The beautiful island of Zamami, Japan, with its azure blue waters and it’s welcoming SUP community once again hosted the 2019 Kerama Blue Cup – the 3rd edition of this fun-filled weekend of SUP. In the headlines, it’s Dream Team riders Daniel Hasulyo and Sonni Hönscheid both returning to successfully defended their titles from last year in the Elite Pro distance race. The action doesn’t end there, Zamami Island and the Kerama Blue Cup offers a fun weekend of SUP paddling that everyone should experience and includes a Kids Race and a Team Relay event.
Daniel Hasulyo has witnessed the young and thriving culture of paddleboarding here over the past years;
“I have had the honour to participate in all 3 editions of the Kerama Blue Cup in Zamami. In the first year, we arrived at the island and encountered a truly welcoming community that has been awestruck and deeply impressed by the beauty of Stand Up Paddle.
The Japanese SUP association in cooperation with the local government has created a truly world-class event, which over the past 2 days, has involved everyone from grass-root beginners, to kids of different age groups, all the way through to world-class Pro athletes, set in one of the most spectacular locations you could ever wish to paddle in.”
“The goal of this event is to promote the region, the sport & healthy living and to encourage people to reconnect with nature! Since the inaugural event back in 2017, every student of the local school has chosen SUP as their number one and favourite sports activity – further increasing the number of participants in every race category and it is plain to see that SUP is flourishing in many different ways over here!”
“Coming back to Zamami Island was really special after winning the Kerama Cup last year. This place has the clearest water I have ever seen so far. I must say a big thank you to Starboard Japan, who had our boards ready to go when we arrived.”
~ Sonni Hönscheid
“The main event, an 18km Long Distance race, was a real test of one’s strength & determination to never give up. I called the course a double B, Beautiful and Brutal, having to fight against a solid headwind throughout most of the course, cutting across incredibly blue waters with jaw-dropping sceneries, and rounding a majestic island formation surrounded by corals and reefs!
Thanks to Starboard Japan, I had my favourite and fastest 12’6 we have ever built, the 2019 SPRINT 12’6 x 21.5″ under my feet.”
~ Daniel Hasulyo
“The race was a mix off all conditions, from some downwind to a strong headwind, sidewind, and flat… the race course was like last year, paddling around Amuro Island. I‘m really happy to win this race again, congratulations to all the competitors. I was paddling on the 2019 ALL STAR 12.6 x 23.5 and used the Lima LTD paddle size large.”
~ Sonni Hönscheid
Pic Credits: Sai Nepaka & Kiyotaka Kitajima