Eilat, Israel – The Israeli SUP season officially kicks off with the 2018 edition of the Eilat SUP Tour that took place this past weekend. Eilat is an amazing city in the south of Israel overlooking the beautiful Red Sea. Local SUP stoke master Sheggy Shachar supported by his fun and enthusiastic SUP Centre team put in a massive effort to host this years event. Hundreds of paddling enthusiasts from near and far participated in this years competition. Starboard Israel, headed up by Or Frydman from Freegull Sea Sport, was also in town for the weekend, as well as Italian Team Rider Martino Rogai made it over to compete and report on the big potential for the growth of SUP in Israel.
Thursday saw all the competitors being invited to the official opening of event with a social paddle around the picturesque channels of Eilat. This unique perspective offered paddlers a breathtaking glimpse of Eilat, whilst the mass of SUPs gathered in the canals made for an unusual spectacle for onlooking tourists and locals alike.
The event officially kicked of on Friday morning with some tight technical racing. Warm weather, glassy conditions and a well organised event crew made for an awesome day out and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
On the results side, the Starboard Team had a very successful morning out on the water securing all available podium spots in the Mens Elite racing. Israeli Starboard rider Itzik Horesh showed great form and determination, paddling hard to lead the 6km course race from start to finish. Italian rider Martino Rogai managed to place second, super stoked to simply finish the after a sleepless night due to illness picked up on travel. More known for his explosive SUP surfing, Liran Machlev (Starboard Israeli Team Rider) also put in a phenomenal performance to finish in third position and complete the ‘Starboard podium’.
Racing resumed on Saturday morning with a challenging downwind with windy, choppy and technical conditions. After the day of recovery from sickness, Martino Rogai regained strength to take the win ahead of localIsraeli Starboard Team Riders Liran Machlev and Itzik Horesh repectively.
Following the fun downwind race was an exciting 200 meters Sprint format event where we once again saw the Tiki Team doing what they do best ~ Itzik Horesh, Liran Machlev and Martino Rogai dominating all the podium positions for the third time in the Elite Race category this weekend.
“The Eilat Sup Tour is definitely a race to watch out for in the future. It has the potential to become international recognised event thanks to the well organised and enthusiastic team that put this together and made the weekends fun possible. The level of competition in the elite category is also so high, especially the Starboard Israel buddies Itzik Horesh and Liran Machlev could achieve good results on international circuit, so I hope to see them competing there soon.
As the Eilat SUP Tour is not only just for the elite athletes, it was also great to see a huge number of enthusiastic amateurs and young paddlers participating and making this event possible! ” ~ Martino Rogai
Words by Martino Rogai | Picture Credits: Uri Magnus Dotan