The St. Ives Bay Celtic Cup, hosted by the Ocean Sports Centre, is a premier paddle event held over the first weekend of July on Carbis Bay, one of Cornwall’s finest Blue Flag Beaches. It is a national event giving competitors a chance at testing their metal across a number of events and disciplines in the open ocean off the notorious Cornish North Coast.
As the nation’s best paddlers descended on Carbis Bay, St. Ives, the weather served up Hawaiian like blue skies for what was later dubbed as the most exciting race of the year by media director Sarah Thornley of SUP Junkie. Over 70 smiling competitors struck out in conditions which could only be described as stunning.
“We really wanted to show case the coast of St. Ives, which is probably one of the most amazing stretches of coast in Europe and providing a media chase boat enabled phenomenal coverage” said Race director Glenn Eldridge and owner of Ocean Sports Centre “being out on the water with all of the competitors was fantastic and we were able to really get amongst the action streaming the whole event live over the 4G network”. Many of the athletes had never been to Carbis Bay beach or to St. Ives, and were almost evangelical in their praise “we have never seen water like this in the UK and the beach at Carbis is absolutely stunning” said Sarah.
The Celtic Cup is the only National event which brings together multiple Ocean Sports – “looking across the beach with all of the craft along with the massive six man outrigger canoes looked like scene straight from the beaches of Oahu in Hawaii and we were incredibly proud to support this unique event” – Stephen Baker of Carbis Bay Hotel.
Inclusion is the key said Glenn “the theme of the event was to enable people to access the ocean who would not normally do so, in a safe and friendly environment”; while some were soaking up the view and atmosphere in the 5km challenge event, the majority of the field were there to battle it out for national honours on the longer 13km distance course rounding Clodgy head.
While many experienced paddlers were relishing the ocean, for many, paddling in open water like this was a first and as always, safety was paramount “the logistics and safeguarding of over 70 people on the water at the same time is obviously important and took an inter-agency approach”, water safety was provided with the help of Hayle Surf Life Saving Club, along with collaboration between the National Coast Watch Institution on the Island, St. Ives Harbour Master, the RNLI, as well as two other water safety craft provided by the Ocean Sports Centre.