DXB Paddling Race: Making a Splash in Dubai!

On the 3rd March 2018, SUP company SeaYou Dubai partnered up with the Dubai international boat show to host the DXB Paddling, with over 75 participants it was the biggest paddle event in the Middle East. This year’s event invited all forms of paddle sports to compete from SUP,surfski and outriggers to participate.  It was a great success for Starboard with a 1,2,3 on the podium in the mens 12KM race. TotalSUP talks to organiser and Seayou watersports owner Sterenn Bourges about the 3rd edition of DXB Paddling Race, and the SUP scene in Dubai.

Hi Sterenn, Can you introduce SUP scene in Dubai?

Dubai is an excellent location to paddle, often there is no wind in the morning, making it a great for flat water paddling, and then in the afternoon, depending of the direction and behaviour of the wind, there are waves, and you can have yourself a good surf session. The weather in Dubai makes it a great location to paddle with the sunshine throughout the whole year. SUP is very popular here in Dubai, a lot of people have their own board and if you don’t own a SUP then it’s really easy to rent one!  We have a watersport center located on Palm Jumeirah, the famous manmade island, we can be found a the Sofitel Hotel Resort and spa, and now we import  Starboard SUP in the UAE.

In 2014 we started organising watersports events, which included SUPs, windsurfs and sailing, all competing on the same day, there are also a few stand alone windsurf (Phantom 295) and  SUP competitions throughout the year.

The idea of DXB Paddling was born 3 years ago whilst we were exhibiting at the Dubai International Boat Show the largest boat show in the Middle East. We decided to hold a SUP race at the same time, an idea inspired by the Nautic SUP Paris crossing (hosting a SUP race that takes part during a boat show). DXB Paddling is a unique SUP race as it gathers all the best paddlers together in UAE with the overall goal to push paddle sports in the UAE and hopefully encourage more people to get out on the water.

For the previous 2 years, the race had been around Palm Jumeirah, but this year it was around Seahorse Island due to the relocation of the boat show. DXB Paddling race consists of  either a 6km or 12 to 14km race around Seahorse Island. We had 75 racers from Dubai and Abu Dhabi SUP groups, Dubai Surfski & kayak club and Dubai Outrigger canoe club.

Can you describe the race conditions?

To complete the 12km challenge participants had to paddle twice around Seahorse Island, at the north of the island they faced an open rough sea, before going back around the island anti clockwise. It wasn’t all tough as participants were greeted to stunning views of Burj Khalifa as they made their way back to the finishing line.

Despite the shorter distance compared to the last two challenges, the 12km was by far the most gruelling challenge we had faced, this was due to the rough sea conditions and strong winds. Around 10 knots of wind were recorded on the day meaning all participants had an uphill task.

What were the results?

It was tough out there and everyone deserved credit for taking part and completing the challenge.

In the SUP event, the men’s 6km race saw Nic Yates come in 1st place with a time of 1hr 3mins, in 2nd place Jules Chartier with 1hr 4 minutes followed by Cedric Dulieu in 3rd with 1hr 7 mins.

In the same event, the women’s category saw Alison Cook cross the line first with a time of 1hr 8 mins followed by Christel Rossignol in 1hr 14 mins and then Beatriz Ferreira behind her in just 1hr 19 mins.

The 12km SUP race saw last year’s winner and starboard rider Nic Muhl keep hold of his place as champion with an impressive time of 1hr 29mins. 26 minutes later Edouard Pergeaux, also Starboard came in 2nd place with fellow Frenchman Thomas Castagnet in 2hr 19 mins making it a Starboard SUP 1, 2 and 3.

In the women’s 12km SUP race, Krista Prall came in 1st with a time of 2hr 17mins followed by Jennifer Scully in 2nd place.

In the 6KM Kayak race, Germoe Gacutno was the only kayaker to complete the race crossing the finishing line on his RTM Disco with a time of 1 hour and 3 minutes.

Last year’s winners in the Outrigger category, Rima Kaio and his crew in the OC6 took home 1st place in the 12km (1hr 9 minutes) race followed by Tina Tinggaard Nielsen in her OC1 (1 hour 22 minutes). In the surfski race Doug Bitcon arrived 1st in the 12km race followed by John McGloughlin in 2nd place and Wayne Taylor in 3rd

Participants were treated to after race snacks and an award ceremony where winners walked away with trophies, medals and prizes sponsored by Starboard SUP. Also a special thanks to Adventure HQ who provided the 12km winners with gift vouchers.

Big thanks goes out to DWTC, Dubai sports council and ESSA for making the event happen for the third consecutive year.

Living in Dubai or travelling through and want to know more about Stand Up Paddling here and how you can get involved? Contact the team at SeaYou about any SUP equipment or activities at their website and on Facebook

About the Author

Helen Trehoret

SUP, OC1, V6, Surfski ... and field hockey coaching, Helen is a busy British mother of two who lives in Bretagne, France with a passion for all things Ocean. Helen runs Barrachou SUP, a SUP tour company specialized in excursions around Bretagne and Scotland.

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