SUP The Creek 2022: The UK’s end of season SUP racing party – Interview with Crispin Jones

Can weather get more challenging in October? “Sure,” says Crispin Jones, endurance paddler, Bossman at Waterborn SUP and SUP The Creek Race Director, “But this helps us grow into better and more rounded paddlers.”  TotalSUP caught up with Crispin to chat about one of the UK’s raddest end of season SUP racing parties and the country’s state of SUP play.

Photo credit: SUPjunkie

Hi Crispin, welcome to TotalSUP! We’re witnessing an epic return of SUP racing events worldwide – What’s the vision behind SUP The Creek event?

Thank you, yes, hasn’t it been fantastic to see the community get straight back into the spirit of it all and WOW, what a season of racing we’ve seen so far!

I originally set up SUP The Creek as a one-day event at the head of the estuary where my school, Waterborn SUP, is based to showcase the beauty of the area and the varied conditions we get to paddle in. I grew up in the area and I’ve always realised how lucky we are to have this amazing tidal estuary on our doorstep to explore and grow as watermen and women.

My vision was to also promote some of the fantastic businesses that thrive in the area to help promote a season that is longer for all of us, a lot of the Southwest is heavily tourism driven and growing up the main ‘season’ was July and August and then slower shoulder seasons. I wanted a part of the event’s focus to show that the area is still fantastic for paddling as well as being able to see and do lots of other activities and unique shopping opportunities. Sure, the weather can get more challenging in October, this helps us grow into better and more rounded paddlers and the changing view of the estuary as we pass through the natural seasons is something I truly enjoy.

In 2019 The UK National Race Series needed an extra Tech Race to finish the season and that’s when our first weekend of racing came in by hosting the Tech Race at the other end of the estuary where we can utilise beach runs and surfing elements as well as trickier tidal sections to read and play with. Now we are happy to have this as a permanent fixture for SUP The Creek which means we can host a great weekend of racing for lots of paddling abilities and skill levels.

You have received an amazing number of registrations for this year’s edition – What’s the key to this success?

I think the timing of the event helps in some regards, so much of the UK race season is crammed into June, July and August that it can get difficult to choose which events to go to. By sticking to the October half-term it makes SUP The Creek the natural End of the Season party for many of the racers and those wanting to challenge themselves.

Photo credit: SUPjunkie

Mostly though I feel the different race options over the weekend help cater to a wider verity of paddlers offering the 1km/6km/12km ‘Distance Race’ on the Saturday and a 6.5km Tech Race on the Sunday, there is something that can appeal to the different levels of paddlers we have in the SUP community, whether it’s the more recreational paddler wanting a challenge or those who take things more seriously to test themselves against others or to push their personal bests.

You have built a great SUP community in your region. What are the trends you’re currently observing – is SUP racing and the competing side of our sport growing?

Obviously COVID-pandemic has changed the shape of lots of things in the world over the last few years and the SUP industry has really noticed this. Personally, I’ve notice more of the ‘newer’ paddlers really wanting to explore the next step as it were and wanting to be involved in this brilliant comradery the SUP race community offers.

The seasoned paddlers are still using their wealth of experience to hold their own but some of the juniors coming up in the race scene, especially locally have a really, really bright future ahead of them and I hope the sport can continue to evolve and give them an avenue to explore. It would be great so see it hit the Olympics to give them further direction and funding to help drive our sport onwards.

The SUP industry has exploded experiencing both new challenges and opportunities. Could you share your take on it?

As I touched on previously, I think the biggest challenge is to help those newer to our sport realise the options available. Paddleboarding is so versatile, and I think that’s its biggest strength, but it comes at a cost. With the costing of some boards getting so cheap at the trade-off with quality (mainly) I worry about the negative outlook it may give our sport as we see more and more rescues each year, lots of which are not recorded as they are dealt with by other water users and totally preventable with even basic training and education.

I believe that the micro adventurer in all of us will embrace the touring aspect of paddleboarding and I sincerely hope that Centre’s such as mine will continue to help educate and keep safe those wanting to get out, providing the key aspects needed so they can enjoy the water and really cherish those memories we all make from our time connected with nature wherever we paddle. From all of us here at Waterborn we hope to: See you on the water!

Thank you very much for your time and good luck with the event!

Find out more about Waterborn SUP and SUP The Creek

Follow Crispin Jones and Waterborn SUP on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

*Images courtesy of Crispin Jones x Waterborn SUP

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.

To follow Anna:

  • Facebook Link
  • Instagram Link
  • YouTube Link
  • Twitter Link