After a tremendously successful inaugural season in 2011/12, SUP VIC and Surfing Victoria are delighted to announce the return of the Victorian Flat Water SUP Championship Series. This Summer, the series expands to 7 events (up from 5 last season) and extends the geographic spread from Melbourne bayside beaches down to the Mornington Peninsula and all the way to Barwon Heads on the surf coast. In addition to traditional event promoters RPS, SHQ, SUP HQ and The ZU, this season, we welcome Outlaw Paddling, Peninsula Stand Up Paddle and SUP Australia to the program. Following thorough consultation with race promoters, sponsors and competitors, we have established all new race formats, distances, divisions and age categories with the aim to encourage participation in SUP racing at all levels, and to develop the standard of racing across the state.

DISTANCE RACE

This season, we intend to stage two separate races at each event – a Distance Race and a Sprint Race. Additionally, individual promoters will run their own selection of competitive and novelty race events and activities. Distance Races will vary from 5km up to 12km, and will be staged as point-to-point, single circuit or multiple lap races depending upon location and conditions. Additionally, each Distance Race will incorporate a concurrent social or half distance race to cater for novice and intermediate paddlers who do not wish to do the full distance.

DIVISIONS & CLASSES

We will also be establishing new age divisions and board classes for the Distance races based on national standards, but also taking account of local requirements so as to encourage as many people to participate as possible. These are to be our championship Distance race categories: Men’s Open (14′ maximum board length) Men’s Masters (Over 40 Men’s) * (14′ maximum board length) Men’s Seniors (Over 50 Men’s) * (14′ maximum board length) Women’s Open (12’6″ maximum board length) Women’s Masters (Over 40) * (12’6″ maximum board length) Junior Boys * (12’6″ maximum board length) Junior Girls * (12’6″ maximum board length) * Age categories will be established as of January 1st 2013 – to compete in Over 50 in any race all Summer, you must be 50 years or older on 1st January. To compete in Junior categories, you must be 17 or younger on 1st January.

NON-CHAMPIONSHIP & SOCIAL DIVISIONS

In addition to the above listed championship categories, we will be encouraging race promoters to acknowledge and recognise the following non-championship social race divisions: Men’s Unlimited board length (over 14′) Women’s Unlimited board length (over 14′) Women’s 14′ Men’s 12’6″ Men’s 11’6″ and under (non-race type) Women’s 11’6″ and under (non-race type) These divisions will NOT be broken down into age categories and as mentioned, points will not be awarded towards a series championship. They will simply be recognized on the day by Race Event Organisers. Like last season, we intend to post all results online from first to last within hours of the completion of the Distance Race courtesy of the Blast Race Management system.

SPRINT RACE

As mentioned, each event will also include a second “Sprint” race. This is quite distinct and separate from the Distance race and the incorporated half distance or social race. We propose the Sprint race to be 200 metres, 500 metres or 1km depending on local conditions, and in a straight line, no buoy turns. This is in line with an emerging international format of sprint racing on flat water courses, which we feel may offer the best pathway for Victorians to compete and win nationally due to our geographic advantages with local facilities and waterways. The Sprint race results will only be recorded as first, second and third in both Men and Women, no age categories, no board length divisions – it will be kept very simple so as not to burden the Race Director or marshals. We will not be posting results of the entire field for this race format, just top 3 Men and Women.

ACCUMULATING POINTS

The points system is taken from a Surfing Victoria model in which all competitors who complete an event score points. The schedule for the Summer provides a relatively good spread of dates, once again allowing for maximum participation. However we understand that not everyone can make it to each event. As a consequence, the championship points tally will only factor in each competitor’s 5 best race results across the series, meaning that it’s possible to skip 2 events without sacrificing point scoring opportunities.

THE RACES

These are the dates for the events comprising the 2012/13 Victorian Flat Water SUP Championship Series: Rd 1: The Spirit to the ZU – Saturday 17th November 2012 Rd 2: The Great Melbourne Paddle – Sunday 2nd December 2012 Rd 3: RPS HMB Blast – Sunday 16th December 2012 Rd 4: SUPA Victorian Open – Saturday / Sunday 19th/20th January 2013 Rd 5: SUPHQ Port Phillip Cup – Saturday 26th January 2013 Rd 6: SHQ Cruise to Cerberus – Sunday 10th February 2013 Rd 7: Outlaw Paddling Battle of Barwon Heads – Sunday 17th February 2013 Closing out the season will be the Surfing Victoria SUP State Titles on Saturday/Sunday March 2nd and 3rd 2013, incorporating SUP Surfing, Open Ocean Marathon, and Technical or BOP style racing. The state titles will be run independently of the Flat Water Championship Series, but are traditionally regarded as the Grand Final of SUP competition and the pathway to nationals and the ISA world championships.

REGISTRATION

Also this year, in line with the majority of other sporting events, all participants who wish to have their race result and points recorded towards the Flat Water Series, must register IN ADVANCE, with an ON-LINE pre-registration system. Anyone who turns up on race day without having pre-registered may race, but will not be eligible to have their result recorded or score points. Participants must pre-register online, and then pay on the day and sign any required documents. The reason is to ensure that everyone is in the Blast race management system prior to the event. If weather or other unforeseen circumstances on the day prevent you from turning up, or the race is cancelled, there is no penalty, and nothing is lost. Whilst we acknowledge this is something new for the sport, experience in the 2011-12 series has shown that having to register and enter people on race day with the resources and personnel available is just not possible. – Paul Harrington & Tim Patterson,   Flat Water Series Directors For more information, contact SUP VIC: info@supvic.com        

SUP VIC & The Victorian Flat Water SUP Championship Series use the BLAST Race Management System, and gratefully acknowledge their support.