The 2021 ICF SUP World Championship, in Balatonfured, Hungary, was an exalting celebration of Stand Up Paddleboarding, with over 500 participants, and more than 45 countries competing for 4 days in all sorts of distances, genders/ age groups and quiver types, in what was the most competitive race of the year.
It was amazing to see the growth of the sport, the professionalism that went into the organization of the event, and the enthusiasm of the crowd that followed the races on-site and from all over the world. Thank must go out to the Hungarian Canoe Federation (Magyar Kajak Kenu Szovetseg), the ICF Race Direction and the Media Coverage team, the whole event site was set for a great show.
Competing in Hungary, Hasulyo’s home country, definitely gave the Hungarian SUP racer the extra charge to dig deep and deliver exceptional performances. Daniel placed 3rd in the Men’s Long Distance event.
Watch the 2021 ICF SUP World Champs Long Distance Race:
Here’s Daniel’s 2021 ICF SUP World Champs Long Distance event recap:
I have been training really hard all year to give my best, and as we could see from Fiona’s incredible performance as well, we have what I consider the absolute best racing gear possible so I was feeling really good going into the 18kms long-distance race.
The conditions Friday morning were very technical, 150+ competitors on the start line, 5-8 knots side/ back/ headwind, 2 laps of a very precise set triangle course, leaving Balatonfured crossing the bay (cross/sidewind) to turn right under the Tihany Abbacy and head to the bottom of the bay (cross/downwind) for another sharp right and head back straight up to buoy one, a solid 2,5km upwind leg.
I had a good start, took off with the lead pack, Micheal, Bruno, Titou, Noic and Clement and a couple of other French and Italian athletes in the mix, but from the first marker (800m), it was clear that the race was going to run among the 6 of us.
It was a high-paced 18km course with no room for error from start to finish because you had to work for every stroke to keep the pace, read bumps and put down power. New Caledonian riders Titou and Noic took off, and we went for a chase with Michael, Bruno, Clement and I get to that bottom marker quiet together, then on the upwind, I felt that I had an extra gear and by the end of the first lap managed to close the gap on the two New Caledonians.
I was truly happy how the Sprint was slicing through the rough chops and I knew that if I could push somewhere, that was on the upwind. On lap two it was similar conditions but definitely had to focus because the pace didn’t drop and after an hour on the water already hammering you need that self-control and will to not drop and do the move. Turned the bottom marker 5th, but had a good line and I wanted to get on the podium more than anything, so I started pushing, left Michael and I knew that we were closing the gap on the first two, but I had to pass my brother to. Bruno has been training super hardcore and I knew that 18kms distance was well within his comfort zone – I could not afford to put a single string wring or he’s be gone. I kept focused, digging deep as I could feel Sprint was surging.
When we turned into the bay for the final stretch, I almost completely closed the gap on Titou and Noic, but there was no way I could get ahead of them, so it was a battle for 3rd, SUPBROz style. Bruno tried to pass me a couple of times, but I had some extra power stored for the final 500ms and secured my spot on the podium and Hungary’s first medal at the World Champs.
It was one of the toughest races of my life and I’m really happy with the result. I know that if the lake would have been calmer, we might have seen a different result, but nature doesn’t have a wishlist and that’s why we love it. Hands down a big round of applause for all competitors and finishers, because we had a good example of why Balaton is also called the Sea of Hungary and finishing the 18kms, in the beautiful blue water of the lake was a great challenge and a perfect marathon race. Checking from my GPS I saw that my average race pace was 10km/s, which considering the distance and conditions made me realize how fast we were going! Amazing racing! I hope there will be more and more international races in the future with similar long distances.
Standing on the podium feels always amazing – competing with the best of the World, seeing so many friendly faces and most of all my family, Sai and Jasmine, waiting for me at the finish line, really made me realize how incredibly amazing Stand Up Paddleboarding is and how clearly consistency brings to good results, in performance (Daniel has stood on the podium of every World Championship since 2017) in R&D Development and in life. The sport is growing and so are we and seeing this evolution in front of our eyes and sharing it with friends really creates the foundation for a healthy, outdoor loving, international SUP community!
I am truly looking forward to seeing the development of the sport in the future and can’t wait for the 2022 ICF World Championship that is going to take place in Poland, but for now, I shall focus on the upcoming races in this season. Carolina Cup is on the radar and keeps the SUP world excited and I am thrilled to compete in the infamous Graveyard Race once again, this time under the APP organization!
Many thanks to my family, friends, trainers, and my sponsors :
- MINI THAILAND
- SELECO SEAWEED
- SEPA / STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE PERFORMANCE ACADEMY
- PFL ACADEMY
- BLACK PROJECT
- SUP STATION THAILAND
for the ongoing support! I would also like to say a big congratulations to the whole Starboard Team once again, what a fantastic effort from everyone!
~ Daniel Hasulyo