Sports stars on board for the Nautic Stand Up Paddle Paris Crossing

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

As the Nautic Paris Boat Show (8 to 16 December) gets underway at Porte de Versailles, an extraordinary line-up of champions will be competing on the Seine in the Nautic SUP Paris Crossing, from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to the Quai de Javel. The 200 available places were snapped up immediately and there is a growing waiting list.

At 8 am on Sunday, 9 December, 200 competitors will be on the starting line, raring to go. They'll make an impressive sight as they paddle along the Seine in the cold, their feet in the water.

Although some have entered the race with the sole aim of being among the winners, many have come just to participate in one of the most extraordinary events to pass through the heart of Paris's most famous sites. As they travel from the BNF to Notre Dame, Pont Neuf to the Gare d'Orsay, and Concorde to the Eiffel Tower, these athletes with a passion for unusual sports will pass under no fewer than 27 of the capital's 30 bridges.

With competitors from 15 countries, from Slovenia to New Caledonia, 32 women, 10 juniors, 64 professional racers (including the Naish team, one of the race's partners) and many amateur enthusiasts, the Stand Up Paddle Paris Crossing has become a key event in this new sport, in which anyone can take part.

Among the competitors are Eric Terrien, winner of this event for the last two years; Antoine Albeau, 20 times world windsurfing champion; Caroline Angibaud and Mathieu Babarit, world waveski champions; Julien Bontemps, twice windsurfing world champion and Olympic silver medalist; and skipper Sydney Gavignet from the world of sailing. The Naish team features Faustine Merret, Olympic gold medalist in Athens, and Casper Steinfath, the young Dane who finished third in the final of the SUP World Series in Hawaii. For the complete list of official riders of the Nautic SUP Paris Crossing, click on

Organising such a major event is a logistical feat in itself. The race requires a large fleet of support craft and special safety measures, provided through France's sea rescue organisation Sauveteurs en Mer (SNSM), one of the event's partners. Professional and amateur classifications and real-time tracking of competitors are being handled by MyGeolive and Microsoft, which will be showcasing its Windows Phone solutions at this exceptional event. Microsoft is also offering competitors the use its headquarters on the Seine to relax or warm up at the end of the first leg of the competition.

The second leg consists of a race against the clock in the Spot/MACIF pool on Sunday afternoon, 9 December, in the Nautic Surf Village, Hall 1, Porte de Versailles.

Géraldine Bonneau:

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 November 2012 )