At the ICF world championships in Gdynia SUP race fans might have noticed an unfamiliar name at the sharp end of the Elite men’s field, Blue Ewer. If you had also followed the European Championships in Denmark then it would be less of a surprise to see the young man from Team England pushing more established names in the sport. For a few years now Blue has been a force to be reckoned with in the domestic UK race scene and although the world championships were not his first major international competition, Gdynia marked a turning point in Blue’s international career. Now as the most recent signing to the NSP SUP Racing Team TotalSUP were excited to sit down and have a chat with this rising star.
NSPs latest young gun, Blue Ewer
Hi Blue welcome to TotalSUP, let’s start with congratulations on joining Team NSP! How does it feel to be joining one of the top SUP race teams?
Thanks! It feels great to sign for such a big brand in the racing world and I feel super lucky to be on a team with some of the best paddlers in the world!
Fantastic! Can you tell us a little about the NSP race boards you will be using and if it isn’t too early to ask, which is your favourite?
Of course, the boards I will be using this year are the 20” Ninja and the 20.5” Carolina.
My favourite of the two, so far is the Ninja. I have been borrowing a 20” Ninja to train on this winter and I love it. I’ve never paddled a flatwater board that handles the chop so well, the ninja is super versatile and will be great asset to me this season.
I haven’t had too much time on the 20.5” Carolina but I have used my dad’s 22” Carolina downwind a few times and it’s amazing, I’ve been blown away with the speed and stability!
Blue training in the historic Plymouth Sound
Going back to the start of your SUP journey can you tell us about your achievements so far…
So far I have won 6 British titles; 3 in distance and 3 in technical. I have also had a top 10 at the ICF World Championships coming 9th in the sprints in 2022 as well as a 5th in the Euro Championships in the technical race. I have had some more results along side this but these are my best, so far…
Six national titles is an impressive feat at any age never mind in someone who is starting their international career. You have also represented Team England as a SUP surfer at the ISA world Championships in Denmark in 2017, what made you change focus from wave to race SUPs?
I got into SUP through the surfing side of things and loved every second of it. It was an honour to represent my country at just 15 years old but I felt I would never have got that far as a SUP surfer. Being based in south Devon we do get some nice waves but nothing in comparison to what the rest of the world has to offer.
The time my focus switched from surfing to racing was in 2019 at my first race of the year, The Head Of The Dart when I beat reigning British champion Ryan James. This encouraged me to focus more on racing which paid off with a wild card entry for the APP London event where I beat Connor Baxter in a sprint finish at the end of the distance race. Although I knew Connor had not had a good race this was an amazing moment for me and made take racing a lot more seriously!
Blue with his box fresh NSP Ninja
Back to the fast boards, with all this success at national level do you have a stand out memory of your best race or races you can share with us?
On a national level there were a few moments in 2019 which were super memorable as a 17 year old, winning the British series in both distance in technical was a pretty cool achievement and felt so good after battling it out all year. My favourite moments were winning the Celtic Cup in Carbis bay (one of the biggest and most competitive races in the British series) beating reining champ Ryan James as well as local legend Glen Eldridge, at the time they were the two best racers the UK had to offer.
As well as The Celtic Cup my performance at the Head Of The Dart stands out, I went into the race hoping for a top 10 if I was lucky and finished beating Ryan James and Casper Steinfath coming second to Zoltan Erdelyi a super strong paddler who came very close to taking my distance series title from me in 2019!
And what about competition in the UK, who has inspired you in the UK SUP Scene?
Before 2019 I didn’t follow a massive amount of the UK race scene only doing occasional races but in the UK the 3 guys who pushed me hard throughout 2019 Ryan, Glen and Zoltan definitely had a big impact on my motivation for racing and training and made want to take racing seriously and train properly as all three of these did.
Blue training on his NSP Ninja
Following on from that who pushes you to go faster? I know you train with Christopher Bland and his Spartan squad which includes fellow young gun Will Keetley, how much difference does it make having another super-quick paddler hot on your heels?
In the last year I have been lucky enough to be coached by Chris who is a great coach with decades of experience in canoe racing at international level. His knowledge and training has made me much faster this year and this itself is great motivation to keep pushing and improving. As well as this having young guns like Will Keetley and Hector Jessel pushing hard certainly keeps me on my heels and keeps me motivated to stay ahead of them.
Looking ahead to your 2023 season will your focus be on the UK scene or international races or will you be trying to balance the two?
This year my focus will be changing, I won’t be competing in the UK for more British titles but rather competing internationally on the Eurotour and APP World Tour with my focus on establishing myself on an international level. I also hope to compete at ISA and ICF world championships.
And which race or races are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to racing in Thailand for the ICF world championships at the end of the season as this is a part of the world I have always wanted to visit so it will be great to race out there at what I’m sure will be one of the biggest events of the year.
You must have done several interviews like this now that you are part of an elite racing team. Can I ask what is the question you wish someone would ask you but, so far no one has?
There is nothing I wish I could be asked but definitely something I would like to stop being asked haha. I get asked far too often what my real name is as people just don’t believe my name is Blue.
Blue Ewer, remember his name
Thank you, Blue for taking the time to talk to us at TotalSUP. I am sure that the number of people asking your ‘real’ name will drastically decline this season if you continue to race the way you have been. Have a great season on the water, paddle fast and hopefully we will see more of you on the podium!
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