July 8th and 9th saw the EuroTour head to the Northernmost venue for stop number 10 on the beautiful lakes of Finland. The IV Sieravuori SUP Masters presented by Naish. Another first for the EuroTour saw us bringing some firsts to the country with the first ever down-wind race on day one of competition and the JM Survivor Race on day 2.
The location – Lake Pyhajärvi, Finland
Making a change from the beaches of southern Europe, the event took place on Lake Pyhajärvi at Lomekeskus Sieravuori holiday resort where competitors were welcomed by typical Finnish wooden cabins, saunas and beautiful sunsets over the greenery in the land of midnight sun.
The day before the race saw strong winds blowing across the length of the lake creating head high swells; perfect for downwind competition, a new format for the race which is now in its fourth year. The event team went to check out the conditions and with slightly lighter winds due the following day – the call was made to set the downwind run.
This year’s event saw participants from 10 different nations making the journey into the Finnish heartlands. From Russia to Australia, across the ferry from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with a strong Italian presence fresh off the event in Greece.
Day one – Downwind Races
It was the Italians proving to be the dominating force on the opening day with Leo Nika (Starboard) off to a strong start closely followed by Paolo Marconi (RRD) across the sidewind first leg to the buoy, before turning to start the rest of the 14km downwind run. The pack soon dispersed with everyone picking their own line while gliding on the bumps that followed.
Leo picked a more inside line with many of the other paddlers choosing to go wide. Looking strong from the outset he soon opened up a gap of around 200m on the chasing Paolo. At one point, around 9km, it looked as if the gap would be closed with Paolo catching a good line, when Leo’s decision to take the inside line started to pay off; with some strong bumps picking him up and surging him ahead.
That inside track proved to be the crucial decision as competitors arrived to the last buoy for the wind to switch slightly and push 3 – 6th place wide of the last marker with a cross/upwind section into the final straight.
At the end Leo took a comfortable win with Paolo second and Claudio Nika (Starboard) putting in a strong effort to take 3rd place (and be greeted at the beach by his cheering brother). Leonardo Toso (JP Australia) and Belar Diaz (ECS) rounded out the top 5 with Chris Parker (paddling Starboard) -from SUP Racer – showing he’s still a force to be reckoned with (when out from behind his camera) arriving in 6th.
Susak Molinero (RRD) showed great form on the down-wind run to take first blood for the ladies and it was the young local Elle Laakso (Naish) that stood out on her first downwind race coming home, smiling all the way, to take second.
Day two – Naish N1SCO race, Amateur Race and JM Survivor Race
Day 2 brought us glorious sunshine instead of the anticipated bad weather. Combined with light winds it was the perfect setting for the Naish N1SCO races for the juniors, the amateur race and the JM Survivor Race that saw the elite competitors thrashing it out around an M shaped course. With the bottom 3 from each round failing to progress and the next round starting 2minutes after the first paddler crosses the finish line, the race is as much a test of endurance as a demonstration of technical skill.
The Italians proved strong again through the rounds, making up 4 of the final 6 competitors standing on the last heat of the day with the top 3 repeating their result from the previous day. Most impressive was the travelling Latvian, Arvis Iljins, crossing over to SUP from Olympic Level C-1 Canoe for the last year. He charged his way into the final just being edged into last by Belar with Chris taking 4th.
The girls repeated their placing with Susak and Elle taking the top spots and Emme Prykari showing great technique in the sprints to take 3rd, definitely another face to watch for in the future.
With an awards ceremony held on the beach in the beautiful sunshine and the results from both days counting; the top 3 finishers for men’s and women’s read the same. It wasn’t to be for Leonard Toso however with a semifinal finish in the survivor race seeing him placing 6th despite his 4th in the distance.
The evening saw riders hosted to a meal at the resort with bands playing into the early hours. In a land that doesn’t get dark there was plenty of time for relaxing before some choose to go explore Helsinki prior to flying out on Sunday.
Videos & Photos
For the tour it was a very different and beautiful venue that ticked all the right boxes and we’re stoked to have been invited to share it with Jaari and his crew. Thanks to everyone for their hard work and for the riders for supporting us and the local paddlers for stepping up to the down-wind challenge. To see everyone happy and smiling at the end of a race was the icing on the cake.
For the videos click here: DAY 1 DAY 2 For photos click here: DAY 1 DAY 2 Next up we head to Italy where waterman Franz Orzi is hosting the Noli SUP race. Registrations are OPEN and for more information check out the website.