The SUP 11-City Tour 2014: Day 1

The SUP 11-City Tour started with a colorful Prologue, Tuesday evening, where participants were dressed to impress representing their culture.

This morning the atmosphere was more serious as the athletes were anxious to see what the first day of racing would offer. At 9:15 the start shot sounded for the 6th annual SUP 11-City Tour in Leeuwarden, and everyone sprinted the first meters towards Sneek, our first resting point and city of the day.

The weather was spectacular with temperatures around 24C and light winds. Elite, Amateur, and Team paddlers competed side by side, on SUPs that varied from carbon 14-foot race boards to 12'6" inflatable boards.


At the resting post in Sneek, Peter Bartl of Austria arrived with an impressive four-minute lead on Bart de Zwart of Holland/Hawaii and Martijn van Deth of Holland. Nearly five minutes later the rest of the field raced into view, with Holland’s Janneke Smits arriving first for the women.

With another 20 kilometers to go after the resting post and a 'stamping post' in the second city "IJlst", the participants headed towards the finish in the third city, Sloten. Before making it to the finish, the famous Slotermeer lake was waiting for everyone. Today, the lake offered rough conditions with chop created by the side onshore winds.


The finish of Day 1 was very surprising, as Bart de Zwart made up lost time and ended up winning the sprint from Peter Bartl finishing in 5 hours and 28 seconds. Peter Bartl came in second with a time of 5 hours and 30 seconds, while Martijn van Deth finished third in 5 hours, 1 minute and 16 seconds.

The female competitors did an awesome job, with Janneke Smits from Holland taking the lead today with a total time of 5 hours 48 minutes and 20 seconds. Joanne Hamilton-Vale from the UK came in 2nd with a time of 5 hours, 54 minutes and 13 seconds. Morene Dekker came in 3rd with her total paddling time: 6 hours, 10 minutes and 2 seconds.


Once passing the finish line, athletes were all smiles with a proper massage awaiting them, followed by a communal dinner and daily prize giving. The atmosphere in "SUP City"—our roaming home—is very unique. Everyone is part of the SUP 11-City Family. The volunteers work very hard to get the logistics on land and water organized, while the paddlers go very deep to keep up with the mental and physical challenge. The spectators can’t be forgotten, as they clap, hoot and holler, and keep the spirit alive. Together it's an 'insta bonding experience' for everyone.

Anne-Marie Reichman

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