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Around the world with Blue Ewer, the British NSP SUP Racer takes us down under for his pre-season training 

What does an elite SUP racer do after the last big race of a very busy race season? If your name is Blue Ewer then you keep travelling until you have got as far from your home base in Devon, England as you can get. Blue’s Winter saw him travel to AustraliaNew Caledonia and New Zealand, geographically the biggest off-season training camp in the world! When he got back home, Blue caught up with fellow Devonian, Chris from TotalSUP to talk about his travels and the start of his 2024 season

Hi Blue and welcome back to TotalSUP, you had a pretty good season after your interview here at the start of the season last year.

Hi Chris, that’s right! Some might think that all my hard work and years of training paid off in 2023 but it might be that an interview with TotalSUP brings success!  

Ha ha ha! I’m sure it was a mix of both. Let’s have a recap of your 2023 season, your first with NSP.

OK, 2023 was my first season with NSP and my first full season focused on competing internationally after several seasons doing well in the UK.

 

I have to interrupt you here, “doing well in the UK” includes 6 national titles before 2023…

Yeah, Ok, I was doing very well in the UK and that success fed the desire to achieve more on a bigger stage. Signing with NSP gave me the opportunity to do that and 2023 was good, really good.  I got to visit some amazing places and picked up a few good results along the way, with highlights including my first international wins at races in Austria and in Bordeaux, France as well as top 10 finishes at world championships. 

Congratulations! Along the way, you also picked up a new alias when Mr TotalSUP, Mathieu started to call you Bond in live commentary for the World Championships, something the team at NSP seems pretty pleased with.

He did! I like that, and Chris at NSP seems to like it too. I think that might mean that Alain is ‘Q’ in the NSP Bond movie, he creates all of our special kit!

The end of a successful season should be a time for rest and relaxation, preparing for the next season and all the travel that entails?

It is important to rest and recover but also to get a good pre-season training block done before the season starts, and that can be tricky in Europe through the winter, especially with the high level of competitors in Elite SUP racing now.

So at the end of the season, it was not a difficult decision to accept invites from a few good friends of mine who happen to live in warmer places and over the winter I spent 7 weeks on the other side of the world with some tough training partners and being able to visit some places I have always dreamed of going to. 

In that case, I shall hand this over to you to tell us all about your epic pre-season adventures … 

Thanks, Chris, our first destination is …

New Zealand with Ollie Houghton and Billie Scott

After paddle hydration with Blue Ewer

My first destination was literally on the other side of the world, New Zealand where Ollie Houghton gave me a tour of the north island with plenty of training and surfing along the way. We spent some time in Ollie’s hometown of Takapuna, a beachside suburb on the north shore of Auckland as well as visiting a variety of spots on the Coromandel Peninsula before heading down to see SUP surfer Billie Scott in Mount Maunganui and then finally scoring some surf at world-famous surf spot, Raglan.

I loved my time in New Zealand and was lucky to have great weather the whole time and the places I paddled were perfect for a borrowed 22″ NSP Carolina, that was a little wider than my Carolina at home and I was glad for the width sometimes, I could enjoy the view more and still keep up!

New Caledonia with Noic Garioud and Clement Colmas

From New Zealand it’s a relatively short trip to revisit my favourite spot from my travels last year, New Caledonia to once again stay with Noic Garioud. 

Strength training with Noic

This time I was joined by Ollie on my trip to this island paradise where the 3 of us had just under 2 weeks of training together under Noic’s coaches, Lucas Beaujeu and Ben Riviere.

It was not just water time in New Caledonia, we went exploring in the mountains with Noic and his partner Lea, where we swam beneath beautiful waterfalls before heading back to the coast for snorkelling and spearfishing, we saw plenty of fish and even took a few home for dinner. 

While in New Cal we also managed to get some downwind runs in where we were joined by fellow paddler Clement Colmas. This island produces some of the best downwind paddlers in the world so as you can imagine the downwinders here are fantastic. 

I had to work a bit harder here with a 20.5″ NSP Carolina, so fast!

Australia Gold Coast with Johnny Hagan

For the final part of my trip, I headed to Australia, a country I have always wanted to visit. I would spend most of my time here staying with Johnny Hagan on the Gold Coast. 

Not Blue Ewer

On my first weekend there Johnny took me to North Stradbroke Island, a small island situated just north of the Gold Coast. Here was everything I pictured Australia to be, kangaroos hopping about everywhere and koala bears chilling out in the trees.

