Thank you for participating in the Asia SUP Tour 2019 –Japan, organized by Asia SUP Tour and Sawarna, on 28 September at Fukuoka, Japan. With the local race MIZBERING Fukuoka City Cup and Japan Inflatable SUP Tour on the same day, more than 140 athletes were joining the event including athletes from Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and China.
The race location is at 天神中央公園貴賓館, which is the city centre of Fukuoka. You can access different restaurants, tourist attractions, bar and shopping malls within 10 minutes by walking.
The race venue itself is the river with flat water and a bit of current. Weather was perfect in the morning and afternoon, with the big sunshine and light breeze. Most of the local race categories were held in the morning, and Asia SUP Tour Categories were held in the afternoon, together with the local 6km and 3km race.
You can see the SUP population in Japan is big, as there were lots of people participating in the race and lots of audiences were watching the race and cheering from the bridge. For Kid Category, there were lots of kids with the age of 10-15 joining the fun. They played around in the pool with SUP after the race. Having fun is the most important philosophy for them.
Right before the Elite 6km started, the wind picked up, adding a bit of challenge to the race. There were lots of Japan SUP Starts joining the race this time. Rai Taguchi is one of them, and he is the first time joining Asia SUP Tour Race. At the first two laps, Rai and Kenny Kaneko from Japan were leading the pack, and they kept swapping the position to draft each other. After 6km battle, Rai took the lead at the last buoy turn and came to the finish line at 45mins 20 sec, followed by Kenny at 45mins 44sec and Ryohei Yoshida from Japan (two time champion for AST race) at 46mins 20sec.
For Elite Women, Yu Tachibana from Japan, a 13-year-old girl took a champion again after taking 3 champions in the last 3 stops. It wasn’t easy to catch up with her as her paddle strokes were clean and smooth. 2nd place and 3rd place are Sachiko Teruyama from Japan and Jo-Chi Lee from Taiwan.
For Asian Junior Category (3km), we got lots of new faces from Japan. Yet, It didn’t affect the result much. Asuka Kawashima from Japan got his 4th-time champion in Junior Boys with around 3 minutes lead on Thomas Luk from China who had performed well in the flat water race. For Junior Girl, Hyoyu Yang from Korea won the champion for the race, followed by Jade Jim from HK and Milly from China. Jade said she was very happy to be in 2nd place for 3km, it was good to race with racers with similar level from different countries, as she can push herself to perform better every time.
Unfortunately, the weather turns bad during the 200m heats; the 200m sprint races were forced to cancel due to the lightning and thunder. Race organizer can only use the result at distance race to calculate the overall winners in AST Japan.
After all the hard work and battles, it came to the prize ceremony for both AST-Japan stop and Annual Overall Winners. It wasn’t an easy task to get on the podium, as you have to race with the top paddlers in each Asian regions. Keep your passion and insist on training to get progress and excellent performance. Congratulations to all the winners again and to all the participants.
This great event ended with an after-party, it was a lovely party with Japanese style food, music, drinks and good vibes. Thank you for the hospitality from Japan.
Last but not least, great thanks to all the sponsors, race organizers, staff and supporters to make Asia SUP Tour 2019 truly happened in Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan! Let’s help growing SUP Sport in Asia and enlarge our SUP family!!!
See you all next year, Asia SUP Tour 2020!!!