The last night in Amsterdam I did a pro clinic with 14 paddlers eager to learn new SUP techniques and training tips. It was awesome to see the stoke and enthusiasm from the Dutch. The classroom part of the lesson went great and then we headed out onto the North Sea for some paddle time. The sun doesn't set until 10 p.m., so we were on the water around the same time I usually get ready for bed. After we finished with the clinic we enjoyed catching some North Sea waves until it was too dark to see. Paddle and surf stoke is definitely universally felt across all cultures.
After an amazing time exploring Amsterdam and meeting great people we took the train to St. Maxime, France via Paris. In Paris we only had 2 hours to switch train stations but still managed to do the tourist thing and get under the Eiffel Tower. After 8 hours on the train we made our way to St. Maxime. The race organizer has given us a place to stay on a hill above the ocean during our time here.
Today we took a short ferry ride just across the Gulf to the historic port city of St. Tropez. I have never seen so many mega-yachts and private helicopters in one area. Just in the small harbor of St. Tropez there was at least over $1 billion in boats. The French Riviera is where the rich and famous like to come and play. The Cannes Film Festival and the F1 Grand Prix are both taking place now not too far from St. Maxime. Maybe we can get this group into SUP to raise the prize money to Grand Prix level?
Tomorrow is the elite course race on the main beach of St. Maxime. I have been told that all of the top European standup paddlers will be here. The course race is 4 laps with a beach run between each lap. The French have added their own special twist and we will have to do the run with our board. To make it extra interesting, we will be required to wear a leash for the race. I'm starting to think that I should have been doing my run training while hauling my board down the beach. Regardless of the French SUP race rules, I am looking forward to racing here. Stay tuned for a race recap soon.
Click here to read Part I.
Click here to read Part II.
Click here to read Part IV.
Click here to read Part V.