November 1, 2015, Corinth Canal, Greece – It was a successful fifth and final race of the 2015 Hellenic SUP Cup, held along the historic Corinth Canal in Isthmus, Greece. With all Naval traffic stopped for the duration of the race, 160 paddlers traversed along this narrow 6.34-meter long canal against heavy currents and wind for a dramatic finish. Contestants from all ages and countries traveled to the gulf for the big day, putting on outstanding athletic performances and proving that stand up paddling in Greece is growing every year. Naish, the main sponsor of the event, has a large presence in the Greek SUP community, with the majority of the paddlers at this event riding Naish’s most popular racing boards—including the Javelin Maliko LE, Javelin Carbon, Glide and the Naish One Inflatable.
The first of the Greek Hellenic Cup was in 2011 with only 24 paddlers. This year for the Fifth Annual Hellenic SUP Cup there was an astonishing 160 participants. Before the inception of this annual race, only a few SUP races had started popping up around Europe. The organizers took note of these races and dreamed of organizing a similar one in Hellas (Greece), as the Hellenic SUP community was just beginning. Many ideas for the location were thrown on the table, but the one that stood out was Isthmus—the famous canal that was created by tyrant Periandros in 7th century B.C. to help the naval traffic, and still does to this day.
The day before the big race, it was cloudy and cold with strong 25-30 knot winds. Organizers faced the hard decision of postponing or even cancelling the race. However, a hasty decision was not an option for them as more than 150 plus participants were already registered, not only from Greece, but other European countries. Despite the moody weather, and a lot of hesitation, the Coast Guard finally gave the organizers permission to hold the race.
The next obstacle was the canal’s current since the direction was changing every 6 hours the previous week. With the help of the experienced personnel of the Corinth and the organizers of the race, they managed to postpone the race for two hours—just enough time for the current to change and allow everyone to start the crossing. At 12:30pm, all paddlers lined up just before the Isthmia Bridge, struggling to keep their position among the strong wind and current.
The sound of paddles hitting the water covered the cheers from the crowd watching the race from the shore across the canal. After the first 500 meters the canal—in-between its 80-meter high vertical walls—it became incredibly quiet among the contestants. Only the heavy breathing from paddlers were heard as they trudged their way down the narrow corridor.
The wind was still strong above the canal making it turbulent inside. The paddlers had to adjust their technique and strategy to accommodate these variables while racing, but for many there was nothing they could do. Many ended up capsizing or paddling with no avail while trying to overcome the strong wall of wind blowing against of them.
Despite the challenging conditions, everyone kept their pace and fought their own battle to the finish line. Reigning champ, George Fragos (Naish), won both the race and the overall Hellenic SUP CUP 2015. Right behind Fragos were George Konstantis, Nikos Sirigos (Naish) and Alexandros Prapas—leading the pack all the way to the finish line on their 14-foot racing boards—placing in second, third, and fourth. In the women’s 14-foot division, Konstantina Kontarini (Naish) finished second place in the race and also won the overall Hellenic SUP Cup. Finishing the race with a bang were the two-incredibly resilient 8 and 10-year-old kids passing the finish line with cheers from the crowd and all the other competitors.
For the award ceremony of the 5th Hellenic SUP Cup 2015 and Corinth Canal SUP Crossing, winners from all categories were awarded. The four biggest prizes (winners of the Overall Men’s and Women’s 14’0” and 12’6” categories) were tickets to the Nautic Sup Paris Crossing on December 6th.
The organizers would like to thank every paddler who traveled across every corner of Greece (Parga, Larisa, Mykono, Kriti, Keflonia, Andros) and those from Cyprus, France, U.K. and Spain for participating and helping to raise the level of the Greek Sup scene, and establish it’s existence in Greek watersport culture.
JAVELIN MALIKO 14’0″ X26 LE
JAVELIN 12’6″ X26 CARBON
GLIDE 12’6” X30 GTW
ONE Inflatable 12’6’’
Results of H.S.C:
1st George Fragos (Naish)
2nd George Konstantis (Naish/Fanatic)
3rd Alexandros Prapas (Rogue)
1st Dimitris Apalagakis (JP)
2nd John Tountas (Naish)
3rd Marios Kritis (Naish/NSP)
1st Konstantina Kontarini (Naish)
2nd Ioanna Sirti (Naish)
3rd Virginia Ethnopoulou (Naish)
1st Miakaella Giasoumi (Bic)
2η Eva Bodziak (Naish)
3rd Poly Pilou (Naish)
1st Phedon Doukas (Naish)
2nd Iason Andronis (Naish)
3rd George Andreopoulos (Naish)
1st Ilias Kropik (Naish)
2nd George Giginis (Naish)
3rd Panagiotis Papanikolaou (Naish)
1st Vaggelis Avramidis (Naish)
2nd Alexandros Theoharis (Naish)
3ος Manos Mavrommatis (Naish)
More info at www.sups.gr
Social: #HellenicSUPcup #NaishSUP #StandUpPaddling #NaishJavelin
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