How Daniel Parres has managed to build the largest SUP racing club in the world

Ahead of Alicante SUP Open, the 5th stop of the APP World Tour and the final battle of the 2022 SUP racing season, TotalSUP caught up with Daniel Parres, World Champion, NSP National Team Rider and the Founder of one of the biggest, most thriving SUP clubs in the world and also the organiser of the APP event in Spain – Club Deportivo Parres (Parres WaterSports).

We’ve been trying to crack the secret to the success of the Spanish National Team and perhaps the answer lies in the way local SUP clubs are being organised and inspire their immediate SUP communities and paddlers within, to take the leap into the racing scene. We may be one step closer after our chat with Daniel, Mentor, Coach, elite SUP athlete and community builder.

Photo: Georgia Schofield / Planet Canoe / ICF Worlds

Hi Daniel, welcome to TotalSUP and massive congratulations on your amazing season and the Championship & World titles! How does it feel and what’s more – what does it take to continuously achieve that?

Thank you, I am happy to be able to continue competing and enjoying it. After the pandemic, back in 2021, when I saw that the ICF would organize a world event with an opportunity to compete in the +50 category, I was very excited and managed to stay in good shape.

The first edition after the pandemic was an uncertainty because everything was new and in the +50 category there were practically no references from other competitors and there were already more than 50 participating.

Photo credit: Planet Canoe / ICF Worlds

The 2022 was a new adventure and this time we had a point of reference and the only uncertainty were the ones that went from +40 to +50 this year. Despite the fact that speed is not my strong suit, due to injuries Peter, who came from winning last year in the +40 category and also won in the +50 was in second position. But then rough sea conditions worked in my favour and I was able to repeat the victory in both long distance and technical race. So I was very happy to enjoy this event in Poland with my family and my club – It was double nice!

Photo: Georgia Schofield / Planet Canoe / ICF Worlds

How did you prepare for the 2022 season? Did you plan a strategy for each event?

The main objective was to test of the World Cup in Poland, my preparation was joined up with the rest of the boys in the club so we all trained together all Summer. It was very funny to see teenagers working hard throughout their vacations, all very excited about the event.  The rest of the training that I was doing were not specifically prepared.

Photo: Georgia Schofield / Planet Canoe / ICF Worlds

Could you tell us more about your venture – Parres WaterSports. You’ve built an amazing watersports community and one of the biggest SUP racing club in the world with strong female and young riders participation:

It’s a combination of passion where sport is all about a large family first, and then a business. I personally handle all fronts and I like to master all aspects that we have taught since 1988, always with the collaboration of my family, those who work with me and the members of the team. In the club, we are a great family, where we all learn from each other.

Image courtesy of Daniel Parres / Source: Instagram

How are you driving this commitment?

With respect to SUP it’s like with everything else, the person leading has to offer confidence and share good advice to those who venture to be part of this world. From there it all started mainly with children who then invited their parents to finally have entire families enjoying the sport in their community. At the moment it’s at a very beautiful stage and the atmosphere is very good, which is why it continues to attract new families. But all beginnings are slow.

Do you collaborate with other clubs in the country to hold competitions?

In 2008 we did the first SUP trial but it was not until seven years ago that we put together a competition circuit with other clubs to promote the sport and competitive formats. At the moment it’s a consolidated circuit with many trials and a very good organization which has helped with the growth of the sport in our clubs.

On the other hand, since 2018 we’ve been organising the World SUP Festival and that this year we had the third edition and also this year we are organising the APP World Tour event, giving our athletes the opportunity to grow and appreciate our coast.

Do you receive any support from local government?

We have the support in running the events and activities from local authorities, provincial and autonomous government.

What is your business model based on?

In general, we have several ways of entering the school in different nautical sports, school activities, collaborations with universities with nautical sports subjects and Summer campuses that continue in Winter for both training and improvement plans.

What are the logistical challenges of running a club of your size?

The most difficult thing has been sufficiently large space, as close as possible to the sea. For a year now we’ve had a good place that is helping us to grow.

Photo: Georgia Schofield / Planet Canoe / ICF Worlds

Could you tell us more about your collaboration with NSP?

We are starting a new project together with NSP in 2023 which is the International SUP Academy with enough NSP race material so that they can come to train with our team and our coaches where we also have Vincent involved in this project. What moves me is that it’s a great company, the relationship is close and familiar and the feeling of trust, excites and builds the team.

What’s your NSP board set up?

I have four boards and all four defend themselves with everything. Depending on the sea and how I find myself, I use one or the other. The one I have competed on the most with is the NSP Ninja but the one I enjoy the most – when the conditions are good – is the NSP Carolina.

Photo: Georgia Schofield / Planet Canoe / ICF Worlds

What’s next?

On a particular level, being able to feel well, staying injury-free and be able to compete again next year in Thailand with my club. Continue the organization of three SUP events in 2023 – the APP World Tour Alicante SUP Open, the World SUP Festival in Costa Blanca and the Great Race of the Mediterranean in November.

The future of SUP is…

SUP has a long way to go, the important thing is that the clubs see in it an opportunity to create a great atmosphere and enjoy the journey, which is worth it.

Photo: Georgia Schofield / Planet Canoe / ICF Worlds

Thank you for your time and good luck at Alicante SUP Open!

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About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

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