“I am delighted to announce that Göran “Gossa” Gustavsson has joined team Yster. Göran is an accomplished long-distance paddler and has a passion for ultra-distances races like the nonstop SUP11 City Tour, Last Paddler Standing and the Yukon River Quest”, commented Per Vallbo, Founder and CEO of Yster SUP, a premium Swedish SUP brand based in Malmö, “Based on Göran’s extensive experience within ultra-distance paddling he will work closely with our team on the development side. Be sure to follow his next endeavour!”
Signing “Gossa”, an experienced endurance paddler who’s been smashing some of the toughest SUP races (imagine completing the SUP11 City Tour 220km non-stop challenge and the five-day event one after another!), seems like a natural fit and the next step for the brand in establishing its position in the long and ultra-distance SUP racing formats after the successful 2022.
TotalSUP caught up with Göran on the day of the Glö Glö SUP race in Malmö to chat about the Yster announcement and the state of play of the long distance event formats.
Gossa left his career in the banking & insurance sector to pursue his passion for paddling, coaching and public speaking. Photo courtesy of Göran Gustavsson
What’s the story behind joining Team Yster?
I met Per Vallbo here in Malmö over Easter a couple of years ago. Yster SUP is a Swedish brand, close to where I live. So we’ve been talking actually for a couple of years and we’ve become friends. In Summer, we had a couple of beers after the Falkenberg SUP race and I think it was a little bit of a starting block right there. I really like the boards too, there are boards that you can compete on and you can do adventures on. I always think about new stuff to develop and work on boards to perform but look good as well.
You’re an accomplished long distance paddler and endurance athlete – Why did you choose this challenging discipline of our sport?
It’s just become that way. I started doing races in Sweden seven years ago. I was pretty bad with buoy turns and all that stuff and then I went down for the SUP11 City Tour for the first time and I just got hooked on the long distance races. It’s a challenge for yourself, it’s a challenge to stay awake and it’s a challenge to prepare yourself for the races. But as I say, most of the time it’s more than a race – there’s the social stuff around it with people you meet from all over the world… With long distance races you can make some mistakes but you can still you know, continue. It’s a mind game to do the long distance races and I love it.
Long-distance & endurance paddling is becoming more and more popular. Do you think this could become a dominating race format?
The long distance format is a fantastic thing and I think anyone can do it from a young to old age. I don’t think it will ever be a dominating format over sprint and technical races as hopefully SUP paddling is going to be an Olympic sport and I think that part is fitting in. But I do think long distance paddling is more for everyone. And I hope that the organisers of long distance events will realise that it’s, once again, more than a competition and it’s not just about showing up and then going home, it’s as much about the social aspect as it is about challenging yourself.
The problem is, it seems like all the long distance races start pretty much in the middle of the Summer and run all the way to and through December. So it’s hard to pick the races you want to participate in and that can be a problem in the future when they start to clash with each other. Hopefully in the future there will be a long distance organisation where event organisers will start talking to each other and make up some rules or something like that. But I think the long distance formats are still going to be more than a race with the social stuff. around it and I think it should stay where it is right now.
A good example is developing the Last Paddler Standing for the first time and that was something new and fun thing to do. Because otherwise it would have just been another long distance, straightforward race, but this one was different. So that one fits into the competition.
Thank you for your time Göran! We’re looking forward to seeing at the next event on the Yster SUP board!
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