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Ollie Shilston wins UK SUP Series – Jersey Race

Posted on April 28, 2014 - Filed Under Stand Up Paddling, Surftech Boards | By

On Thursday I made the late decision to travel to Jersey for the second race in the UK Sup Series. The late call was made as there looked like there would be plenty of swell for the event. Racing in the surf is what I enjoy most and this was an ideal opportunity to do that.

To the surprise of some of the other competitors we arrived Friday lunchtime to a beautiful sunny afternoon with a small clean wave. We jump in the sea to freshen up from all the travelling.

On Saturday and the day of the race the conditions had changed dramatically. The large swell that was predicted hadn’t quite pushed through but the wind was really strong. The location of the race was moved from St Ouen’s to a nearby beach called St Brelades in the hope of more shelter.

The race was a technical course in and out of the building surf and strong winds. I had a solid start chasing the 14ft class off the beach as they started 3 minutes ahead of us. It was really hard paddling into the wind and chop and staying on my board was a challenge in itself.

I got to the first buoy in the lead and turned with the wind. The downwind section was fun but tricky, as we had to cut across to the next buoy. I caught a rail and fell in. I got back up and went in again! This wasn’t what I wanted and meanwhile Aaron a young paddler from jersey who’s joining me at the world champs next week went flying past. I concentrated to minimise the gap, as with downwinding the gaps can open quickly.

I paddled hard back up into the wind and caught Aaron up and in doing so passing all but a few of the 14ft paddlers.

The key for me racing in these tough conditions was to make few mistakes (stay on my feet!).

I wanted to win the race outright and beat the 14ft guys who had a 3-minute head start, so for the next lap I worked hard to get into a rhythm as best I could and not make a mistake.

With one lap to the finish I had caught the lead 14ft class and I pushed hard to extend my gap in front. I rounded the last buoy before the downwind to the finish just as this squally shower came through creating crazy gusting strong winds. I was in the perfect position with the wind at my back and flew towards the finish line to win by a clear distance.

It was great racing in tough conditions in such a great place.

 

Next week I’m flying out with TeamGB to complete at the ISA World champs in Nicaragua.

Ollie Shilston – Surftech Team Rider

 

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