Spring SUP Race 2023: 1st ICF SUP World Ranking Event of the Year

Spring SUP race  is one to put on your calendar, held in the stunning location of Comacchio, Emilia Romagna, Italy, it’s a great race to kick off the season and test your winter training. The event takes place this year on the 1 and 2 April 2023 and holds ICF World Ranking status where there is a chance to gather points towards the ICF World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. In our interview with Simone Tugnoli Peron – chief organiser of The Spring SUP Race and Founder of Delta SUP Club, he explains how the ICF world ranking works and how he came to link up with the ICF. He gives us an insight into the treats that he has in store for participants and the variety of races he has for all level of competitors.

Simone, it’s lovely to catch up with you, please tell us more about yourself and how the Spring SUP race was born

I have always been a sports person, I have practiced many sports from athletics to climbing, I am always looking for adrenaline! I have been practicing water sports for at least 20 years and SUP for about 15. When I discovered stand up paddleboard racing I realised there is nothing else like it, I just fell in love with it. I like to test myself in all conditions, especially choppy waters which are typical of my area – flat water isn’t really for me.

In 2017 I founded the Delta SUP Club together with some friends and started taking athletes to as many competitions as I could. In more recent years I have been busier teaching SUP than training for myself, so my performance hasn’t been at its best, but the satisfaction remains high.

From 2017 I started managing the organisation of promotional competitions in Italy. From 2021 I was invited to the Italian Canoe Kayak Federation to do the same. I have also recently been appointed as the technical manager of the stand up paddleboard sector for them too. In everyday life I am a radiology technician and I work in the hospital. I have a 10 year old son and a beautiful wife, but I don’t know how she still stands me when I’m so focused on SUP!

The first edition of the Spring SUP Race was in 2018 and this year it will be in its sixth! For me it’s emotional because I have taken care of each edition down to the smallest detail, it can be said that it is my creature! At the first race, in addition to the members of my club “Delta SUP”, I had the support of the Romagna Paddle Surf team of Igea Marina, in which I started SUP racing more seriously, before forming my current club.

The Spring SUP Race has always been one of the first seasonal races in Italy and we’ve seen it grow from about 60 participants at the first race to about 120 in 2022. Since 2021, our competition has been included in the calendar of nationalcompetitions of the FICK federation, becoming a selection competition for the ICF World Championships in Hungary and Poland. This year it will again be the same, as the first Italian man and the first Italian woman of the senior categories will be selected for the Italian national team and will go to Pattaya!

How did this event mature into an ICF World Ranking event?

I have participated in many competitions both in Italy and Europe and experienced a proactive and well-organised atmosphere. When I then experienced the ICF SUP World Championships in Hungary and Poland, I understood how the ICF managed to bring the perfect organisational model of canoe racing to the world of SUP and I fell in love with it. In 2022 we brought the things we had learned from those races to the Italian FICK championship and the Italian Circuit races where it worked well. We are also one of the founding teams of the “Circuito Italiano SUP Race” Theseare a group of companies who decided they wanted this level of organisation for their events. The other founding teams of the Italian circuit are SUP Academy Taranto, The Wild Sup, Pescara SUP Centre, to which many others have joined over time!

So, in regard to working with the ICF we were supported by the Italian Federation where we embarked on this journey, knowing that working with them will bring a serious and competent, yet welcoming environment. Without taking anything away from the ISA, I believe the future of competitions lies in the model of the ICF, giving opportunity to all athletes from great champions to local sportspeople at spectacular events. If or when they take SUP to the Olympics, then I will be excited to cheer on our champions. This is exactly what I want for my competition, one with seriousness, fun and a good atmosphere created by many friends challenging themselves in SUP.

Because this year it is an ICF world ranking event it means we will follow all the ICF regulations. We will have their representatives with us and importantly the two main races (technical and long distance) will create points for the ICF ranking. This means, the more points accumulated could mean bypassing the qualifying rounds at the ICF World Championships in Thailand.

Could you tell us about the schedule, prizes and any other delights?

Over the weekend, as well as the main races, there are other participation options. There will be clinics too but look out for more information about those online leading up to the event.

For young people (Under 14) the technical race on Saturday will be free. Only the Italian insurance card or one of one’s own federation will be required. In Sunday’s race at sea, with an appropriate course for their age, they can also compete and will be supervised and escorted by safety boats.

