Isle hits largest SUP Race in the Midwest the TC Waterman
Our Favorite Isle Ambassadors and newlyweds Stephanie and Matt just received their new 12’6 Isle Race Paddle Boards and were eager to put them to the test in the region’s largest sup event. Both are great paddlers and had an amazing result with a combined 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finish in separate events at the race. Congrats guys and glad you are loving the new fast racer! Below is a guest post and some photos written by Stephanie all about the event! Enjoy
TC Waterman SUP Race: The Largest SUP event in the Midwest
The TC Waterman SUP and Surfski race is an incredible event (largest SUP event in the Midwest www.tcwaterman.com, www.tcsurfski.com) I look forward to each summer. It’s one of the last SUP races of the season here in Michigan and brings out the best Midwest competitors to compete on what I think is one of the most amazing lakes in the world: Lake Michigan. To be specific, the race is held on Traverse City’s West Bay, an inlet of Lake Michigan. In its third year, the race has grown tremendously as SUP popularity has overall so the event was packed and so much fun.
In previous years, I had raced on my Isle Gilder in the SUP surfboard/recreational division which was great but this year, I wanted to try something new so upgraded my board to the Isle 12 6″ race board and am so happy I did! My husband Matt also upgraded to the same board after borrowing friends’ boards in past years. Being that I would be racing in the next division up, I was pretty nervous since I didn’t know what to expect and I had only had about a month’s worth of paddling on my new board.
Finish Strong in the 3.5 Mile
The first event we competed in was the 3.5 mile course race. Knowing that there would be a mass start of 120 racers on a small beach, Matt tried to get out front as fast as he could and I took the opposite approach of hanging back a few seconds until the lead guys battled the start out. Matt fell off his board three times at the start! He was super bummed but made up for it later. The Isle race board is narrower and tipper than other boards but pays off by being super-fast and turns on a dime. I love the combination, it just takes a little getting used to especially in the chop created from a pack of racers starting together.
Once we were out of the start and around the first buoy, the race spread out but no one was ever alone, every turn had a pile of 3 or more boards turning together so it was exciting and technical! I definitely should practice my turns more! As far as I could see in the last lap, I had one woman ahead of me, Mary Radtke, local BlkBox rider. Mary is a killer racer, and definitely an inspiration so I had fun keeping an eye on her from a few minutes back.
Post finishing, Matt and I caught up together – being accustomed to riding a 14′ board, he kept thinking he got smoked but as it turned out, he placed first in the 18-39 age groups for the 12′ 6″ division and 3rd overall for the 12′ 6″ division! He had been trying to keep up with the 14′ boards the whole time so pushed hard! I placed first in my age group, 18-39, 12′ 6″ and 2nd overall for women and was pretty excited as I had no clue beforehand how I would do before the race. I have to mention that the Women’s SUP Night ladies had some incredible finishes and podiums too (Brooke, Ali, Jala, Velvet, Amie, Liz, Mimi, Casey, Julie, Kristen)!
Pushing the Race Board in the 100m sprints
Following the 3.5 event, Matt and I both competed in the 100m sprints. This was the first time I had seen this type of event – it was very competitive and fun to spectate too! There was a qualifying round first then racers paired up in brackets and battled it out until it was down to the finalists. Matt placed 3rd for men and I placed 3rd for women. Although we didn’t use our boards (everyone uses the same board, boards were beautiful, locally made, all wood 12′ 6″ ‘s), we did use our Isle Pro paddles which felt good! In sprints, shorter paddles are better so Matt used mine. I didn’t modify my grip but I saw some doing this and think I’d try it next time!
Until Next Year
Already looking forward to next year and happy we had a chance to get together with many of the paddlers and friends we only see once a year at this event. The whole thing was a blast and we’re thankful to have it right here in our home town. If you are in the Great Lakes area next August, I recommend checking this event out!
Matt- 1st place 12′ 6″, men’s age 18-39, 3.5 mile event
Matt – 3rd place overall men’s 100m sprint
Steph – 1st place 12′ 6″, women’s age 18-39 3.5 mile event (online results might show a girl named Brenda beating me but that is an error)
Steph – 2nd place overall 12′ 6″ women’s 3.5 mile event
Steph – 3rd place overall women’s 100m sprints