Christian Andersen’s Outstanding iSUP Performance in India

Danish International SUP Racer Christian Andersen – also known as Polar Bear – raced the India Paddle Festival, a pre-season APP World Tour event, on a brand new inflatable race board from NSP and managed to finish with two second places, in both the 9 km Long Distance and the 300-meter Sprint race. This outstanding performance put him in second place overall for the event and we obviously wanted to find out more about this unique inflatable SUP racing experience!

Hi Christian! First of all congrats on an incredible performance in India! What was the reason behind racing on an inflatable?

Thank you! India was a great experience and the India Paddle Festival was a very well-put-together event.

This was my first international race on an inflatable board and I was surprised at how well it performed. I always knew the new inflatable models were fast, but I didn’t expect it to do that well when going up against hardboards.

There are a few reasons why I decided to use my inflatable race board for the event. First of all, it was tricky for me to ship a hard race board to India for the event and I was short on time because it was a last-minute decision for me to go to India.

I talked with the R&D developer and team manager at NSP, Alain Teurquetil about it and we decided together it would be a fun challenge to see how well the new NSP Inflatable model would do in a race like this. We made a game plan for the race together and I headed off to India for the event.

Let’s start with the 9 km Long Distance race. What were your tactics going into the race and how did it go?

The distance race in India was a really fun race course, it reminded me of a shorter version of the Carolina Cup. We started out with about 1 km in the ocean, then we went into a river for 6 kilometers of flat water paddling around an island. Then back out in the ocean for another 2 km to finish off. It was a very technical distance race course with every type of water condition you can imagine.

My game plan for the distance race was to start out really strong for the first 2 km. Then try to stay with the draft train of the lead pack for as long as possible during the flat water stretch and then finish off strong in the ocean. My favorite part is racing in the ocean and I knew that was where I would be strongest.

I didn’t have a very good start, I was sitting back in 5th place to the first buoy, I knew if I wanted to do well I had to be with the top guys before I reached the flat water part. So I pushed really hard to catch back up. I managed to get up to Daniel and he caught up to Fernando and Antonio, from there I was in the lead pack with some really strong paddlers. I was tired after using so much energy to catch up after a bad start, but I had to stay in the draft if I wanted to give myself a chance to finish well. I started getting into a good rhythm, I was able to stay in the draft while comfortably breathing and focusing on my technique. I managed to stay with the lead pack for the entire 6 km flat water stretch, success! As soon as we hit the ocean again I emptied my gas tank and gave everything I had until the finish line. I went from 4th, then to 3rd, and then I made a move in the first downwind stretch and went from 3rd to 2nd. I caught up to Antonio’s tail on the last stretch and finished second in a close finish. I was exhausted at the finish line, but very happy with my performance.

Top 5 Results:

1st – Antonio Morillo
2nd – Christian Andersen
3rd – Fernando Perez
4th – Daniel Hasulyo
5th – Sekar Pachai

The Sprint race looked like a lot of fun! How did it go?

The sprint race was one of the most fun races I have done in a while! It was a short 300 meter M course and the conditions were great. There was some swell in the ocean which created some fun small waves.

I had some great qualifying heats, I was focusing on having fun and didn’t put too much pressure on myself. With each heat, I was getting more and more comfortable on the inflatable. I tried the board for the first time the day before the event for 20 minutes, it always takes some time to get used to a new board and the more time I got on the board the better it felt. I won my semi-final heat and made it to the 4 man final with Fernando, Antonio, and Daniel.

I had a great start in the final and was leading to the first turn, I made a good buoy turn and accelerated out of the turn to try to get on a wave or bump. I made a big mistake and fell in trying to catch a wave, that mistake made me go from 1st to 4th in a few seconds. I worked hard to catch back up and managed to get on a wave together with Daniel and Antonio on the last stretch towards the finish line. Fernando did a great job at catching a wave right after the last turn, he was on a wave in front of us and took a well-deserved win. I was able to finish second in a close beach run finish with Antonio and Daniel. It was an action-packed and exciting final!

Top 5 Results:

1st – Fernando Perez
2nd – Christian Andersen
3rd – Daniel Hasulyo
4th – Antonio Morillo
5th – Sekar Pachai

That’s some very impressive results on an inflatable! Were you riding a new Inflatable model from NSP? What are the new features?

I was riding the brand new NSP Performance Race FSL (Fusion Light) Inflatable. It has some new exciting features and changes from the already fast FSL Race model.

The biggest change is the new improved double chamber nose design. It is a separate inflation chamber which gives the nose more volume. I find this adds a lot of benefits, especially when using the board in the ocean. Inflatables often don’t have a lot of rocker and therefore they are hard to ride in choppy conditions, downwind, and waves. By having more volume in the nose the board doesn’t nose dive as easily and it is a lot more effective when catching bumps and going downwind. I also find it adds extra stability in choppy conditions.

The Air7 V3 fin box works well and gives you a strong fin box that feels like a regular hardboard fin box. It has a low profile which creates less drag. The fin box is separate so it makes the board easier to fold and pack.

The board is also very light. I found this helped me a lot in the race when doing beach runs and beach starts.

Overall I am very happy with the performance of the new Inflatable. It has opened up my eyes to the convenience and possibilities of inflatable race boards. It makes traveling and exploring new places on a SUP much easier. It was also really fun to race on the board and I hope there will be more races on inflatables in the future.

I will definitely bring this board with me on more trips and do some more races on it.

Find our more the NSP Performance Race FSL (Fusion Light) Inflatable:
NSP Inflatable Range

To follow Christian Andersen, go to:
@christian_k_andersen on Instagram
Christian Andersen / PolarBear 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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