All photos: Planet River, Rob Wilson
Text by Simon Brucz
For information for 2015: see bottom of the page.
In September 2014 defending champions and hungry first timers competed in Danish White Water Games to make their mark in hope for some medals. Due to lack of white water rivers in Denmark, the championship races took place in Lissfors, Sweden, on a river that actually showed a higher water level than expected.
The race course is approximately 300 meter beginning with a quiet stretch of water, instantly followed by the steepest rapid on the course, with some relatively big eddies on both sides. After a second stretch of quiet moving water, a section of high waves followed by a tricky drop leads the competitors to the last part of the course. That is, a section where competitors need to maneuver around massive rocks and wave trains before the finish line. In total, a race course with strong currents drops and waves to challenge the competitors to their fullest.
Throughout two days of intense competition the white water SUP athletes competed in three disciplines; 1) SUP sprint, 2) SUP slalom and 3) SUP cross respectively, with the latter giving more points for a win, than the first.
The athletes were pumped from the start, and it was clear that this year’s level of challenge would be higher than last years – an example of just how fast this sport is evolving!
During SUP sprint most athletes showed a steady balance and a fast stroke in the first part of the course. The tricky drop midway turned out to be challenging, since only a handful completed it without dumping head first. The technique of putting one knee to the board through the fall was a technical component many of the competitors adapted to later in the competition to avoid losing valuable time resulting from wipeouts.
SUP slalom was a test of balance, since many of the gates were placed in an eddy directly after a rapid. This requires a fast shift from one side of the board to another throughout a drop. Needless to say, it resulted in several goofy wipeouts and never before seen maneuvers trying to avoid plumping in the ice-cold river. Spectators were surely entertained and impressed when the leading athletes would produce a spectacular move, showing a supreme river knowledge and set of SUP skills.
Something that separated the winners from the losers in the SUP Cross discipline, was a mass start of five competitors and a section of 3 gates to qualify for the final heat. The adrenaline was pumping and the intensity was high in both the women and men’s heat. After several wipeouts fighting for the sweet spot on the river, the women’s final heat consisted of Pernille Soegaard, Ida Bendtsen and Ditte Soerensen. Ditte Soerensen got the upper hand and finished with a win.
A hard fight through the men heats was putting Ben Jackson, Simon Brucz, Casper Mortensen, Jeppe Bach and Anders Fisker in the finale.
Ben Jackson took the lead, and had the coolness to keep the lead until crossing the finish line, unnoticed of the rest of the group fighting to come in as second.
After some fun days of paddling, competing and sharing good times and stories, the overall score from the three disciplines was announced and the winners of the Danish White Water Games 2014 SUP race was:
1. Ditte Soerensen (588 point)
2. Ida Bendtsen (540 point)
3. Pernille Soegaard (79 point)
1. Ben Jackson (588 point)
2. Simon Brucz (474 point)
3. Casper Mortensen (464 point)
Danish Surfing & Rafting Federation was proud of the event and thanks the sponsors of JP supplying some world class standard equipment.
Danish White Water Games – 2015:
Clinics : 14.-17. September for White-Water-SUP, Kayak, Rafting, Riverboard
Danish White Water Games: 18.-20. September
Location: The Games and Clinics will be held in a city called Sjoa, Norway.
More information : www.dsrf.dk