A new event in the SUP Alps Trophy
Photos: Uroš Kekuš Kleva
SUP enthusiasts of the NNN club (“Do something for the nature”) from Koper – Capodistria, Slovenia port town on the Adriatic coast near the Italian border, organized an Adria Sup Challenge (ASC) event, an international SUP competition on September 2nd and 3rd within the legendary SUP racing cup – SUP Alps Trophy, a competition with the longest tradition in Europe.
More than 110 participants from eight European countries and Thailand gathered in the Water Sports Center in Koper to show their sup performances on the waters of the Bay of Koper. The ASC organizing team has set interesting racing courses for the 12 km long distance race (4 laps of 3,0 km) and the 2,5km lap for technical race.
Among the participants we find well-known faces of top European sup competitors according to world rankings, winners of European sup competitions and finalists of the last ICF World Championship in Poland, Normen Weber from Germany and Hermann Huslein, Thailand.
The SUP Alps Trophy series events connects well-known tourist destinations in Austria, Germany and now also in Slovenia. This year, Adria Sup Challenge (ASC) event was accepted into the SUP Alps Trophy family as a new member. This SUP event is the only SUP Alps Trophy competition on the “sunny side of the Alps,” and the only one on the waters of Adriatic Sea. During two competition days, more than 110 sup paddlers competed in seven races on the waters of the Bay of Koper. Racing courses took place in front of the city beach filled with crowds of spectators and fans. The best elite paddlers tested their SUP skills in the longdistance race 12km, the recreational paddlers in the 3km fun race, and the kids (U12) on the 1km track.
In the men’s 12km distance race the strong international competition dictated a very sharp paddling pace from the first stroke and thus, with high temperatures and high humidity, have created difficult competition conditions for the competitors. Multiple winner of SUP competitions on Europe sup races, Normen Weber (Germany) and Hermann Huslein (Thailand), immediately took the lead and seized control of the race in their hands, who could only be followed by Vasilis Samniotis (Greece) in third place. After a fierce fight in the last turn and a long sprint to the finish, Normen Weber crossed the finish line first, ahead of Huslein and Samniotis.
In the women’s categories on 12 km long distance cours, the 16 years old Csillag Kocsis (Hungary), showed extraordinary performance, SUP skills and paddling technique and she was undoubtedly in a class of her own. An incredible performance was also shown by Naja Pinterič (Slovenia), otherwise the European junior champion in kayak, who competed for the first time at such international sup competition and for the first time in the elite category. She beat in a close finish sprint the multiple Slovenian national champion Maja Dolžan, who took the third place.
Kids Race also found a place in the ASC event. The youngest (U12) showed all their sup knowledge and skills and they easily completed the 1000m course. There is no better view than a racing course full of youthful energy, intransigence and an enviable level of sup paddling.
Also competition in the “fun category”, where a large number of recreational paddlers tested their strength on a 3km course was set up. They showed their paddling skills and combativeness and proved that even with inflatable paddleboards is possible to be fast, very fast. After crossing the finish line and returning to shore, obvious fatigue was visible among the competitors but also big smiles on their faces. They got a huge round of applause from the spectators and other ASC competitors on the shore – all became winners of the ASC fun race.
On the second day of the ASC competition, the organizers prepared a 2.5 km lap for the technical race.
In the beginning of the racing day the men racers competed in two qualification heats on the 5km technical race course (2 laps) and after the women’s final race in the final short course race of 2.5 km (1 lap) sprint technical paddling battle. The first 5 according to places from the each qualifying group went directly to the finals + 6 paddlers by time. The ladies competed only in one race – the 5km final race, as only 15 women took part in the technical race.
Within the ASC technical race, Slovenian paddlers also competed for the titles of Slovenian national champions.
In the qualifications and in the final short sprint men’s “technical race”, sharp sports fight for positions immediately took place on the competition field of the Bay of Koper. The absolute fastest in the final, after a stunning paddling performance, was once again Normen Weber (Germany), who overtook Vasilis Samniotis from Greece and Hermann Husslein (Thailand) in a sharp extended finish sprint.
Among the girls, young Csillag Kocsis (Hungary) once again demonstrated her superiority. She crossed the finish line first with a 4:25 minute advantage. Naja Pinterič Slovenian kayaking champion and the hope of the Slovenian women’s stand up paddling, took second place again. The bronze medal was won by Penny Tsaoutou (Greece) after a sharp fight with Maja Dolžan (Slovenia).
The technical race also gave us new national champions of Slovenia.
Patrik Šime Olič (Keka, Portorož) was the fastest in the men’s category, and became the new Slovenian national champion on “home waters” of the Bay of Koper. This time, he was stronger than Luka Kožar (Supklub, Ljubljana) and Tomaž Jensterle (Supklub, Ljubljana).
Naja Pintarič (ŠD Pemupi, Brežice) is by achieving 2nd place overall in the Sup Alps Trophy technical race, also became the new national champion of Slovenia in the technical discipline. Maja Dolžan (Supklub, Ljubljana) took the second place, while Natalija Fon Boštjančič (Supklub, Ljubljana) won the bronze medal.
The Adria SUP Challenge event took place at the extraordinary location of the Water Sports Center in Žusterna and on waters of Bay of Koper. Event location Water Sports Center in Žusterna is connected to historic city center of Koper by the coastal promenade, a walking path among the Mediterranean greenery and a beautiful city beach, where hundreds of swimmers and spectators gathered to watch the ASC sup races. The water sports center is equipped with all the infrastructure for water activities, which enabled the ASC organizers to hold a really nice sports event. Despite worse weather forecasts and the threat of a stronger wind, the weather was “quite kind” to the organizers and paddlers, so that despite the high temperature and humidity, the sup competitors had ideal competition conditions.
In the evening, the competitors enjoyed in hospitality of the ASC organizetional team and later explored the Mediterranean vibe of the city of Koper. The Port of Koper gives the city of Koper a touristic pulse, where Cruise ships often stop on their journey around the Mediterranean. There is also a sports marina, many pleasant bars and restaurants and historical sights of Istrian architecture.
The 1st edition of Adria Sup Challenge event proved to be a superbly organized and competitively successful sports event, which places Slovenia and City of Koper on the international SUP map. Thus, the city of Koper, as a tourist and sports destination, is more and more decisively positioned alongside internationally recognized tourist destinations.
The gathered SUP Alps Trophy family and the guests of the ASC event, gave the organizers ASC TEAM a long round of applause for all their diligence, professionalism, efforts and hospitality, and they made a promise the organizers that they would definitely return to Koper for the 2nd edition of ASC sup event next year.