Jomtien Beach, Thailand – 12-13th March 2022
The 2022 SUP Pattaya Championship was a standalone international event organized by the Windsurfing Association of Thailand (WATH), at their home location in Jomtien Beach, Pattaya. Two days of racing for all categories U12, U16, OPEN, MASTERs 40+ both for Men and Women, with exciting racing formats of Tech Race 3km & 6km, SPRINTs 250M and Long-distance 10km &16km with 100+ participants and also Prize Money for the main disciplines.
Starboard’s Bangkok based Dream Team rider Daniel Hasulyo got invoved in the action, and has this to report from the weekend’s event:
“Last weekend’s event in Pattaya, showed a good example of what a good international event could look like in Thailand and that the SUP community and organizers are ready to go next level. Besides SUP 11 Island happening in Koh Chang during the month of November, the 2022 SUP Pattaya Championship was one of the first times where a large SUP event would stick to a quite challenging open water Long Distance Course that would use a natural element, the Island of Koh Khrok, as the “half-way” marker, 8kms off the shore of Jomtien. I was really excited for the distance and to race with the best paddlers of Thailand in such a unique scenario. “
These days in Thailand the temperature doesn’t really go under 30*C even during nighttime, so you can imagine that on SUN-day, we had a super-heated race with temperatures hitting 35-36*C on the channel. I love these kinds of challenges. It really pushes you to focus and breath through the whole experience and just because of the warm air, your body creates very interesting reactions to go through.
The race started with Mass Beach Start, of both 10km & 16km race, with a Carolina Cup style, sprint to the golden buoy, where we took a right turn and took off for an 8km straight leg to the Island, gradually diverging from the coast of Jomtien and Pattaya, to then cross the channel to the Islands. Epic paddle route. Also, the contrast of colors made the paddle very unique, starting from the sandy beach, crossing a deep blue channel to arrive to surprisingly crystal clear water and intriguing rock formations around Koh Khrok and then back, really gave a full spectrum of different marine habitats. To make that finish line even sweeter, we had to fight a constant 5-8knots sidewind/onshore wind through the course, and the current of the dropping high tide. There was no real option for a long glide, so it was really important to keep focus on leveling the board and keep it in motion to maximize efficiency at every stroke.
I was on my new 14×21.75 All Star, and I was really happy with the performance of the board. It kept the average speed of 9.3km/h for the whole race and secured me a very good ride to Victory! Truly big applause to all finishers (2nd Natapat Koman, 3rd Yin ) of the race! It was a man proving challenge.
The afternoon was set for a big show with the SPRINT FINALs both for the ladies and the men. A 250m, technical course, 100m-50m-100m, in the dropping tide and little wind chop waves! Super exciting! Firing Beach Start and the race was off! Splashing waves and marching paddles, I got a good line and reached the buoy first, and I could hear from the spectators that there was something going on behind! The waves created by the wind definitely played their rule and mixed up the cards for some athletes! I still had some energy in the tank, so with the help of a little bump I reached the second buoy with a gap, and from there had time to pretty much surf in to the beach, connecting the little waves rushing to shore. Looking back, I could see the action and it was really cool to see the battle going on for the podium, which ended truly international Hungary 1st, Thailand 2nd (Oat), 3rd France.
Saturday, the first day of the event ,was a big celebration of Stand Up Paddling. Sunshine, Palm Trees, and the event venue in the heart of Jomtien, made the whole atmosphere for a great competition and an inviting destination for all participants.
The morning was all about the next generations! U12 and U16s had some epic battles, then people raced in the 3km FUN Race, which was the same course of the 6km race, repeated only twice, and had seen a very large number of entries. It was cool to see all the people racing having a good time, while preparing for the first race of the day, the 6km TECH Race.
We started at around 11am, when the wind started to blow in already, which turned the course into a very exciting upwind hammer – downwind slide zig-zag race, with 2 upwind and 2 downwind legs for each lap, for a total of 4 laps. WOAH, so much FUN! You had to work for the fun part, but this is the kind of race where really everything is possible, and it reminded me of some of the APP Distance Races in Japan or Scharbeutz in Germany. I was in my element and was able to use my power against the wind and then my experience to catch the waves, so I only had to focus on connecting to the best waves, keep the rhythm going and never look back. It worked. The board was feeling fantastic in the chop, agile through the waves and I was really happy to collect my first title of the race a with a good lead ahead of the field. After we all finished the Tech Race and had lunch, the afternoon, saw the first rounds and semifinals of the SPRINTs leaving everyone excited for SUNDAY.
The event was built to host and accommodate everyone for 2 days around the beach. Tents, Food, Music and ongoing SUP Action! I could not have had been happier to see Jasmine Maggie and Sai at every finish line and playing along friends while I was in “battle”, with a big smile! Lots of friends, a lot of good athletes, Olympic windsurfers, Thai Champions, International SUP Enthusiast and good organization made a very complete event, and I was really happy to win all 3 disciplines and win the 2022 SUP PATTAYA CHAMPIONSHIP Over All Champion Title.
I believe this race has the potential and the professional background to become an important date on the calendar, and I hope to see it becoming bigger and bigger to through the years and potentially return in 2023 with more international professional athletes. That’s a wrap, cant wait for the 2023 Edition.
Big Thank You to all organizers and participants for a great weekend of racing and to all my sponsors:
STARBOARD SUP, MINI THAILAND , SELECO SEAWEED, PFL ACADEMY SEPA Strength and Endurance Performance Academy, VMG Blades, SUNGOD, COROS Global, STARBOARD FOILS, SUP STATION THAILAND
For the ongoing support! We are a winning Team! The focus now is all on the first real BIG international race of the season, THE CAROLINA CUP, in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, USA at the end of April. Lots of training, lots of preparation and complete dedication to top level performance.
Till the next adventure!
All the bests,