On a cold and dark morning in Paris in December I joined 399 other paddlers on the Seine for the SUP Nautic Paris Crossing.
With 400 paddlers the water at the start was like a washing machine and continued for around 3km. My Black Project Maliko fin kept me stable and tracking straight when the choppiness of the water really wanted to throw me off to the side.
I could see a female ahead and I was closing in. My friend Alan Fernandes was slightly ahead and I thought if I could get to him hopefully I could rest in his draft and regain some strength to get to the girl in 1st place. Then the worst happened a rib came flying past me and knocked me off the board, I got back on quickly but the rib had turned and was now passing me again at speed, I was now in the water for a second time. Again I got back to my feet when my worst nightmare happened, I was paddling close to the bank as we were now paddling against the flow and the back wash off the wall put me in again. This time my board ended upside down, with the fin in the air. As quick as I could I got the board the correct way in the water and jumped on, I started paddling and everything felt sluggish, I looked down and I saw my leash was wrapped round the board. Time to stop again.
With everything ok again I started paddling and noticed 2 girls had gone passed me whilst I was swimming. I had to sprint to get to the back of them and I really wanted to sit in their draft and have a rest but knew if I did that I would struggle to break away later. I decided to paddle wide of them so they could not tag onto my tail and paddle past them. It took a lot to pass them and create a gap between us.
Due to them being so close I could not rest up and had to push so hard for the remainder of the race. 1km from the finish I felt fatigue kicking in and the lactate was really burning. I knew I was slowing and we now had some head wind. I managed to get onto the back of a train but I just did not have the strength left to stay on it. Thankfully as the finish line got closer I could see the girl behind was also getting tired and I had one last push to cross the finish line in 2ndplace in the Pro Class.
It was a tough one and I was glad it was over.