The 2019 Hong Kong International SUP Challenge took place in beautiful Sai Kung Peninsula, and despite the current political tensions in Hong Kong, the event ran smoothly with all riders having a great time and challenging themselves in the gruelling 18km in hot and muid conditions. Bangkok based Starboard Team rider, Daniel Hasulyo, grabbed his new 2020 All Star and flew over for the weekend to compete at this year’s 5th edition of the event.
Daniel lead the race for much of the way but after a tough battle with severe cramps, Casper Steinfath managed to catch up to the Hungarian and pass him in the final few kilometres, to take the win. Daniel never gave up and pushed through and finished in second, just a couple minutes adrift of the Viking. The Starboard Dream Team rider recaps the event;
« Hong Kong was great! Regardless of all the scary news from the international media, we had absolutely no problem moving around the city.
The event location for the 5th Hong Kong International SUP Championship had been changed and moved to the beautiful Sai Kung Peninsula, one of the most spectacular reservoirs I have seen in South East Asia! The course of the 18km Elite Race consisted of 3 x 6km laps around the island of Tiu Chung Chau.
In the morning, all enthusiast paddlers and friends from over 12 different countries, have gathered in Sha Ha Beach to load all our equipment to local JUKUNG boats, which also hosted the party during the whole day and with a fleet of 3 big boats, we headed out to the island.
It was brutally hot and humid, but according to the weather forecast, the monsoon kind of rain was at the doors. Bryan and the Asia SUP Tour (AST) crew of AST created an amazing atmosphere for all the competitors and spectators on the boats alike! It felt like a private boat party, spiced up with a hardcore ultra-endurance race!
I was really looking forward to the race and getting my feet onto the new 2020 All Star – the perfect board for this event. The conditions were anything but flat. With strong currents wrapping around the island combined with an intense backwash created a solid chop around the rocks for 2/3 of the distance and a short flat section on the sheltered side of the island.
I had a strong start – the 14 x 22.5 with new redesigned Vee to double concave hull flew off the start line. I got into the lead early, and after 2 laps (12-13kms) I had a good 3-400m lead on the entire field. Looking at my watch, I knew that I was doing a fast 40 min/ 6kms, which would have been a solid pace even in dead flat water, which means I was averaging around and above 10km/h – this really highlights the potential of our new race board range!
We started with very hot and humid weather, but around halfway through the race, a big rainstorm hit us. There was no dangerous thunder, so they kept us racing, which made the event even more challenging! It’s always a pleasure to battle with nature 1 on 1, it makes you feel alive!
After racing through all these tough conditions and being on the lead, all of a sudden around the 14km mark, my body decided to not support me and fell off from the board due to severe cramping. A nutritional mistake. I learnt my lesson and will fine-tune my body for the next race, but there during the event, I couldn’t get back on board, my leg just wouldn’t release.
It took me a while to recover, and what hurt the most was seeing Casper catching up and slowly passing me, at that stage your mind and body are playing a true agony. I didn’t give up. That’s not in my vocabulary. I had to breathe through the pain and focused all my energy to get me going and paddled the last km’s till the finish, crossing 2nd overall, just a couple of minutes behind 1st. A big experience, and definitely a good race.
« The key is to never give up and enjoy! »
The 5th Hong Kong International SUP Challenge was an epic race, with big ups and big downs, a lot of emotions, world-class performances and nerve consuming battles! This is one of my favourite races of the year because of the great atmosphere & all the amazing and smiling people from all around the World.
Can’t wait for the 6th Edition! See you next year 😉 »
– Daniel Hasulyo
Picture Credits: Stanely L. (@stanleylvisual)