December 21, 2014
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Ironmana: Drone’s Eye View Of Bora Bora’s Painful Paradise
Earlier this month I had the pleasure/pain of competing in the epic “Ironmana” race, which is a cross between stand up paddling, prone paddling and swimming (the latter of which I’m still having nightmares about).

Ironmana takes place on the beautiful Tahitian island of Bora Bora, also known as the honeymoon capital of the world. But our week was no honeymoon… It was TOUGH.

Four straight days of competition, which included far too much time wearing goggles for my liking. Fortunately it all took place in the world’s largest swimming pool, which made it much easier to get through.

The final event of the week was the 40km SUP marathon (which was mercifully cut down to 32km in the end). The course consisted of five loops around a paradisaical course on Bora Bora’s south eastern corner. We started at 6:30am. It was already hot. I limped over the line shortly after 11. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life…

Oh and we weren’t allowed to draft in the marathon. This race is a spiritual journey you have to complete/survive on your own. So while the video above makes the Ironmana race look like a breezy cruise through paradise, don’t be fooled: This race is HARD.

But it’s also a hell of a lotta fun, so watch above and enjoy some aerial highlights courtesy of Tim McKenna’s Tahiti Fly Shoot. There’s a full edit of the event coming later, this is just an early peek at the raw footage.

Note: The paddler at the 3:00 mark is Niuhiti Buillard, who won this grueling race quite convincingly before going on to dominate the Manuia 404 SUP Race a week later. Remember the name.

Just look at that colour around the 3:33 mark. Oh and I’m pretty sure that guy at 2:32 is floating.

There’s also a quick shot of a few swimmers and a prone paddler – some of the competitors decided 32kms on a SUP was too much, so they opted for the “easy” option of either swimming or proning it. I’m not sure wtf they were thinking…

Finally, in case you’re wondering what’s happening around 4:05, that’s our fearless leader and event organiser (slash chief torturer) Stephan Lambert racing Morgan Hoesterey to the line. Yes, after more than 4 hours of paddling in the hot sun, he waited for Morgan right before the finish and challenged her to one final sprint. The Ironmana is a rather special event…

Wanna see more Stand Up Paddle boarding videos? Head on over to our SIC Showreel:

The SIC SUP Showreel