Stand Up Paddle surfing, more commonly known by it’s acronym; SUP, has hit European Surfing culture like the proverbial freight train. It has now become a staple part of any beach scene across the continent, and love it or hate it....its going nowhere.

2016 was a watershed year for the sport here in Europe with the inaugural EuroSUP games being held in Lacanau, France back in June. The event was a huge success and garnered a huge amount of attention for the fledgling sport. France dominated the event on home soil; taking wins in all disciplines, the race divisions dominated by Tito Puyo, Arthur Aratkin and Olivia Piana and Antoine Delpero taking the win in the surf. But can they repeat their dominance of 2016 in 2017?

The European surfing calendar will once again feature the EuroSUP games in 2017, this time held in Portugal over June 6th-11th in the famous surfing town of Peniche. Entry will surely grow since the success of Lacanau and competition will be at an all time high; the main titles will not be easy to come by. 

Other challengers to the French titles will no doubt emerge, one such candidate is the Channel Islands’ Aaron Rowe. The Channel Islands were not present at Lacanau so therefore Rowe wasn’t there to showcase his outrageous talent with a paddle. But if the Channel Islands do enter a team in 2017 then he will surely be the biggest threat to Delpero repeating his success this year. Especially with Delpero splitting his time between competing on the WSL longboard tour. 

The race divisions feature one of the world’s greatest paddlers in Denmark’s Casper Steinfath. Steinfath was 3rd in 2016 and will undoubtedly be seeking revenge in 2017. He was clearly disappointed with his showing in Lacanau and has all the credentials to take the crown in Peniche, but of course the French are a well oiled machine and will not let their medals slip out of grasp without a fight. However the success of Steinfath highlights the fact that SUP is bringing success in the European surfing community to countries which, historically, haven’t been successful in competing against the traditional powerhouses. There has never been so much of an equal spread of surfing talent across Europe as there is currently.

Of course Spain and Portugal will be looking to leap frog their old rival too. Spain finished 2nd in 2016 with Portugal 3rd. Portugal as a surfing nation will be on a high after their dominance of the Eurosurf Junior Games in Morocco in December, and the qualification of homegrown talent Frederico Morais to the WCT. But we will see.....competition will be fierce. 

EuroSUP will be held in Peniche, Portugal from the 6th-11th June, 2017. The event will be covered online and via the Eurosurf Facebook page. 

You’ve had quite an eventful year. How has it gone for you?

It’s been super hectic year for sure! Competitively....I couldn’t have had a better one winning the holy trinity (English, British and European Junior Champion)! It’s been sick to really try out a wide range of boards that are coming out from my shaper Skindog too. I definitely haven’t been bored in the water, put it that way!

How was Morocco for you? Other than the obvious....

Morocco was a hell of an experience! It was an honour to captain such a talented bunch of junior surfers from my country. I hadn’t properly met the crew before....I’d only seen them at a couple of contests what with the shortboarders and longboarders being separated... Waves wise, our trip started very slow but thankfully as the competition period lurked the waves switched on and I can’t recall scoring better waves for a contest. Was also nice to finally go to Morocco and surf something other than a beach because previously we got skunked for waves! We scored Anchors and Killers in the final few days of our trip which was incredible.

You cruised the earlier rounds of the competition, how were the nerves when Joao Gama dropped those high scores early in the final?

It was a super strange feeling. Knowing that you’ve got what it takes to top your rival’s scores, whilst also scared that the waves might not come your way! However the waves were pumping so I was just focussed on getting priority and hoping to get a long playful wall to deal with, and thankfully my patience played dividends. A 30 minute final and priority system definitely helped with the nerves though!

Longboarding has been by far the most successful division for English and Welsh surfers over the last decade, with Ben Skinner, Elliot Dudley and Sam Bleakley all taking wins at some point. Why do you think that is? Who influences you on the UK scene?

I think it comes down to 2 things. Firstly, the waves we get in the UK are often better suited to longboarding in my opinion. There are a lot more spots in this country that are better suited to riding a longboard rather than a shortboard. And secondly, the amount of shortboard talent coming out of other countries in Europe (France, Portugal, etc) is increasing rapidly, and that’s down to the waves they get, and also the financial support which then contributes to travelling and training. This makes it stiff competition for the UK shortboarders to compete against because we don’t get the same kind of backing as other European nations do. However with longboarding it is much more of an open playing field. The English guys who influence me are Skinner and James Parry, for the fact that they both shred and how they’ve shown the world how well a surfer from the UK can actually surf!

What do you think it’ll take for you to break the monopoly that the Delpero brothers and Ben Skinner have had over the open longboard divisions over the last few years?

Think maybe bringing something new to the scene, new moves, new tricks, that sort of thing. Also with rumours of a potential change of criteria that may be happening next year it opens up a whole new realm to approaching a wave on a longboard that is hidden from competitive surfing.

What are your plans for the upcoming year? Are you planning on getting around Europe to do the contests there?

Now I’m at Plymouth University, who have been really supportive, I have a lot more time to get around Europe and do the comps, so I’m going to take a shot at the WSL events this season and make a run for the WLT in China at the end of the year. My aim is to give it all a go riding a single fin, and me and my shaper Ben Skinner are working on something that could be the board of the future, so watch this space...

Who are you surfing and traveling with at the moment?

At home I’m just surfing with the normal lot - my dad, mates and a few of the local lot. I’m hoping to do the European leg with fellow Skindog rider Joe Hornbuckle, so will be sick to do the circuit with the tour with a teammate.

And finally who’s supporting you this year? You’ve got a free platform to give your sponsors a shout out.

I have had massive support from Skindog Surfboards, Gul Wetsuits and Plymouth University, and I definitely wouldn’t of made it to where I am today without these lot...

Thanks for your time Jack.

Cheers boys yewwww

With 2013 now well and truly behind us the WSF is looking forward to our most exciting year ever! 2014 promises to be something special as the WSF takes to the World Stage for the first time in its 40 year history

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