Sunday, December 6, 2015, Paris, France — This year marked the 6th anniversary of the Nautic SUP Paris Crossing and Casper Steinfath came back once again to dominate, placing second overall among a huge field of contestants on his Naish Javelin 12’6” X24 Carbon. The race was a huge success with warmer weather than years before and a light breeze for pleasant paddling.
It is amazing to see how much this event has grown since it started back in 2010. The first event saw only 100 paddlers who braved the winter weather and paddled where no one had paddled before. Every year since, the field of participants has expanded—eventually becoming the biggest SUP race in the world. Naish is a proud sponsor of this highly sought-after event, which provides paddlers of all levels the unique opportunity to race through the heart of Paris on the Seine River. This is the only day out of the year that allows riders to paddle on the Seine and the 500 entries sold out in just 27 minutes!
Professional SUP paddlers, like Casper Steinfath, attend the Nautic SUP Paris Crossing at the end of their racing season in addition to the many N1SCO participants on the European circuit. N1SCO stands for “Naish International SUP Class Organization” which is a Naish ONE-design racing class in which all riders compete exclusively on the ONE 12’6” inflatable racing board. Additionally, Naish offers all Nautic SUP Paris Crossing contestants the opportunity to rent the ever-popular Naish ONE for the contest and this year saw over 50 competitors on the ONE, making this the most represented board in the contest. Each N1SCO contestant’s results from the main contest also went towards their overall N1SCO ranking.
We caught up with Team Naish rider, Casper Steinfath, who attended the event to get a little insight of what it’s like SUP-racing in this exciting event. Casper explains: “It was a really special experience to be on the starting line Sunday morning at 8 a.m. next to over 500 other paddlers. It was cold and dark, but to be in the company of such great paddlers from around the world definitely brought a big, warm smile to my face. It was one of the most amazing atmospheres I have ever experienced before, during and after the race. In memory of the tragic attacks in Paris on December 13, they held a 1-minute moment of silence before the race briefing. In that moment I really felt part of a big family that cares and looks out for each other.”
The race went very well for Casper, who crossed the finish line in second place against a full arena of international paddlers. Frenchman Titouan Puyo and Casper broke away from the pack within just minutes after the start of the 15 km distance race. Casper recounts how he and Titouan maintained their lead: “We had our work cut out for us with a strong chase pack putting all on the line to catch us. We did everything we could to hold them at bay. We took turns leading and drafting each other, so we could keep a high pace and still rest a little bit. As we rounded the Eiffel Tower and saw the finish line 2 km ahead we realized that the pursuers could no longer catch us. From here it became a really tough sprint between Titouan and I down the rest of the Seine River. I gave it everything I had. We went side-by-side, blow-for-blow all the way to the end. I pushed as hard as I could and could feel my body about to explode, but unfortunately I didn’t have the juice the last 100 meters and ended up crossing the line in second place.”
In the end, the 2015 Nautic SUP Crossing was a huge success. Congratulations to Matthieu Le Vaillant who placed first in the Naish ONE Class as well as placing third in the Leisure Class—a class of 370 people. Huge congratulations to Casper Steinfath who took second in the Pro Class of 90 contestants. After the event, Casper reflected on how everything had played out: “I felt really happy with my race and feel that my training over the last season really is starting to pay off. After gaining my breath again and looking around, it struck me how lucky I am to be living my passion here and now. I am super thankful for all the special experiences and friendships SUP has given me. I can’t wait to see what is in store for next season and give it my all. Thank you Paris and see you next year!”
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