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SUP Armada 2016

They say that your perception of time is directly linked to the number of memories you are making. A day that creates lots of new memories flashes by at the time, but when re-run as a memory seems to have lasted for ever!  This means that the key to living a long fulfilling life is the creation of memories.

Last weekend the kids and I attended, and I was involved in organising, the 2016 SUP Armada. A memory generation machine!

UK SUP Clubs race series

SUP Armada is the brain child of Dan Charlish, and was born in 2014 out of the despair of a windless weekend on the pre-existing kitesurf Armada.  The key idea of the Armada is to break the Guinness World Record for the longest parade of paddle boarders over a 1 mile course, while raising loads of cash for the Armada’s charitable trust. This year was an evolution of the format to include Racing, Yoga, Trade show, tasters and onsite camping. It also happened to coincide with a weekend of amazing weather.  The 2016 event also included a change of venue to the beautiful Bewl Water in Kent, a man made and very picturesque lake on the Kent Sussex border. Bewl has fantastic facilities, complete with adventure playgrounds,  cafe, and a perfectly formed beach and lawned area from which to stage the racing and other events.

I was asked by Dan to get involved in the racing element of the Armada by acting as race Director to stage 4 of the UK SUP Clubs race series, which would be held at the event. I have only done this once before with a handful of competitors, so stepping up to manage over 60 racers, with series points at stake had the memory generation equipment in overdrive. The planning before the event paid dividends, with both the 6km technical and 1km sprint races running bang on schedule and like clockwork.

Aside from the  UK SUP Clubs racing,  many new paddlers took the opportunity to try out paddle boarding  with SUP taster sessions run in the safe waters just to the left of the race area. Teams of between 6 and 8 took on the megaboard challenge racing together around a short course with no rules on which way to turn around the marker buoy; cue the carnage and smiles.  All the while SUP yoga sessions were taking place just off the beach using Fanatic’s awesome Fly Air Fit platform.

Red Paddle Junior racing

The Red Paddle Junior racing was a highlight of the day. The future of UK SUP racing battling it out in front of the crowds for honours in the age categories  under 10, under 12 and under 14. It wasn’t all about racing for the kids though. In fact kids of all ages, including my own, just had a ball playing in the water, on boards and in Bewl’s fantastic playgrounds.

All the while recreational paddle boarders were just having fun paddling around, having fun and soaking up he atmosphere, as well as a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

At 15:00 the main event started, boards were queued up on the beach and paddlers waited patiently for their chance to break a Guinness World Record. Super mario bros, Iron Man and a number of assorted caped individuals were spotted paddling. With some great scenes of comradery  as more proficient paddlers helped  others around the 1 mile course; and the result? well we did it! We broke the Guinness World Record for the Longest Parade of Paddleboarders with 390 paddlers, beating the previous record by 97! What a result!!

So the time had come to pack up the Sup village, light the BBQ, or retire to the bar to enjoy a cold one, while watching the last few paddlers enjoying a sunset SUP across the lake. This is the stuff that memories are made of.

Armada Movie

SUP Armada Website

UK SUP Website

Georgia Wharton Photography





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