Hamburg Day One: Kai And Annabel Win The Sprints While Leonard Nika and Manca Notar Win Plenty Of Respect
Boss Man’s note: Check out Bart de Zwart’s recap of Day One @ the Camp David SUP World Cup in Hamburg, Germany, which is part of the 2013 Stand Up World Series. Today saw the knockout sprint races while tomorrow it’s the distance race. So take a look below and see how Day One went down, then check back tomorrow for Bart’s recap of the whole event.
And in case you missed it, give Bart a warm welcome as SUPracer.com’s latest correspondent. Bart will be sending us regular updates from the big SUP races to his bold SUP adventures, via his new column Beyond The Finish Line.
(PHOTO ABOVE: Final of the men’s sprints. L-R: Gaetan Sene, Kai Lenny, Leonard Nika, Dylan Frick, Beau O’Brian, Casper Steinfath)
>>> UPDATE: Check out Bart’s Hamburg SUP World Cup Day Two Recap
Stand Up World Series Hamburg: Day One, Sprint Races
Today was Day One of the SUP World Cup in Hamburg and first up were the women. There were three rounds before the final with plenty of action, but three women really made an impression.
Angie Jackson looked strong, with a slower, powerful stroke that won her the first two rounds while Manca Notar was directly behind her. Manca looked strong and determined, fighting until the end even in the opening rounds.
Manca paddles the opposite way to Angie, with a super high frequency and a very big blade. Her blade is bigger than almost any of the pro guys and she is a very small, young girl.
Annabel Anderson was dominating every round on her 25.5″ wide sprint. In the final she took a clear lead with Angie and Manca left fighting for second. Angie had a slower start than her previous heats and Manca fought with her the whole way. Just before the last buoy Manca played it well, coming in alongside Angie and getting the inside line to the buoy. The young Slovenian did a fabulous turn and came over the finish in 2nd place, followed by Angie in 3rd. Annabel ruled the day but Manca was the surprise packet.
In the afternoon it was time for the Elite Men to start their heats. A short figure-8 sprint course, with a long sprint to the first buoy, 180 degree turn, 2 slalom buoys on the straight, another 180 degree turn and then a short sprint to the finish.
With Connor Baxter not being present at this event, Kai Lenny wanted to use the opportunity to get the maximum amount of points for the overall Stand Up World Series ratings. Kai was in the first heat and made a clear statement by sprinting away at the start and coming in with a clear lead, followed by a strong-paddling Dylan Frick from South Africa. Another strong paddler in the first round was Leonard Nika (Italy), who had a very quick start every time and managed to hold the pace until the finish.
I was in the third heat and battled it out with Frenchman Gaetan Sene, who came in just ahead of me and with an easy gap to the rest of the field. In the fourth heat it was the Danish Viking Casper Steinfath and Aussie Beau O’Brian paddling away from the rest of the field. However the upset of the day was Eric Terrien not making the first heat and going to the repechage round, which he won to continue into the quarter-finals. Eric was using a 24.5″ wide board, which wasn’t easy to handle in the small chop that was bouncing back off the harbor walls. I felt the same way and traded my 24.5″ Sprint for a 26″ All-Star. It was a little slower but very secure and stable, plus it was also good for the buoy turns and most importantly I could give full power to my paddle strokes.
After the repechage we went into the quarters. The level went up a few notches and only three of every heat continued to the semi-finals. Kai, Leonard and Dylan looked strong and easily passed to the semi-finals. In my quarter-final I battled with Eric and Gaetan, with all of us progressing to the semis.
By now the harbour was full of spectators cheering us on. The weather, the opposite of the forecast, actually got better and better and by the afternoon the sun came out and it got very warm.
In the first semi-final, Kai paddled to first place again, with Dylan in second followed by Leonard. I was in the second semi, with Eric, Peter Bartl from Austria, Gaetan, Beau, Carsten from Germany and Casper. We all had a good start and somehow I ended up in the middle of the pack. I felt more comfortable on my wider board but missed a little bit of speed on the first buoy. Casper and Beau had a good start and strong finish. We all came in close together in the latter part of the race, but it was impossible to catch up with Beau and Casper, who got first and second followed by Gaetan, Peter, myself and Carsten.
So in the final of the men’s sprints it was Kai Lenny, Casper Steinfath, Dylan Frick, Leonard Nika, Beau O’Brian and Gaetan Sene lining up on the start.
At the horn every one of them was fast to their feet (it was a sitting start…) as you can see from the photo up top. Right after the start Gaetan fell in, while Kai, who was sitting on the outside with the shortest distance to the buoy, sprinted away followed by Leonard and Casper. At the first buoy Kai was in front but Leonard was right on his tail and even managed to cut inside. But Kai got up to speed again fast and Leonard had to sit on his tail, followed by Casper. Behind that it was Beau and Dylan, with Gaetan rounding out the group.
On the zig-zag slalom to the final 180-degree turn, it was still exciting with Leonard sitting right on Kai, waiting for him to make a mistake. But Kai looked very solid all day, getting the best starts, the fastest sprints and tightest buoy turns. He didn’t give it away at the last turn of the day either. Kai made a quick pivot turn, with Leonard’s board slightly touching his rail, but that was as close as it got, with Kai sprinting to victory as soon as he rounded the buoy. Leo got second, Casper third, Beau fourth, Dylan fifth and Gaetan sixth.
Although there were two clear winners today, Kai Lenny and Annabel Anderson, for me there were two others who deserved the award for “most combative racers”. That was Manca Notar and Leonard Nika, both of whom had the drive in their eyes and fought hard all day.
In the men’s consolation final it was Paul Jackson 1st (for 7th place overall), Eric 2nd, Peter 3rd, myself 4th and Carsten 5th.
Robby Naish was on hand to present the awards and is still as much of a hero here in Germany as he was at the height of his windsurfing career.
Today was a long day and tomorrow we still have the Distance Race. The amateurs set off at 10:00am while the Elite will start at 1:00pm. I’ll send you a full recap and results tomorrow.
Aloha from Hamburg,