Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the SUP 11-City Tour by gathering your paddle friends together to make a team for the SUP 11-City Tour non-stop race, its the perfect way to complete this challenge! As well as the solo race, the SUP relay is an unique way to experience the SUP 11-city tour.
TotalSUP talks to SUP athlete Tineke Merkus from Leeuwarden who has done it all, the 5 stage relay, the non stop relay and this year she will do the 5 stages solo along side her SUP 11-City Tour paddle buddy Morene Dekker from Amsterdam. We find out from SUP Skool Leeuwarden owner Tineke about her SUP 11-City Tour experience, her team mates and why we should think about gathering our paddle friends together to have this truly unique experience!
Hi Tineke, Can you tell us about your SUP 11-City Tour experience?
I participated in the SUP 11-city tour for the first time in 2012, it was a weekend stage, I was so excited to be involved that I decided to do the whole tour in 2013! So in I did the 5 day tour with my 2 friends, Jose and Marije, in the tour. Then in 2014 an d 2015 I did the 5 days tour in the female race category.
Then in 2016 I thought, what could we do next in this beautiful SUP event? My idea was to do the tour with 2 SUP Skool Leeuwarden-Teams in the 5 stages tour. We made two teams, one that comprised of men and one with women. Bas Brouwer (Dokkum), Wietse de Boer (Leeuwarden), Lorenzo d’Andrea (Italy), Harry Bartelds (Sneek) and Rene Akkerman (Sneek), all made up the mesn team, they were a great and fast team, and in fact were faster than the Starboard men-team, I was very proud of my men! The Ladies team-members were Nynke Lijfering (2 stages), Margriet Visser (1 stage) and myself (2 stages), they all came from Leeuwarden.
Then in 2017 we set a new challenge, with a SUPSkool Leeuwarden, we made a non-stop team, with Nynke Lijfering, Bas Brouwer, Martijn van den Broek, Romy Anne Reenders, Joanne Hamilton-Vale (from the UK and she was our extra team member) and myself.
Can you describe the race conditions?
They change each year, but in 2016 the weather was perfect, hot and sunny. I love those kind of conditions,it is like a SUP holiday!
Last year 2017, during the Non-Stop SUP 11-City Tour it rained and there was thunder, it was cold and terrible on the water. So the experience with my non-stop team then was a little bit less fantastic then my team experience in 2016.
Are you all set for this year?
Participating in the Non-stop SUP 11-City Tour with a team, takes a lot of organization before and during the race. You need a team and a bus or car who is ca 32 hours on the road to support the team members.
I prefer doing the team event over 5 stages. So this year I would like to Race in the Div A category (ladies 40+ years) this is because it’s the 10th jubilee edition of the SUP 11-City Tour, so for one more time I will do the whole race solo over 5 days, it is my dream! and I will do this with with my SUP 11 friend Morene Dekker from Amsterdam. So I need to focus on my own training this season and of course on my job in the SUPSkool!
How would describe paddling as part of a relay team?
Paddling with friends and helping each other in this challenging sport event is so great, it will make you want to do it every year again. It is a mixture of emotions you feel the pain, the happiness at the finish and meet SUP athletes from all over the world who are the most friendlies ever! It is a SUP family for a week, all together,it is really beautiful!
To participate in the 5 stages with the 2 teams in the SUP 11 in 2016 was an amazing adventure! The atmosphere within the team and the preparation we did before was a lot of fun, everybody was so supportive of each other. Every day we were all together whilst one other team member was on the water. To paddle and get so much support from your team members and riding in a car from bridge to bridge along the route was also so much fun! Both is fantastic!
Why should people race in a relay team?
To participate in a team format is a perfect way to be really involved in the event of a whole week, it is an amazing life changing SUP 11-City Tour way of paddling the event. You can organise the teams with 5 (max or less), 4, 3 or even 2 team members, any way is possible. The atmosphere in a team is really nice, you can also ask sponsors to help with SUP11 team-jackets or help during the stages with transport etc. On a personal level I hope to be involved in the SUP 11-City Tour for many years, solo, with teams or as a volunteer, when I am to old to paddle!
Without the help of sponsors the race would not be possible, I would thank the sponsors in the years that I participated in the SUP11-City Tour. GearFreak Hindeloopen 2017, Kids2Care and the SUP bus 2017, Decathlon Leeuwarden 2017, AZ Autoverhuur Sneek 2016, TopFysio Leeuwarden 2013 and SUP Skool Leeuwarden 2012-2017.
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