The athlete line-up for the upcoming Skrea Strand Paddlerace 2023presented by Baltic Lifejacketsis warming up. Held on the 12-13 August, Sweden’s largest SUP competition is the ICF SUP World Ranking Race and the Swedish Long Distance Championships with both local and international SUP talent competing in Falkenberg.
In the run up to the event, TotalSUP caught up with the Race Director, Tommy Dee Packendorff , to chat about the competition and his views on the Swedish and global SUP racing scene.
Hi Tommy, welcome back to TotalSUP! What’s your vision behind this year’s event?
Hi Anna, thanks for checking in, hope you are all great! This is year is the third year running the event and we have grown organically each year, adding more classes with more athletes competing, and with more prize money for the winners. As with paddling, the more you do it the better you become, each year the event has become more professionally organised and more fun to attend, both as a paddler and as a spectator.
We caught up last year – What since then has changed on the Swedish SUP scene and could you share your observations on the world SUP scene
Wow, big questions 😉 In Sweden, the events on the Swedish SUP Racing Tour (Svenska SUP Race Serien) have been going for several years, the ranking is important for many athletes, hence they try to attend as many events as possible.
There are not as many juniors as we wish attending the racing events to be honest but there is an increasing number of younger kids that are picking up the sport as the Swedish Canoe Federation has made a big push and effort to bring more equipment and education for trainers in clubs that are already organizing paddling for kids or have the will and plan to do so.
The Swedish top SUP athletes are making their names on the international events with Linus Karlsson and Lucas Boyum leading the way, with some master athletes visiting European events as well.
Internationally, from my point of view, SUP racing in the world is still growing rapidly with more events than ever. More top athletes are already and will be specializing either towards the shorter sprints or towards long distance (amongst others, have a look at the young Danish female athlete Caroline Küntzel, who by choice focuses on shorter sprints and the shorter technical races and has adapted her training regimen after this). This is a natural progression of the sport and we will see more of this in the future as the sport continues to grow and competition becomes fiercer.
It would be very weird in track athletics if the sprint runners competed with the long distance runners, and vice versa. Still the more experienced athletes are able to do all distances and perform in the top, but time will change I think.
I love discussing the situation with the different organisations and federations competing for the sport. The sport is still a baby, a new kind of, and we haven’t learned yet how it needs caring and I believe all current bodies have things to improve. They are also in the hands of the competition organizers who in turn also needs to learn, adapt and improve. It is a big joint effort and I look forward to seeing the future of SUP racing.
Who is the event aimed for? Can anyone attend?
Skrea Strand Paddlerace is truly an event and experience for everyone with races for kids, average Joes and professionals. And with all our sponsors on set, if you are new to the sport, you have a great opportunity to test different equipment during the weekend.
Could you tell us more about the organisational side of the event of this format and your partners and sponsors? We know that Baltic and Yster SUP are the returning sponsors…
Yes, we are very happy to have Baltic Lifejacketsis our Main Sponsor for the second year, they do a lot for the Swedish SUP racing scene supporting several events and athletes. But foremost they support us in making lifejackets specific for stand-up paddlers, in turn making the sport an even safer watersport!
Yster SUP is coming back for sure, and I really look forward to see their Yster ISUP 17,3” inflatable board. Their legendary Team Rider Göran ‘Gossa’ Gustavsson will be here, just fresh of the win in Yukon River Quest Challenge, as he lives not far away from here and is a member of our club, Falkenberg Stand-Up Paddle Club.
Göran lives 30km from the event, and paddles to the event, sleeps on the beach, competes in the long distance race (11km which is nothing for him of course) and then paddles back home 30km again.
All are sponsors are important for the sport and community of SUP with returning brands as Kona Sports, Dietz Paddling, Surfers Paradise and this year Infinity Nordics will also be on set to show some of their products.
We’ve met in Malmö some super strong young SUP athletes with big appetite to compete internationally. What in your opinion is needed to encourage and support young generation to start competing?
Of course there are several factors that are important but they all end up in one common thing. That the availability of races for kids increase, that they are fun and that they leave a great memory with the kids, so that they want to come back and do it again. Supporting parents I believe is also a very important factor.
Could you tell us more about the social aspect of the event? What participants can expect outside of the competitive side?
Kona Sports will showcase their training programme indoor-SUP during the weekend, so that’s a thing you want to see for sure. Workshops with some of Europe’s top SUP paddlers will take place (more info to come) and there might be a possibility to run a MEGA-SUP race as well during the weekend.
Could you share a sneak peek of who has confirmed their participation already?
Well, I just got back home from the ICF SUP World Cup in Agios Nikolaos on SUP in Greece, which was a great event, and have done my best to recruit as many athletes as possible.
With only a couple of weeks left to the event, we have registered athletes from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, France, Germany and there are more people on the way. Of course, all Swedish athletes will do their best to defend their homecourt, but just across the pond I know many of the Danish athletes are getting ready to fight, with Christian Andersen in the front coming fresh of an astonishing performances in Crete. Norway’s top paddler Thomas Nielsen is a strong competitor and won last year’s event and he will for sure do his best defend his title this year. On the female side we have Tanja Ecker registered, and I know Poland’s Marta Apanasewicz will be here as well.
Three reasons to attend?
Avery well organized event, awesome community, vibe and great SUP racing for all, both paddlers and spectators!
Thank you for your time Tommy and good luck with the event!
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