First ever Dragon World Championships
Marking the start of the first ever dedicated TEAM SUP Dragon World Championships, the 28th October 2017 will forever remain a momentous occasion in paddle boarding history.
Teams of four qualified for the inaugural Championships by racing on the world’s first inflatable 22ft race board, ‘The Red Dragon’ during one of the sixty Dragon World Series events that swept across the globe throughout the 2017 season. Designed by the world’s leading inflatable paddle board brand Red Paddle Co, the board derives its stiffness from MSL Fusion technology and despite the Red Dragon’s size length, it simply rolls up into a bag that is small enough to be checked onto a plane.
Hosted in the turquoise waters of Carlisle bay, Barbados, teams congregated from all over the world representing almost every level of the paddle boarding spectrum. From experienced teams who have spent the season training, racing and competing, to those making their first racing debut. No matter what their ability or background, these are the brave warriors who will forever be able to claim that they were there at the dawn of a new age in SUP.
“This is just the beginning” says Red Paddle Co Brand Communications Manager, George Shillito “The Red Dragon has forged the way for a completely new paddling discipline. Nothing compares to the camaraderie, excitement and rush of racing or watching the Dragon World Championships and this event has set the bar for every Dragon race to come!”
After two days of non-stop racing, during which the teams undertook three separate challenges including a 9km downwind race and an obstacle race, the stage was set for the final battle from which just one team would emerge victorious and in doing so, be crowned the first ever Dragon World Champions.
As the midday sun grew hot in the sky and the water turned an unimaginable shade of turquoise, just six teams lined up for one final time in the competitors starting area. Between them and world champion status was just over 5 minutes of unrelenting, arm burning, adrenaline fuelled racing.
Rounding the first buoy it was team ‘Paddle Barbados’ (Barbados) who emerged in front, closely followed by the RED SUP Ladies (New York) and Team Pacific (Russia) less than half a board length behind. Whist the trailing teams dug deep into their energy stores to power themselves forward and close the gap now starting to emerge. All six teams rounded the inside hammer turn and combatted the breaking surf, but it was the unrelenting power from Paddle Barbados that saw the team begin to accelerate from the following pack, putting just two board lengths between them and the RED SUP Ladies and sprinting through the finish.
As the dust started to settle, teams reflected on the days racing and there was an almost sombre mood as the prize giving marked the end of the most incredible three days, during which friendships have been forged, memories have been made and the first ever Dragon World Champions have been crowned.