While America and half the paddling world are counting down to the big Payette River Games next week, Europe is counting down to its own premier race: Germany’s The Lost Mills.
The Lost Mills, which signals week #6 of the 2014 Euro Tour, has established itself as the most competitive race in Europe and looks set to further cement that position this year. The lineup of paddlers that’ll be in Bavaria from June 19th-21st is nothing short of formidable.
Danny Ching will be making his Euro Tour debut at this year’s Lost Mills. The 404 front man has never competed in a SUP race in Europe but will be flying in just for the Lost Mills event this year. He’ll be joined by Connor Baxter and another guy I seriously rate as one of the world’s best: Georges Cronsteadt from Tahiti.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg… Consider these big names:
Bart de Zwart
Then throw in another dozen or so rising stars from Europe and you’ve suddenly got a very solid field racing for glory in the main event, the 17km “Lost Mills International” long distance race on Saturday 21st June.
Good luck making the top 20 in this one, let alone the top 10…
And that’s just the men.
While I don’t know the exact women’s lineup, I’m guessing the top contenders will be between Angie Jackson, Sonni Hönscheid, Lina Augaitis, Manca Notar and a bunch of Euro dark horses, while I’ve got a feeling the unstoppable Annabel Anderson might even make an appearance as well.
In short, the 2014 Lost Mills is going to be big. In fact it’ll be perhaps the single most competitive race held outside the United States all year.
The event is also stop #3 on the inaugural Champions Tour season, just to give it another layer of significance. After the ball got rolling at Carolina and continued with OluKai, I’m guessing we’ll start to hear a lot more about the CT in the next few weeks.
The only bummer is that the Lost Mills and Payette River Games clash with each other, which means the world’s best paddlers will be split next weekend. Travis, Kai, Jamie, Slater, Candice, etc will be in Idaho while the other half will be in Germany.
Though considering their event is up against such a lucrative race, not to mention being located a solid 12 hour flight away from the main hubs of SUP racing, I give even more credit to the Lost Mills organisers for having established such a prestigious race. The Lost Mills is held in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Germany, yet gets the kind of names that would put most race directors on cloud nine.
And while I won’t be there myself this year, I competed in the first two editions of the Lost Mills (2012 and 2013) and have very lasting memories from my time in the Bavarian countryside. The fact I drove a 26 hour round-trip to make the event in 2012, followed by a 33 hour marathon in 2013 (through no less than nine countries), should give you an indication of the attraction this event holds.
With the Lost Mills dates for 2015 and 2016 already blocked out on the calendar, I can see this becoming not only Europe’s Premiere SUP race, but one of the best events in the world, period.
SUPracer.com will have a couple of roving reporters on the ground (and in the water) during the race, so we’ll still bring you live updates as the action unfolds.
Can Danny Ching make it a golden start in Europe? Will Connor Baxter go one better than last year? Can Eric Terrien repeat his heroics from 2013 and go back to back? Or will one of the other Euro stars (maybe Casper Steinfath?) steal the glory? And who will salute in the women’s race?
The 2014 Lost Mills is gonna be a great event. And I get the feeling 2015 is gonna be even better…
(There’s still time to register on the official event website if you wanna join in the fun)