‘Water sports challenge will put Sidmouth on the map’

PUBLISHED: 16:30 21 April 2017

Ocean ski competitors taking to the water. Photo by Gordon Dryburgh

Ocean ski competitors taking to the water. Photo by Gordon Dryburgh

© Gordon Dryburgh 2016

Competitors of all ages and abilities will be battling the ocean – and each other – in races in Sidmouth this June.

Sidmouth Surf Lifesaving Club (SSLC) is organising the Longest Day Ocean Challenge, which promises to be a spectacle for onlookers.

The club’s first large-scale water sports event will bring together some of the best junior and senior athletes in the South West to navigate various distances along the Jurassic Coast by board, ocean surf ski and stand-up paddleboard.

SSLC chairman Dave Manley said: “The idea of the event is to raise the profile of Sidmouth as a water sports location.

“Working with other East Devon organisations such as Sidmouth Lifeboat and the Exmouth Beach Rescue Club, as well as national organisations including the RNLI and Surf Lifesaving GB, our aim is for this to be an annual and growing event supporting tourism businesses in the town.

“We are particularly thankful again to the Sid Vale Association (SVA) and Keith Owen Fund who are helping us to get this new event off the ground – and out to sea!

“Their backing has been instrumental in the club’s continued growth and popularity.”

Dave hopes up to 200 paddlers will take to the water on Sunday, June 25, for the events between noon and 4pm.

Races will include:

• A youth board series for eight to 18-year-olds that will build on a trial event last year;

• Ocean surf racing ski – a three-leg 5km team event and individual races;

• Ocean stand-up paddleboard – a three-leg 5km team event, individual races and a one-leg 5km first time fun event;

An SVA spokesman said: “The SVA, through the Keith Owen Fund, is delighted to support this fantastic event.

“We are always looking for opportunities to support projects that enhance the quality of lives in the valley, and the Longest Day Ocean Challenge is a great example of this.

“It will surely be much enjoyed by the many participants and spectators drawn to the seafront on the day.”

To learn more about the Keith Owen Fund, go to www.sidvaleassociation.org.uk.

To enter the races, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk.

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