For adults who just want to have fun, there are three options for Sunday. The first will follow that of the under 12s (2km) the second that of the under 14s (4km) and finally they will also be able to sign up for the classic long distance (14km) at a more leisurely pace with hope to see the dolphins!

The inflatable competition (Saturday) will, on the other hand, be slightly fiercer because our sponsor Reptile sport has offered very generous vouchers for prizes! All types of boards up to 14′ will be allowed here and there will be only two categories: men and women.

Those who have already participated in our competitions know that we rely heavily on local companies to create a very well-stocked competition kit. There will be an event T-Shirt, a water bottle, some snacks and lots of surprises. For the first 50 subscribers we will also have a fabulous backpack!

At the Spring SUP Race this year there will also be many prizes, starting with the prize money of €2000 plus a prize pool of €1200 in prize vouchers thanks to the companies LB9 and Reptile Sport. In addition, each participant will be rewarded with a gadget or a typical local prize. (Food and wine). Another important partner is Sup World Ranking which we thank as always.

One last thing, which is very close to my heart. We are organising the event to be as eco-friendly as possible, so there will be no bottles of water distributed, but everyone will have a re-usable water bottle and there will be refreshment islands where they can be filled with water, juices, or supplements. Part of the proceeds will then be used to support local environmental recovery activities!

Can we expect good weather at the Spring SUP Race?

Spring in Italy is very unpredictable but usually at the beginning of April the temperature is already pleasant, as is the temperature of the water. If it’s sunny it’s guaranteed that you will compete in almost summer clothing. On the contrary, if it rains or there will be strong winds the temperature will be lower but a light jacket will be sufficient.
In the evening the temperature drops a little, so if you decide to go for a ride to Comacchio or to nearby Ferrara or Ravenna, pack a sweater AND a light jacket!

We are lucky enough to live in one of the largest wetlands in Italy, the Po Delta. Here we have an abundance of areas where we can paddle, but, at the same time, being inside a national park, there are forbidden areas.  Don’t worry however, our chosen location is the “lake of the Nations” in Comacchio and it is 100% in the safe zone. Comacchio is also a town that I recommend you visit.

The lake of nations is located 150m from the sea, so we decided to dare and take advantage of the uniqueness of the landscape and carry out the technical race on Saturday in the flat water of the lake and the long distance on Sunday in the sea.

This sea area is fairly sheltered and has shallow waters. However, there is often the risk of finding choppy conditions, especially when strong winds come from the southeast. In the case of severe conditions, the long distance will be held on the lake!

What are the logistics like for people travelling to the event?

The whole race will be hosted by one of the largest and most beautiful structures in the area: the “Villaggio Spiaggia Romea“. Here it will be possible to rent rooms or apartments at advantageous prices for participants. It boasts great food and possibilities for fun, plenty of parking too. It is a magnificent village with all the comforts. There will be the possibility (only on race days) to stop with campers as well. Ask for all the information you need directly at the “Villaggio Spiaggia Romea”

If you want more info please ask via email: 

Comacchio and the Lake of Nations is halfway between the airports of Bologna and Venice and our team has organised a shuttle service from the nearby airports and train stations. It’s no problem by car or camper, everything is well sign posted and for additional location information please join the WhatsApp group we’ve created!
(the entry link is on our website
For those who would like to rent equipment, we will be happy to help you thanks to Sport Camps and ICF!

For other things to do in the area, there are many rivers to travel and vast valleys to visit with “casoni” and characteristic houses. But if you want to stay a little longer in our area, you absolutely must visit Comacchio and eat eel! or visit Goro and eat Spaghetti alle Vongole!
If you come by car or camper then stop in Pomposa and its abbey, just 5km from the competition. If you have a little more time, visit Ferrara, a medieval city with castles, walls and many ancient palaces from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance!

To find out more about the Spring SUP Race, please visit:

About the Author

Emily Evans

Emily is a SUP Athlete hailing from Wales UK, she is a qualified SUP coach through British Canoeing and Waterskills Academy. When Emily isn’t training or pursuing her day job in construction she enjoys exploring the topics of SUP and sporting performance through the medium of writing.

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