Belgian SUP Tour Leader Bart Jansegers’s next stop: Bruges SUP Classic

22 Sep 2023

In anticipation of this upcoming weekend’s Bruges SUP Classic, stop #9 of the 2023 Belgian SUP Tour, we have the privilege of sitting down with Bart Jansegers, current men’s leader of the Belgian circuit and a distinguished SUP racer hailing from Ghent, Belgium. From his initial encounter with paddleboarding in Croatia to founding a SUP school in Ghent, his story is one of unwavering commitment to the sport.

Hello Bart, can you tell us about your journey into the world of SUP racing? How did you get started, and what inspired you to pursue this sport competitively?

The first time I met stand-up paddling was in Croatia, where I rented a board with some friends. I was immediately sold. I started SUP by touring around the city with my dog. People liked it and started to ask me questions about it. One year later, I started a SUP school in Ghent. Some friends already went to Belgian races and the SUP 11 cities.

I did my very first race in Haarlem, The Netherlands: a challenging 20k race. From that moment, I felt I wanted to pursue the sport competitively. At first, the focus was still on my SUP school, but since this year, I’ve fully thrown myself into training for the competitions.

Could you describe the format of the Bruges SUP Classic? What can participants and spectators expect from this event, and what makes it unique compared to other races in the Belgian SUP Tour?

It’s a race at Domein ‘De Plas‘ and the format is as follows: the participants need to do 5 laps in total: 4 ‘full’ rounds/laps and 1 so-called “super round.” This super round is a bit shorter, and the thing is: every participant decides for themselves when they do this round/lap. This makes it confusing for the opponents to keep track of how far their competitor is.
Because it’s in laps, it gives spectators the chance to see the whole race instead of just the start/the finish.

Congratulations on your recent success at the SUP 11 City Tour in the Netherlands. Can you share some highlights from that experience?

Thank you! I ended 3rd in the Masters, and there was a constant cooperation with the 1st and 2nd finisher throughout the whole week.
I was really close to another competitor (Johnny Hoffmeyer, from Denmark), so it was a fight until the very last day for that 3rd place.
So you could say: sportsmanship was the highlight!
That’s part of the beauty of the sport: connecting with athletes from all over the world!

As the current leader of the Belgian SUP Tour, how do you view the tour’s significance in promoting the sport of SUP racing in Belgium? What do you think makes the Belgian SUP Tour stand out in the world of paddleboarding?

Without the BST, there would probably be no (or way fewer) races in Belgium. This means that SUP racing would hardly exist, and it would mostly be inflatables and hobbyists you see on the water. The organization of different races throughout the country makes the sport more known and brings in more people who are ready to try racing. Not only the BST plays a role in this, but also the different SUP clubs in Belgium (e.g., Kempen SUP, SUPfever).
The BST is still rather small in comparison to other organizations/countries. But we’re steadily growing in numbers.
What makes it stand out is the small but strongly connected community.

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations in SUP racing, both in terms of your personal achievements and the growth of the sport in Belgium? Are there any upcoming races or challenges you’re particularly excited about?

I’m happy with the steady progress I’ve been making the past 2 years, which resulted in podium finishes during the BST, a big jump in standings at the Gla Gla race in Annecy, and a top 5 finish at a 32k race in Sables d’Olonnes. I also just finished top 3 at the 11-city SUP in the masters category (4th overall).

The BST is coming to an end with only 2 races left on the calendar: the classic in Bruges and the Sup for Life in Ghent (December).

I’m mostly looking forward to participating in the ICF SUP World Championship in Pattaya, Thailand this November.

I am happy that the BST is being organized (thanks to Vince) with a fixed calendar, which provides a goal to work towards. It brings a mixture of distances and formats, and it’s been great to see both the participants and audience growing.

For more information on the Belgian SUP Tour and to join Bart Jansegers on the starting line in Bruges, visit:
Belgian SUP Tour on Facebook

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.

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