11 city tour

Racers slog forth in difficult conditions for the Seventh Annual SUP 11-City Tour. Photo: SUP 11-City Tour Facebook

Looking Back at the Seventh Annual SUP 11-City Tour

The 7th Annual SUP 11-City Tour has been deemed by its organizers as "The Ultimate Challenge." The five-day race lived up to its hype this year, as the die-hard paddlers faced harsh weather conditions including strong headwinds and a torrential thunderstorm.

When all was said and done, it was a SUP newcomer who stood atop the podium.

24-year-old Tahitian Steeve Teihotaata dominating the 136-mile race, with a time of 21:21:13. The Team Mistral SUP paddler won every stage of the grueling race and finished three minutes and 46 seconds ahead of unheralded Frenchman Florent Dode, who came home an impressive second.

Brothers Bruno and Daniel Hasulyo started each stage in a sprint, but could never hold off Teihotaata and finished third and fourth overall, respectively. They were followed by 2013 winner Peter Bartl in fifth and four-time 11 City Tour winner Bart de Zwart in sixth.

As for the women, it was Teihotaata's Mistral teammate Seychelle Hattingh who swept all five stages en route to her winning time of 24:44:22. She was followed by Olympic sailor Jo Aleh in second and last year's winner Janneke Smits in third.

The first two days of the competition proved to be the most challenging of the entire race. On the first day, paddlers were forced to deal with strong headwinds, which made the 27-mile stage a brutal struggle. On day two, the racers were not treated any better by Mother Nature, who sent a giant thunderstorm their way in the first half of the stage.

These unfavorable conditions took their toll on the racers and led to several retirements including a surprise withdrawal by 2011 runner-up Ryan James, after he struggled through the first two stages.

There was nothing that could stop Teihotaata though, during both good and bad conditions the Tahitian maintained a steady pace and always ended up in front.

Teihotaata is already known as one of the best outrigger paddlers in the world, but he soon may become a staple in the world of SUP. With his recent signing with Mistral, expect to become familiar with his name as he should be competing in some of the bigger SUP races in 2016.

Learn more about the SUP 11 City Tour.

Check out Bart de Zwart's epic 39-hour crossing of the North Sea.