August 28, 2016, Ham Tin Beach, Hong Kong – Kai Lenny and Casper Steinfath round out podium, with Bernd Roediger in a solid fourth place, at the 2nd Annual Hong Kong International SUP Championship at Ham Tin Beach in Sai Kung Country Park, Hong Kong.
Battling over a 21-kilometer course, racers had to endure upwind, side wind, and down wind conditions. The weather was so brutal, that only five of the fifteen man elite class were able to finish in the allotted time.
Lenny, Steinfath, and Roediger were able to push through the challenging conditions and finish 2nd, 3rd and 4th on their 14’0” Naish Malikos. Said Steinfath about the race: “What should have been a nice flat water course turned into the ultimate sidewind race as the conditions changed. The wind made it really tricky to race, but my Maliko 14’0″ X24 handled the side swell smoothly and despite the constant bumping on one side.”
Lenny, who for 2016 has won the Molokai2Oahu and most recently the SEAPaddle NYC, described the race as being one of the most challenging events he’s competed in this year. “The race yesterday was one of the more brutal paddles I have done in a long time. 14 miles of side wind always on the left or right sides, and strong unrelenting currents.” Said Lenny in a statement on Instagram.
Although SUP is a relatively new sport to the area, it is a growing community as Hong Kong has a strong tradition in paddle sports with Dragon Boat racing. Friday before the weekend races the Naish team took on the Hong Kong firefighters club in an exhibition race, which Lenny was able to beat the 20-man team in a short course sprint. With events like this Hong Kong is sure to be an emerging location for SUP events in the future. Steinfath added “The setting for the race has got to be one of the most beautiful and remote I have ever experienced anywhere in the world! Hong Kong and China are have the setups to be SUP hotspots in the future and I believe that very soon we will be seeing the “SUP virus” spread even more to this region. I had too much fun here with my team mates and Naish manager Michi Schweiger – I definitely can’t wait to come back.”
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