John Hibbard’s Insider Info on the UK SUP Racing Scene

John Hibbard Starboard Rider

Starboard Team Rider

I’ll tell you more about what’s going on in the UK SUP race scene in a second, let me tell you a little bit about John first. He “didn’t quite care for paddleboarding” at first, but Svein Rasmussen the founder of Starboard got him on a  10’0″-34″ super stable board like the Whopper Club. Now, John Hibbard rides with the best in the sport and has been riding with Starboard for a long time.

John is a legend in his own right, heading up the largest paddleboard community website in all of the UK and arguably Europe. If your based out of the UK check out his site for info on races at

psst….John knows paddles. Straight up. John knows paddles.  He gave me what amounts to 3 golden rules for picking the right paddle to get your winning stroke down; this will help everyone on a paddleboard from beginners to pro’s you can check out that article at the Starboard Blog next week.

double psst….win a race board?>>>The feedback we got from our survey was awesome!
We are giving away two paddleboards from our 2011 quiver for survey respondants
so you just doubled your chances of winning

So back to the Insider Info on the UK SUP race scene, here’s a quote from John that sums

up this step in the evolution of paddle board athletes extremely well.

Note: If you read one piece of article today about stand up paddle boarding let it be this one

Everyone is coming in now, everyone wants a piece, everyone wants to be the first and the fastest. We are pulling in people from every sports industry, SUP is an everyman, woman, and child sport. Challenges from distance sports like rowers, triathletes, physically and mentally strong and it will be interesting to see how those guys get involved and push our level up. Full on athletes its awesome for the sports and everyone can learn from each other and  help everybody else step up.

A lot of paddle board pro riders are fine riding side or trimming its second nature, rough weather we’ll still beat  a rower with out too much problem. But in ideal conditions or artificial environments like swimming pools on mile 27 that’s where that mental attitude of a seasoned athlete disciplined in rowing can get ultra competitive.

There is more to be said about winning than just muscle and mental when you are in an increasingly more competitive sports climate it comes down to gear.  Boards engineered with racers in mind and steady feedback from a team of 30 beta testers known as the Starboard Paddle Board Pro Team that are out there winning races on our 2011 quiver of race boards and competing with the top athletes. We’ve engineered in some innovative technologies that will keep you competitive from your first race to your last.

Check out what John had to say about them;

The “original paddle boarder” is going to have to start learning how to train like an Olympian and it’s going to be a very interesting time coming in 2011. Just take a look at the initial uptake of new faces onto the race scene.

Starboard’s racing paddle boards are definitely design for speed: You guys have the development duo of Brian Szymanski and Ernst Johnson and the power of those racing shapes. Their new shapes have come through with the surf and race class and brought racing to another level.

Brushed carbon boards that are lighter and stiffer than other boards out there. Any advancement you’re going to get is in those boards (the 2011 raceboards.) At such a high level and at a such a competitive level even gaining a couple of feet can mean winning by a couple of feet. 12’6 and 12’6 plus has been an amazing shape and width.

The 12’6 is progressive and maneuverable, you don’t worry about falling in on a choppy day and the balance…the balance is nice and stable.


Parting is such sweet sorrow!


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-Benton Jones

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