In just one weekend we managed to get some surf in and even a good downwinder in some pretty sketchy conditions, I am not used to paddling with sharks!  We finished our run coming through a break in a sandbar with solid surf and strong rip currents, memorable! An unforgettable experience visiting this almost untouched part of Australia. 

Then I hooked up with Ollie again as we headed to one of his family’s homes located at Tweed Heads, right next to world famous surf spot Snapper Rocks. 

In a few days here we managed to score some great surf, clean double overhead waves. It was an amazing experience to surf such a famous wave and be in the water surrounded by so many pro and ex-pro surfers. 

Before I met up with Ty I was on another 20.5″ NSP Carolina, one of the best boards in the world if you want to keep up with anyone!

Australia, Newcastle with Ty Judson

While Johnny was busy at work I took the opportunity to travel south from the Gold Coast to visit fellow NSP team rider Ty Judson at his home in Newcastle.

With Ty I had more days of downwinding, surfing and training with some exploring too, checking out some of the beautiful line coast Ty trains in. While I was in New South Wales and so close to Sydney I decided to take a day off from training to go and explore one of the most iconic cities in the world, I was a tourist for the day, ticking off the most touristy things you can imagine,  Sydney Harbour to see all the big landmarks and of course Bondi Beach before heading back to Newcastle. 

One bonus of paddling with Ty was getting to paddle the NSP Sonic for the first time, that’s a board I want to get a bit more time on! I had the 22″ version and for the DW runs with Ty it was fantastic, so stable and it would catch anything that looked like a bump. Brilliant fun!

Back to Australia’s Gold Coast with Johnny Hagan

As the end of my epic trip approached I returned to the Gold Coast to stay with Johnny for some more solid training sessions and to soak up that famous Aussie lifestyle. Yes, BBQs featured! I spent most of my time here split between two locations, Currumbin and Broadbeach. 

Currumbin was a great spot for training as it has a river for flat water training as well as great waves and ocean conditions as you leave the river mouth.  This place was a water sports haven with people on all sorts of crafts in the water at all times, as well as distance training here I had some good surf and foiling sessions in my spare time, for sure one of my favourite spots of the trip! 

Broadbeach is where you will find Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club, this is the club where Johnny trains and where I had the chance to join their surf-ski group, if you ever want a really good workout do this, skis are much faster than a SUP and I was pushing hard to keep up on my NSP Carolina.

One sunset training session stands out in my mind, we had an amazing experience where for almost the entire session there was a huge feeding frenzy happening all around us in the water. While paddling we had tuna and other fish I didn’t recognise jumping out of the water around us in all directions! 

I probably spent too much time thinking about the bigger things that I couldn’t see that were chasing the fish I could see, but when I got past that I started to enjoy the moment, it was incredible and it happened more than once while I was there. It was just a fantastic experience in a fantastic place. Ocean paddling at the Gold Coast was very special.

Byron Bay, Australia with Alain Teurquetil

Byron Bay was on my wish list before this trip was planned and it happens to be where the man behind the boards we love, NSP shaper Alain Teurquetil has his home. Before heading home I had the chance to visit the beautiful small surf town to meet Alain, it was fantastic to meet him in person and share some of our passion for the water. We made the most of our trip to Byron with a fun, foil-filled morning at Watergos Beach with Johnny.

And then, all too soon, it was time to park and head back to the end of winter in the northern hemisphere, home and ready for the 2024 season to start.

That is certainly an Epic Trip! I’m tired just reading about it. All that training seems to have paid off as we have already seen you racing back here in Europe at the Battle for Hércules in Spain where we saw you on the podium.

It’s a great event and I enjoyed being back racing but it was not the result I wanted, traditionally podiums were the top three and that’s where I want to be, at the top. But every race teaches me something and I know where I can improve next time, I cannot wait to get back to the start line.

Thank you, Blue for taking the time to talk to us at TotalSUP again. I hope your 2024 season is even more successful than 2023 was and that we see more of you on the water this year.

You can get more information on the complete range of NSP SUPs from their website here and on their social media feeds, NSP FaceBook and NSP Instagram. You can follow Blue’s process here on TotalSUP and through his website and social media, Blue Ewer Instagram.

Images from Blue Ewer, Ollie Houghton and TotalSUP.

About the Author

Chris Jones

Chris is the driving force behind SUP My Race, a distance challenge group for Stand Up Paddlers on Facebook. He is a super-keen paddler who has been on the water for nearly 10 years now and shows no sign of stopping. When he isn’t logging data on his laptop he can be found on the lakes and coastal waters in south west Sweden.

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