Polish young SUP racers are getting ready for the Planet Baltic 2023 sweep: Interview with Hanna Kaminska

There’s something noteworthy happening on the budding Polish SUP racing scene – A visible “take over” led by a young generation of paddlers. They’re ambitious, hungry and already competing with SUP athletes outside of their junior divisions, both in Poland and internationally bagging some great results.

RTW Raciborz (RTW Raciborskie Towarzystwo Wioślarskie founded by Mariusz Miczek), a thriving training centre for junior athletes and a SUP Club dominating every competition in the country, is a great example of a new attitude towards the sport of stand-up paddleboarding and its growth in Poland.

“Creating new clubs is not enough if they don’t promote SUP racing as a serious sport,” says Hanna Kaminska, RTW Raciborz Team Rider and SUP Racer, who (at only 16!) epitomises this new approach, working and paddling as hard as she believes in the further development of the discipline in her home country.

Photo credit: RTW Raciborz / Courtesy of Hanna Kaminska

TotalSUP caught up with this SUPer driven athlete in the run up to Planet Baltic SUP Race held on the 4-6 August in Kołobrzeg to chat about the event and the state of SUP play in Poland.

Hi Hania, welcome to TotalSUP! Could you tell us more about your watersport background and how did you get into the sport of stand-up paddleboarding?

Hi, thank you very much for having me here! I first heard about a SUP Club in my city around two years ago from my father. His friend, (who is a Coach now) encouraged him to bring me to practice so that I could try and see if I like it. Obviously I did and fell in love with the sport right at my first paddle stroke. I was at every training and I really wanted to compete from the beginning of my SUP journey because of all the amazing achievements my team mates already had (National Championships, Polish SUP Cup medals etc.), they always have been a huge inspiration for me and they still are!

Photo credit: RTW Raciborz / Courtesy of Hanna Kaminska

I’ve always been really competitive so I’ve been serious about this sport from the get go. My first start was in 2021 at the Silesia SUP CUP, Polish SUP Cup series, and I only had stepped on the paddleboard for the first time two months earlier! I ended up 3rd and 2nd out of three competitors in my division and I remember how I instantly wanted to beat them at the next race.

Are you hyped about the way your local SUP racing scene is progressing?

There seems to be a lot of criticism when it comes to events. Sometimes it’s slightly harsh but I think it’s because the organisers are being constantly pushed to make their events better and better. I can even say that the organisation of some of the Polish events is much better that the ones abroad!

Photo credit: RTW Raciborz / Courtesy of Hanna Kaminska

At the moment we still don’t have many active and competitive SUP clubs in Poland that train juniors so we don’t really have paddlers to race with at the same level in U18 categories and I often skip categories and race with seniors. Despite that we already have some incredible young athletes that have great results at events around Europe. I believe that if there are more opportunities for kids to start racing and take the sport seriously we can become one of the best nations to compete with.

Who is supporting you in your SUP goals? How are you managing school, training and travelling to SUP competitions?

There are a lot of people that support me at the moment but my biggest supporters are my parents, especially my dad who travels with me almost everywhere! He is also my only sponsor and because of him I am at the place I am right now and I can improve! I am so thankful for that!

My team is also really supportive and I couldn’t have asked for better Team mates, to be honest.  They are more than just friends to me, we spend together almost every day and even though we are racing against each other at competitions we can separate racing from being good friends really well. We are happy for each other’s successes even if it means that some of us don’t win.

Photo credit: RTW Raciborz / Courtesy of Hanna Kaminska

Our Coach, Mariusz Miczek, is doing a great job in preparing us and he is the reason we race that much. I’m thankful that I can compete this often because I believe that you learn the most during races. Obviously races every almost week can be problematic when it comes to school. I’ve had some problems with my school attendance but it’s okay now. Some of my teachers check out our local news website and they know when I win or I was out of town and they ask me about it at school. At least I’ve never had any problems with my grades because of SUP – I’m a quick learner so I hardly ever have to study when travelling to events. Hopefully I will show my teachers in the future that it was worth skipping some classes.

What is needed to grow the sport in your country and encourage young people to start competing?

The key is having more passionate coaches that would show young talent the way. Creating new clubs won’t be enough if they don’t promote SUP racing as a serious sport. Yes, paddling around is really fun for kids or amateurs but if we want compete at the Olimpics one day and show up with a strong National Team we need to take it seriously. We’re already in a good spot and you can see the difference in the level of Polish competitions every year. I can’t wait to see how it progresses!

Could you tell us more about your recent SUP clinic with Michael Booth and Connor Baxter? What have your learnt?

Sure, the camp led by Connor and Michael was a great experience and I think that everyone should try something like this at least once in a lifetime! I’ve learnt an incredible amount of stuff there and I already feel and see huge improvement in myself! I think that there was a lot of knowledge that could have made a huge impact on any racer. I can for sure recommend this type of clinics! Especially for people that compete!

We’re catching up in the run up to the Planet Baltic event kicking off on the 4th August. Could you tell us more about your experience with this event?

I can’t wait to compete at Planet Baltic SUP Race! I’m a flatwater paddler but I am really keen to take part! I won my last race at the sea but I can’t really predict how it’s gonna go this time! It’s one of the most difficult races for me in my calendar due to the conditions. Waves there can be huge and pretty specific for the Baltic Sea. It’s a great place to test yourself!

Sadly I wasn’t there a year ago but I was there during my first racing season in 2021) and I have lots of warm memories! The event is really well organized and people are amazing. I had a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to participating this year!

What’s your board set up for this event?

If the waves won’t be as crazy as last year I am hoping to start on my Starboard Sprint 21,5×14 because I don’t have the Allstar yet, but if the conditions are difficult I will probably switch for some kind of inflatable SUP or I’ll rent an all-water carbon board from someone, we’ll see!

Good luck Hanna at Planet Baltic and with the rest of the season!

To find out more about the event and register, visit

Follow Planet Baltic on social media – FacebookInstagram and YouTube 

Check out our interview with the Planet Baltic Founder and Race Director, Marcin Koc, here 

Follow Hanna on Instagram 

*Images courtesy of Hanna Kaminska / Photo credit: RTW Raciborz  

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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