed in front and held on for the remaining 6 laps. Hector tried a number of times to retake the lead, with his beach re-entries looking like the part of the race where he could pass Will as he seemed to glide faster and further; but it wasn't to be. They finished 3 seconds apart after 1 hr and 46 mins of racing! Keep an eye out for these two in the European races this year!

Will Keetley & Hector Jessel (Credit : Craig Sawyer / The SUP Coach)

In the women's distance category, 2022 Gla Gla UK podium taker Felicity Hurst held the lead for most of the race, followed by Vanessa Knowles and Louise Court. All three finished within 3 minutes of each other - again a testament to how competitive the women's fleet is.

The Waterskills Academy kindly donated a 3 day River Wye Expedition trip to both winners of the long distance races.

Credit : Craig Sawyer / The SUP Coach

The mens and women's short distance (8km) also provided lots of excitment for those watching from the beach and out on the big lake. Simon Day held off Brett Ayres to take the win, with Gemma Palmer-Dighton taking the win in the women's 8km, followed closely by Sarah Marshall and Dayna Lowe*.

The SHAC donated an e-foil session to first place in both mens and women short distance.

This year we also introduced the 'non-competitive' category; offering paddlers a chance to experience what it's like to race around a technical course; but without the stress of starting with the main fleet or being timed. Fanatic kindly sponsored this fleet, donating beautiful fanatic paddle as a prize. This was awarded during the prize giving by selecting a race number at random from the non-competitive racers.

Credit : Craig Sawyer / The SUP Coach

Finally we also had an award for the 'Spirit of the Gla Gla'. This went to experienced racer Claire Terry who accompanied Sara Maxey around for the full race distance. Sara has a heart condition that means that she needs to be with someone and Claire was more than happy to be that person - the two sang and laughed their way around the full 6 laps in the non-competitive category. Blue Chip donated a rather nice dryrobe as a prize for this award.

This year we introduced a new course with more buoy turns and cross-overs than before making for some really exciting racing. Feedback was incredibly positive and this course will be run again in future events we are sure!

Many thanks to Sarah from SUP Junkie for live streaming and commentating on the race! You can watch it again here. Thanks to Amanda from P3T Photography, galleries to follow!



1. Will Keetley

1. Felicity Hurst

2. Hector Jessel

2. Vanessa Knowles

3. Fox Butler

3. Louise Court



  1. Simon Day

  1. Gemma Palmer-Dighton

2. Brett Ayres

2. Sarah Marshall

3. Steve Main

3. Dayna Lowe

Full results can be downloaded below :

Gla Gla UK 2023 RESULTS
Download PDF • 138KB

*During the prize giving, the women's short distance podium results were incorrect. We apologise to all racers, and thank them for their understanding!

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