Thailand Introduces 2024 Race Series

Photo courtesy: Kojung Photo courtesy: Kojung
Bangkok, Thailand - It's hard to believe three months has already passed since the global SUP racing community descended on the Thai beach resort of Pattaya for the 2023 ICF SUP World Championships. But rest assured, the impact of that thrilling event continues to reverberate amongst the country’s paddlers. 
Several passionate members of Thailand’s SUP community have just launched a brand-new monthly racing series that will take place at various locations in Bangkok and around the country. The SUP Addict Championship – named in honor of the organizers’ popular Facebook group – is aimed at developing the country’s paddlers while further showcasing Thailand’s potential to be a regional leader in the international SUP community. 
The first race in the six-event series took place at Bangkok’s picturesque Taco Lake, home of Starboard’s headquarters, on March 2. Many of Thailand’s top riders came out to compete along with several international competitors. After a challenging 8-km technical race, Daniel Hasulyo emerged as the winner, comfortably cruising over the finish line on a Sunova board, his first race since his recent surprise announcement of his switch to their team.  
Future SUP Addict Championship race locations will vary month to month, with the next event taking place on April 6, again in Bangkok. 
thailand race series 1 thailand race series 2
Photos from the inaugural race. | Photos by: Kojung
“Having the opportunity to meet their favorite racers and see them compete at last year’s ICF SUP World Championships has lit a fire in the hearts of Thailand’s SUP athletes,” says Supitchaya Punnawiroj, aka Polly, who spearheaded the initiative. “They have seen just how hard professional SUP athletes must work to be the best in the world – and they want a chance to be on that podium too. There aren’t as many opportunities to gain race experience here as there are in Europe, so we’re trying to give them more tools to follow their dreams on the water.”   
Anyone who attended the ICF SUP World Championships likely encountered Polly, who has long been a vocal champion of the sport. Part of the ICF Organizing Committee, she was an integral part of the Pattaya event’s success, never without a smile on her face as she bridged the gap between international and local organizers and hyped up the crowd with her infectious cheers.  
Polly says the idea for the race series stemmed from a need to develop Thailand’s young SUP athletes, but all paddlers are welcome and the goals are the same – to improve skills and inspire each other.  
Furthermore, she underscores the event's significance as a valuable resource for newcomers seeking guidance and knowledge within the sport, aiming to facilitate greater accessibility and engagement while also shining the spotlight on the country’s unique position in the global SUP community. 
thailand race series 3Photo courtesy: Thyme Photo Booth
“As the manufacturing base for several leading SUP board brands, Thailand is already in a fantastic position to help push the sport to even greater heights,” says Polly. “Combine that with our country’s captivating natural landscapes and you have a destination that is poised to be a regional leader, ready to help promote this beautiful sport to the world. We are incredibly excited about the future of SUP racing in Thailand and wish to thank everyone who came out to offer their time and resources to make our inaugural event a huge success.”      
Each SUP Addict Championship event includes a technical long-distance 8-kilometer race, from which competitors can earn ranking points. There will also be some sprint races and shorter routes for those who just want to have fun but not collect points. Age categories are limited to U10, U15 and Open to better ensure a full slate of competitors.    
The cost to participate is 500 baht (12 euros/US$14) per event, with all fees going towards prizes that will be handed out at the end of the race season in September. Coming to Thailand and want to join a race? Please follow the public SUP Addict group on Facebook for updates.
Last modified onMonday, 11 March 2024 17:03

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