Each year a contingent from the UK head out to the the Gla Gla, a race held in January on Lake Annecy, France, where over 500 paddlers battle around a 15km course, surrounded by snow capped mountains. It's a real highlight of the European SUP race calendar; a bucket list event for many. Although the restrictions for entering France were relaxed a few days before the event, due to the uncertainty around international travel as we entered 2022, many of the UK riders had already pulled out of the race in the lead up to the event.
With a group of down-heartened paddlers left wondering when their next race might be, my Yukon paddling partner Skip and I decided to hastily set up the Gla Gla UK 2022 race event at the SHAC lake in Surrey!
I assumed the role of race director and set about mapping out a course that would, like the real Gla Gla, offer a 6km and 15km option. Also in keeping with the Gla Gla technical race, we included a beach run each lap to make things interesting!
We only expected a handful of racers to join us, but as word spread we were delighted to welcome 34 entries to the SHAC on Saturday 22nd January. With all paddlers lined up on the start line for a mass water-based start, the horn was sounded and they were off!
One of the best things about the UK SUP racing scene is how open and accessible it is to everyone, young, old, fast, slow, budget inflatable to carbon rockets. We had paddlers out on their first ever SUP race, being helped by experienced racers - everyone had a smile on their face!
It was a fantastic day - with all levels and abilities enjoying the excitement of SUP racing, and we even raised a little money for the RNLI too.
VIDEO (Craig Sawyer / THE Sup Coach)
Mens 15km 1st : Scott Warren 2nd : Simon Nash 3rd : Kevin Hodge
Mens 6km 1st : Adrian Soper 2nd : Gareth Parker 3rd : Robert Clarke
Womens 15km 1st : Andrea Richardson 2nd : Felicity Hurst 3rd : Lesley Hodge
Womens 6km 1st : Karen Savage 2nd : Dayna Lowe 3rd : Anya Williamson
Spirit of the Gla Gla : Simon Webster
Full final standings can be downloaded here.