Set yourself a paddle challenge – TheSUPco.com Hayling Island Challenge
Looking for a paddling challenge in 2019, then there is no better than the TheSUPco.com Hayling Island Challenge. With both a 9 mile course, the ‘Red Paddle Co Challenge’ and a 14 mile circumnavigation of Hayling Island the ‘Starboard All The Way’ on offer, this event is open to a number of wide ranging craft from Stand Up Paddleboards, Windsurfers, Surf Ski’s and Outrigger Canoes.
Taking place on Saturday 14th September 2019, this will be the 5th Edition of TheSUPco.com Hayling Island Challenge. If you are looking to set yourself a challenge of completing either, set a new personal best or simply go head to with the best in the UK; then book your place online here –
To get some insight and tips on how best to complete the longest and most challenging course, the 14 mile circumnavigation called ‘The Starboard All The Way’, we caught up with The SUP Company team rider, Chris Rashley. If you have been following Chris’s Stand Up Paddleboarding exploits you will know that in an extremely short period of time he has risen to the top of the UK paddling ranks. As a professional sailor and Team GB athlete, Chris put all of his waterborne experience to good use in 2018’s TheSUPco.com Hayling Island Challenge which resulted in a solid 3rd place finish very close behind the UK’s number 1 female, Marie Buchannan who finished 2nd and event record holder Paul Simmons who finished 1st for the 4th year running.
Here is what Chris had to share…
What you need to know to about the ‘Starboard All The Way’…
• Stand Up Paddleboards must be of at least 12’6” ft in length and no longer than 14’0” ft (Boards of any size can enter the ‘Red Paddle Co Challenge’ which is over a 9 mile course.
• The ‘Starboard All The Way’ circumnavigation of the island, is approximately 21.5km. The ‘Red Paddle Co Challenge’, which covers only the more sheltered part of the island, is around 15km.
• How may strokes? Approximately 7500-8500 for the ‘Starboard All The Way’
• How long is it going to take complete the ‘Starboard All The Way’? Approximately 2.5 -3.5 hours depending on the conditions.
How should you prepare for the challenge?
Paddling 15km on flat water and very little wind is a challenge in itself, so paddling 21.5km in wind, tide and East Solent swell and side chop is going to test you both mentally and physically. I would not advise racing underprepared or complacent. The TheSUPco.com Challenge is a tough event but also a very rewarding one.
Physical training is going to be an important part of this challenge and whether you choose to go it alone or use an expert to set you a training program, such as Michael Booth or the guys and girls at Paddle Monster. You should be thinking about making the gains you have made in your personal paddling this summer and adding in longer paddles which see you getting closer and closer to race distance.
Having a race day nutrition plan is important and it should not differ massively from someone completing a marathon run. There is plenty of information online recommending how you should feed in the weeks, days, hours before the event, and during the challenge itself. My general rule of thumb is to drink a mix of electrolyte and water regularly (last year I mixed 2.5L and ran out 2k from the finish) using a hydration pack, and to eat every hour regardless of whether this costs you time and distance in the short term. I usually start with something like a flapjack for the first hour and move towards gels in the final stages. Having a nutrition plan in place prior to this challenge will be of major benefit when it comes to your finish time.
Navigating the Starboard All The Way…
• The start line is between a post on the Hayling Island Sailing Club House and a green channel buoy which is used as an outer distance mark.
• You will start the race on a flood tide (coming in to Chichester Harbour) with high tide being 11.46am on the day. If the race starts before around 10.45am it will pay to start on the outer distance mark located around 200m east of the club (the water is at its deepest in the channel between the green and red buoys).
• Staying out in the channel, paddling NNW up to at least ‘Gutner Point Nature Reserve’, should be beneficial because of the flood tide.
• Once you pass the nature reserve the tide will start to become slack, so taking the shortest distance around the north east side of the island should then be favoured. Pay particular attention to the buoys, posts and the direction the moored yachts are facing to see if the tide is still with you, or now against, when passing ‘Northney Marina’.
• The next distinctive land mark you will face is the bridge south west of Langstone Sailing Club. Again, pay particular attention to what direction the flow is now, as this will tell you to either stay in the deep water channel or to keep left and follow the island shore.
• The next land mark is ‘West Hayling Nature Reserve’ on the left shortly after the bridge. You are now aiming for the spit which is on the south west side of the island, marked as ‘Passenger Ferry to Portsmouth’ on the map. Given that the tide should now be ebbing (exiting Langstone Harbour) it should be just a straight route from the nature reserve to the spit.
• Once you exit Langstone Harbour, it’s a drag race (hopefully downwind) for around 6k to the spit on the south east side of the island at ‘Sandy Point Nature Reserve’. Given the tide will now be ebbing (exiting Chichester Harbour) at maximum strength, it will pay to stay as close to the shore as possible around the spit and all the way north, passing the “Lifeboat Station” towards the finish line at Hayling Island Sailing Club.
• Cross the line and finish on the beach to applause and by this point a very welcome drink from The SUP Company. Then make your way to the
Good luck and see you on the start line!
The Sup Company SUP Team Paddler