Rai Taguchi in Europe

We mentioned it after the SUP Spring Race: It was a bit of a surprise to see Rai Taguchi in Europe particularly this early in the season. His appearance left room for speculation if he set out for a European SUP Summer of competitions. After not seeing him in Andalusisa the Paddle for Hercules we then questioned our speculations and we had to reach out to him asking what is going on with this.

Rai responded right away to our interview request.

It was the first time I participated in an ICF event held in Italy. There were three competitions: technical, sprint, and long distance, and all races were held on small lakes.

I raced in Italy as a test for the ICF World Championships, and in all races I competed on the Starboard 2024 Sprint Model . It is better to use a flat deck board, especially in technical races, but I dared to use this one.

I didn’t get a good start in the qualifying, quarterfinals, and semifinals, but the tail of the new sprint allowed me to make smooth turns, so I was able to finish in a good position and stay in the final.

I got off to a good start in the final, passing in third place in the first lap, and while the other athletes were getting tired in the second lap, the new sprint showed a great run and I was able to smoothly take the lead without slowing down.

Since the technical race was also held on the same day, it took a long time from the qualifying round to the final, and it got colder with each race, making it a tough race. The final was held at 7:30 p.m., as the sun was setting and the temperatures really dropped. I wasn’t satisfied with my result in the final, coming in 6th, but I’d like to build on that for next time.

I’m very happy to have won two gold medals in the first international races of the season, and I think this is a good start to the season.

What I felt in this race was that the young paddlers, such as Cameron, who won the sprint, and Donato, who competed with me in the long distance, were faster than last year, and they were a big inspiration to me.

Also, outside of the race, I really enjoyed spending time with people around my age. This tournament was a great experience.It was also my first time participating in a race in Italy, and I met many people for the first time, but they were all very kind, and I was happy when the children asked me for photos.

Comacchio was a very rural and nice place. There were many fields and farms around, and it was nice to feel the country atmosphere.

Last year at the ICF World Championships, I had to paddle a few more sprints than the other paddlers who had already qualified because I wasn’t exempt from qualifying because I hadn’t competed in any other ICF events. This made the race quite tough and exhausting, so I decided to participate in one of the ICF events this year.

The Italian spring race this time was held close day to other Euro Tour races, so I thought I could take part in many races in one trip, so I decided to participate.

Also, I don’t often go to Europe, so this time I wanted to learn about European culture and tourism in addition to racing.

After the Spring Race, we stopped off in the Alps on the way to Switzerland. I live in Okinawa and have never seen snow, so it was a wonderful sight to see. It was also my first time touch the snow, which was a great experience.

Now I’m in Switzerland training for the next race in Punta Ala. And on April 21st I will be holding my own paddle clinic in Sion, Switzerland. It will be my first time doing it in Europe, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Yes it was very attractive and I wanted to go, but I already had plans. and if I participate in too many races, the time it takes to travel and do other things means you can’t train enough, and it becomes harder to achieve good results.

The remaining races are the four Euro Tour events. I think that all of them will feature very high-level athletes. I’m particularly looking forward to the Barcelona World Festival, where many top paddlers will gather.

My upcoming race schedule looks like this:

  • 4/26.27 Punta Ala Sup Race
  • 5/4.5   Mondello Water Festival
  • 5/11.12  Sancti Petri Sup Race
  • 5/17.18.19 Barcelona SUP World Festival

The race I care most about this year is the ICF World Championships. This year, it will be held in Florida, USA, so I think more athletes will participate.

This is a world top  competition! The best race ever because of the number of participants and the high level of athletes it attracts. I plan to peak this year in training for the ICF World Championships.

Last year I missed out on winning the long distance and technical races, but this year I want to use that experience to win.

It’s me.

This is because SUP racing is not a race that involves running along a set course, but is always held in nature.

Since we have to compete in the elements even during practice, I think we need to focus on ourselves and the conditions of the ocean rather than worrying about others.

Furthermore, in long distance races, you will often be rowing with no one around you, so it is important to keep your pace up so you don’t lose to yourself.

In addition to my goal of becoming a world champion, I also have the goal of making a living as a professional SUP racer. Not only do you win races and get prize money,

I need to secure sponsors, of course, but I’m also going holding clinics in my free time. As a SUP racer, I want to become an athlete who is known by many people and supported by many people.

During this trip, I am earning money by holding private clinics in my spare time. So if you are interested in the clinic, please contact us via DM!

I think it looks very good.

Last year, the ICF World Championships were also held in Thailand, and many participants from many countries gathered, making it a fantastic race. By holding events such as the APP and the World Championships in Asia, I think that the recognition and market share of SUP RACE will increase in Asia, which will ultimately lead to an increase in the number of SUP riders in Asia.

Many more races are planned to be held in Asia in the future. I hope to participate actively and help liven up the Asian racing scene.

It was a pleasure.