We live year round on an island in the Gulf of Thailand, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to plan a roadtrip to Pattaya and experience the fun of the ICF SUP World Championships in November 2023. The roadtrip was fairly easy, just the car ferry from Koh Samui to the mainland, and then an 800km drive up to Pattaya. Check out our next blog post on our roadtrip adventures across to Koh Chang. Meantime, we’ll share some highlights from the SUP event here.
16th November 2023– we drove out to the Royal Thai Navy Rowing and Canoe Association Training Centre in Rayong to watch the finals of the 200m Sprints. It was a super hot day, making the speed of the paddlers sprinting on flat water even more impressive. We also attended the official opening ceremony on Jom Tien beach, with something like 1000 paddlers from 50+ countries.
17th November 2023 – the first day of openwater racing started with the 10km Long Distance race and the 5km Inflatable race. Ian entered the 10km distance race, paddling on our Starboard Allstar 14′ race board, amongst the top distance paddlers from around the world, including Australian and World Champion Michael Booth from Western Australia. And we both, Tammy and Ian, joined in the 5km Inflatable race. The challenging side chop and wind may have brought out some colourful language from Tammy, but we can now both say we’ve competed at the SUP World Championships.
18th November 2023 – Saturday kicked off the technical racing, with numerous heats for women’s and men’s open and age-group competitors. It was really impressive to be watching the starting line, and capturing the athletes amazing footwork on their boards as they turned around the buoys in windy and bumpy conditions.
19th November 2023 – the last day of the world championships kicked off with the Finals for the Technical Races, and the One Shadow Design fun race. Each starting line reading like a who’s who of the world’s best paddlers – including the very well known Connor Baxter from the USA (Technical Open Men), as well as Marie Buchanan from the UK (Technical Master 50+ Women), and Skadi Langbein from Germany (Technical Junior Women) who we first met at the 2019 Thailand SUP Festival, along with so many more awesome athletes.
The Closing Ceremony was held on Jom Tien beach, with a feast of Thai flavours, medal ceremonies and lots of dancing on the stage and the sand! Overall a fabulous opportunity to join such an event in the country where we live!