We’re delighted to be hosting and organising SUP Polo games and a full tournament at this year’s National Watersports Festival (NWF) on 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September on Hayling Island, Portsmouth – the 10th Anniversary of the UK’s biggest watersports event!
I was at last year’s NWF and really enjoyed the full watersports lifestyle immersion for a whole weekend with like-minded folks – trying loads of boards, playing polo, racing and meeting lots of paddle boarding folk, as well as a social tipple in the evening and sharing great food! There’s camping on-site for vans and tents, with areas to park up for those who like to party the night away…and a quieter end for those who like to get some shut-eye! The Friday and Saturday night parties include live music, and Saturday’s fancy dress theme is pirates – perfect if you took part in our Pirates Around the Pier race earlier this year – aarrggh!!
There will be loads of different boards and paddles to try from all different brands – maybe with some sneak peaks at brand new 2017 kit. Social paddle cruises, fun races including team XL board racing, battle of the paddle style beach-start races, distance and sprints as well as SUP tug of war and SUP Pugil. We may even get a few waves to surf out on the bar if conditions are right!
Red Paddle Co Junior Racing will be hosting the fun racing for kids, with categories, boards and short race distances for all ages.
SUP clinics will be held by experts throughout the weekend, so it’s a great opportunity to hone your technique and ask those burning questions of some of the UK’s top paddlers including Starboard team rider and international racer Ollie Shilston and Fanatic guru Jay ‘JSUP’ Manning who will also host a land-boarding clinic. There will also be Indo board clinics for improving the balance and stance, and SUP pilates!
SUP polo will include games throughout the weekend, even if you’ve never played before. It’s a great, fun way to improve your board skills, getting used to moving around the board – and climbing back on a lot too! The tournament will run from Saturday morning, so muster up a team and get ready to register. Friday night’s flood-lit SUP polo will feature the battle of the brands – watch team riders and reps from your favourite brands battle it out for the SUP polo crown! Never played SUP polo before? To see what it’s all about check out our BBC TV clip from Mike Bushell’s visit to Southport to play polo with the SUP North crew in the swimming pool.
There’s also loads of windsurfing taking place over the weekend – great for SUP boarders who do both, with the Legend of NWF title up for grabs for the combined SUP and windsurf race, but it’s an amazing spectacle even if you don’t sail (yet!)! Mass-participation races and flood-lit freestyle are both impressive sights – and there’s always windSUP if you’re ready to give sailing on a board a go!
If you’re new to paddle boarding this is the perfect time to get involved. You can take part in a taster session, then get involved in as many activities, clinics, fun games, paddles and learning opportunities as you want to! As well as meeting lots of the UK’s keenest and most inspirational SUP boarders,