ONE Video on Zamami - below
So this is going to have to parts to the blog, the first part is all about Zamami the island and the great event that they put on here and the second part will be a little on the future of this event. Yes there is a big SUP race here on this magical island! and if you haven’t been to it, you have to go!
So lets get started on the really true positive and that is Zamami Island and it wonderful people, this is the 2nd time we have have been here and as you can see from the video this place is truely something magic. Zamami is a 1 hour fast ferry ride from Okinawa and as soon as you enter the islands water you can just tell how special this place is.
We stayed in the Okinawa resort and for us as soon as we arrived the owners meet us at the ferry dock and took us to our accommodation which is nice and neat and perfect for your time on the island. We came to Zamami for the Kerama blue cup which is a Stand up paddle race in some of the most perfect waters you will ever see. The race it self is super well run and open to all levels they have a 18km, 6km, 1km and lots of kids races. The 18km race can be tough and will throw a bit of everything at the paddlers but for 2 hours you will get to paddle in some of the clearest waters on this Earth and around some of the best little islands you will ever see. The race can throw up all kinds of conditions but can be either glassy flat or have a bit of everything so be prepared as it can get tough!!
FULL MOVIE ABOVE and as you will see it is Worth coming not just for the Race but to enjoy this place.
The race is amazing but really only a small part of why you would come here and once the race is done the time to really enjoy the island begins! The events after party's are super fun and watching the locals who many just raced now get on stage and preform in their local music and dance is something very special and a must if you come for the event. The Race itself is highly organised as you would except by Japanese and caters for all racers, Long distance and Shorter distance. Get ready to race the Japanese as they are tough and don’t give up at all as most international riders find racing here.
With the event over the time to explore the island some more starts and, as you can see in the video getting around is super easy as you just jump on a bike and go for it, everything is super close and within a short walk or shorter bike ride. Swimming with the turtles is 5 mins from where you sleep and if you pick the right time of day it's almost guaranteed you will see them.
The FOOD on Zamami is amazing it's just a matter of finding a hidden little gem which they are really on pretty much every street and you will be in food heaven!! So many places to eat and drink along with some western food choices too but you should eat local as it really is amazing.
One of the real special things about Zamami is the people and this is the one part that not everywhere has and just how nice every person is it is a place where everyone smiles and just enjoys life 100% of the time and for most people coming here it is good to see and makes any troubles one might have in the real world just seem pretty small.
Ok so part two of this blog is about the future of this event, the event here has been running for 3 years now and was only ever put in to run for 3 years and if the event grew then it would possibly be run for many more years to come. The first year was fairly small but a still a good turn out for a very unknown event the 2nd year had very good growth as the word had spread so a lot of top riders wanted to come and the prize money was also very good the word from year 1 had spread which was perfect!! now we come to year 3 and numbers were down and this is not what the event wanted to see as it thinks about if it should keep running or if it should invest the locals people money else where.
So why did the numbers drop one may ask and can it be fixed? Well the numbers dropped i feel for many reasons and i am going to try my best to go through some of these here and also offer a solution.
With many saying the sport of SUP racing is dying it would be easy to just say that this is just part of that and oh well it was great while it lasted but this is not the case and not the case by a long shot!! In reality it is the complete opposite and the smaller numbers are due to just to many events and maybe a slightly wrong direction pushed by the race itself.
With the race being quite a long way to go for many top riders and also so many other big events on at the same time getting top riders here is always going to be a little hard, most of the top riders will go to where the most money is and at this time of year that is Europe for the Euro tour so thinking that it is possible to get more than 10 or so top level riders is really just not possible to sustain in to the future and this has showed this year.
The answer for this event is easy and it does not need the top riders to make it work it needs the everyday paddlers it needs the families who want to take their sup family on a trip to a event where they can race but also have a amazing time away together, it needs the paddlers who just love paddling as this is what this place is amazing for.
Just having top riders is cool at a event but if the money is better somewhere else the chances are they will follow where as the people who just love to paddle will come because of the destination and not just because of the race.
One only has to look at the APP events over the years and how they come and go as they only try and please one area of riders, with a event like Zamami that has so much to offer and could really appeal to the more broader average riders this is where the future is and then this event could really be something special that is around for many years to come!!
So who is up for Kerama Blue Cup 2020? We will be back. Thank ONE Japan and Kenny Kaneko for your help during this Trip .