Adria SUP Challenge, the “New Kid” in the Sup Alps Trophy Family

The Slovenian Sports Club NNN, with the motto “Do something for nature,” hosted an international Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) competition on September 2nd and 3rd as part of the renowned Sup Alps Trophy, Europe’s longest-standing competition of its kind. Over 110 competitors from nine European countries converged on the Bay of Koper to vie for supremacy in both the grueling 12km long-distance race and the technical race, spanning various age groups. Among the participants were esteemed European SUP champions, victors of European competitions, and finalists from the last ICF World Championship held in Poland. Photo: Uroš Kekuš Kleva

The Sup Alps Trophy series links well-known tourist destinations in Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. This year, the Adria SUP Challenge in Koper, at the Italian border with Capodistria, (ASC) joined the “family” of the Sup Alps Trophy. ASC stands as the sole Sup Alps Trophy competition on the “sunny side of the Alps” and the lone contender on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Across two intense competition days, more than 110 SUP enthusiasts engaged in seven races on the Bay of Koper, right in front of the city’s bustling beach and a throng of spectators. Contestants put their mettle to the test in the 12km long-distance race, while recreational paddlers took on the 3km fun race. Additionally, young participants (under 12) tackled a 1km course.

The robust international competition spurred participants to maintain a blistering paddling pace right from the outset. The searing temperatures and high humidity levels raised the stakes, resulting in an exceptionally challenging competitive environment. In the men’s 12km race,  Lightboard Corp team riders Normen Weber from Germany and Hermann Huslein from Thailand, seized control of the race, with Vasilis Samniotis from Greece following closely in third place. After an intense battle, Normen Weber from Germany clinched first place, crossing the finish line ahead of Huslein and Samniotis.

In the women’s 12km long-distance competition, 16-year-old Csillag Kocsis from Hungary exhibited exceptional preparation, skills, and paddling technique, establishing herself as the undisputed leader. Naja Pinterič from Slovenia, the European junior kayaking champion, entered her first elite international SUP competition using a competitive carbon SUP. In the sprint, she outperformed multiple Slovenian national champion Maja Dolžan, who secured third place. The ASC organizing team also arranged a Kids Race for the youngest participants (under 12), who breezed through the 1000m course, and a “fun category” race, where numerous recreational paddlers showcased their prowess on a 3km course. They returned to shore fatigued but with beaming smiles, each one becoming a winner of the ASC fun race.

On the second day of the ASC competition, male participants first competed in the qualifications on the 5km (2 laps) technical race course, followed by the final short course of 2.5 km (1 lap) sprint technical race. The top five from each qualifying group, along with six paddlers based on their times, earned a spot in the final race on the short technical course of 2.5km.

In contrast, the women participated only in the final race, as only 15 women contested the technical race. Within the ASC technical race, Slovenian paddlers vied for the titles of Slovenian national champions.

The qualifications and finals of the men’s “technical race” witnessed fierce battles for positions on the competition field of the Bay of Koper. Normen Weber from Germany once again emerged as the fastest in the final, narrowly defeating Vasilis Samniotis from Greece and Hermann Husslein from Thailand in a tightly contested extended finish sprint. Among the women, the young Csillag Kocsis from Hungary once more showcased her dominance, crossing the finish line with a significant lead.

Naja Pinterič from Slovenia, confirmed she was a rising star in Slovenian women’s stand-up paddling by securing second place. The bronze medal was claimed by Penny Tsaoutou from Greece following an intense battle with Maja Dolžan from Slovenia.

The technical race also crowned new national champions in Slovenia. In the men’s category, Patrik Šime Olič from Keka, Portorož, emerged as the new Slovenian national champion on “home waters” in the Bay of Koper. This time, he outperformed Luka Kožar and Tomaž Jensterle from Supklub, Ljubljana. Naja Pintarič from ŠD Pemupi, Brežice, claimed the title of the new national champion of Slovenia in the technical discipline with her outstanding paddling, securing second place overall in the Sup Alps Trophy technical race. Maja Dolžan from Supklub, Ljubljana, took second place, while Natalija Fon Boštjančič from Supklub, Ljubljana, earned the bronze medal.

The Adria SUP Challenge unfolded in the Bay of Koper and the exceptional setting of the Water Sports Center in Žusterna. This venue, connected to the historic city center of Koper by a picturesque city beach, played host to hundreds of swimmers and spectators who gathered to witness the ASC SUP races and explore the coastal promenade. The Water Sports Center was well-equipped with infrastructure for water activities, ensuring a fantastic sports event despite challenging weather forecasts and the threat of strong winds. The Port of Koper lent the city a vibrant tourism atmosphere, welcoming cruise ships on their Mediterranean journeys, featuring a sports marina, numerous cozy bars and restaurants, and historical landmarks of Istrian architecture.

The inaugural edition of the Adria SUP Challenge event proved to be impeccably organized and highly competitive, firmly establishing Slovenia and Koper on the international SUP map alongside globally recognized tourist destinations. At the conclusion of the event program, the Sup Alps Trophy family and ASC event guests bestowed a resounding round of applause upon the ASC TEAM organizers for their dedication, professionalism, efforts, and hospitality, promising a return to Koper for the 2nd edition of ASC next year.

Results of the Adria SUP Challenge

For more information on the Adria SUP Challenge, go to:

Web page:
Photo galery:
FB: @adriasupchallenge

About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

To follow Mathieu: