by April Zilg
The SUP Race Cup in St. Maxime was a really fun race in a beautiful setting. And, with limited ways to get to St. Maxime, it has a bit of a small town feel. Even then, the city is alive with European tourists, especially for the SUP Race Cup. As one of France’s largest events, it attracts plenty of paddlers from all over Europe (and the world!). You’re sure to get your fair share of competition no matter what level paddler you are. Plus, it’s fun to rub rails with some new faces!
On Saturday is the technical race, with plenty of sprinting and buoy turns, while Sunday is the long distance race that careens down the coastline around some rocky outcroppings amidst royal blue Mediterranean water. While prepping for the race on the beach, you’re sure to see a few familiar brands scattered in the sea of boards. Although, you’ll also probably be super intrigued by all of the variety that is different than at home.
Saturday’s race starts late enough in the afternoon that you have plenty of time to walk all of St. Maxime if you’d like. Then Sunday’s race is early; early enough for you to go pick up any last minute gifts from the shops you forgot the day before once you’ve finished racing. The gelato and crepes are not to be missed!!
SUP Race Cup
What you need to know:
- Registration, information, and help can be found on the EuroTourSup.com website. All the info for each race is usually there and in English even when you’re browser is having some issues translating everything.
- There are no close airports and no trains to St. Maxime. You will most likely need to hitch a ride with another racer or rent a car. On the plus side, the Lost Mills race isn’t a very far drive and you could stay through to that. Having the chance to see Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany on the road is reason enough to go!
- If you drive, be sure your accommodations include parking. Also, be sure to pack plenty of Euros for your drive in case you need to grab a snack or pay a toll.
- Boards are VERY difficult to find for rent. You’re most likely to find a 12’6” and you can try Double V. However, you’re better off entering the Inflatable category as of right now! There are “plans” to improve board rental capabilities, so check with the Euro Tour coordinators for information as early as 2017.
- If you are able to arrive with your board, be sure to rent a big enough car and purchase a set of soft racks at the very least. When you make your arrangements to sleep, be sure to also book a garage or a storage space to keep your boards, as fitting them into rooms or up small European stairwells is probably not going to work, and leaving them on your car could end in the worst of scenarios.
- The days are HOT. And the nights are COLD. Pack accordingly.
Where you need to eat:
- St. Maxime Café is the closest (if not the only) place open at 7am to grab breakfast and coffee the morning of the long race.
- The street vendor next to the race site making waffles and crepes is AMAZING and you should not walk by without eating some.
- When you’ve had your fill of pre-race pasta and French fare from about town, hop the ferry over to St. Tropez and get a glimpse of high society while dining on some international cuisine. Head off the main strip for affordable food, and don’t forget to eat a Tropezienne, a small desert that is native to the area.
Where to buy gear and supplies:
- Double V has SUP clothes, gear, and boards and is a 12 minute drive.
- Other vendors are available on site.
- There are two supermarkets within walking distance to the race beach, and they both carry plenty of snacks as well as easy to prep meals for those on a budget.
- This region of France is known for olive oil, sardines, and soap. Luckily, the gift shops can help you stock up on all three!
Alrighty! That’s all for week one! Check back for info for Lost Mills
FROM THE MULLET:
April had a great race and finished in the top 5. There is a great recap from SUPracer here: “EuroTour Week 3: Michael Booth Surges to Victory on Day 2 in St. Maxime; Baxter, Hönscheid Win Overall”