Your breakfast briefing: Vikings, Japan and the world’s straightest SUP race.
Good morning and welcome to your daily briefing, Brekkie Bites. Each day I’ll be sharing a few bite-sized bits of news to keep you updated on what’s been happening in the SUP world.
This is episode #002 of Brekkie Bites; catch up on yesterday’s episode to find out why I started this new column.
Here’s the latest…
VIKINGS ON THE BIG SCREEN
Casper Steinfath is crowdfunding the release of a new movie that chronicles his epic “Viking Crossing” between Denmark and Norway.
The athlete-turned-adventurer completed the crossing earlier this year after falling narrowly short back in 2017. Casper had a crew filming the entire adventure, and now it’s headed for the big screen.
The Viking is aiming to raise 100,000 Danish krone (about $15,000) via Kickstarter, and as of writing, he’s about to hit the magic mark.
Edit: The team has just hit the funding milestone, so keep an eye out for Casper’s new movie early next year (you can still contribute and score yourself a ticket to the premiere).
CROSSING THE CORINTH CANAL
Speaking of crossings, one of the most interesting races in the world happened earlier this month: The 8th Annual Corinth Canal SUP Crossing in Greece.
It’s an event I like to call “the world’s straightest SUP race” because it follows the 6.5km (4 mile) canal that cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth. The famous waterway is only 20 metres wide but the walls are 80 metres high, which produces some epic photos from above.
This year’s race set a new record of 500+ competitors, which puts the Corinth Canal in the big leagues alongside the GlaGlas, Chattajacks and Paris Crossings of the world.
Add it to your bucket list for 2019.
BUCKET LIST WORLD TOUR?
With elite racing becoming so “niche” and participation numbers at some of the more-famous events on the wane (PPGs, for example), it seems that “adventure racing” or just adventure paddling, period, is one of the most positive ways forward for the sport.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said the phrase “bucket list” over the past 18 months, but I do know it’s a term that gets me excited to go paddling. And I’m clearly not alone.
Which got me thinking: perhaps it’s time for an unofficial “Bucket List World Tour”? No points, no prize money, just one hell of an adventure around the world.
What would the obvious candidates be? The Corinth Canal Crossing, Krumlovsky, Paris, GlaGla, the 11 Cities, Red Dragon World Champs, Maliko, Hood River, Iceland… the list goes on. Let’s make it a thing.
The 7th Annual “All Japan Championship Race” aka the Japanese national titles were held last weekend in Enoshima (just south of Tokyo).
Long-standing #1 Kenny Kaneko held off the fast-rising kids to claim another title. (If Casper is the “Viking of SUP,” does that make Kenny the Samurai?)
The next generation is right on Kenny’s tail though: 15-year-old Rai Taguchi (who had a great result at last month’s 4-star Japan Cup) took second overall and staked his claim as a future number one. Akira Murata was third followed by Ryohei Yoshida.
25-year-old Rika Okuaki took the women’s crown off former champ Takayo Yokoyama. Rika hails from the tiny, tropical island of Zamami (home to The Paddle League’s Kerama Blue Cup) where she trains the local junior squad.
Japan’s highest-ranked athlete, world number five Yuka Sato, missed the event in order to race the epic Ultra T80 river marathon.