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Head of the Dart 2014

Posted on April 22, 2014 - Filed Under Stand Up Paddling | By

Head of the Dart 2014

Saturday 12th April was the first race of the season, and the start of the new UK Sup Clubs race series.

As defending champion and having not raced since the October last year I was feeling a little nervous before the race. I’ve felt training has been going well but until you race you never really can gauge how well.

The Head of the Dart race is 9miles along the river Dart in Devon and this year it was into a pretty strong head wind all the way.

The start of the race was split into two with the 14ft class set off three minute before the 12’6 class. I went off hard at the start to make up a lot of the three minutes quickly on the 14ft field. Instantly I had a draught train of guys behind me sheltering from the wind and chop. (draughting can save you around 40% energy)

Keeping a strong pace we were catching the 14ft racers quickly. At the two-mile mark I could see the lead 14ft guys just up ahead. As they followed the river around to the right and then had to cut across I took a more direct route and caught up more distance.

Parts of the river were very open into the wind and I paddled very hard to keep the pace up and get myself into third overall. With about three miles to go I broke away from Aaron and Pete who were draughting me and set about chasing down the two 14ft racers ahead of me.

I pushed hard all the way to the finish, crossing the line in 1st in a time 1hr 25min -ish (unofficial from my watch). I was really pleased with how things had gone.

The next few weeks I’m looking forward to tuning up my training a bit before heading out to the World Stand Up Paddle Board Championships next month in Nicaragua.


Ollie Shilston
Surftech Team Rider


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