Daniel Hasulyo with his first victory this year at Kerama Blue Cup

May 01, 2017

            Daniel with his success in Japan

            First of all, i would like to say a big Thank you to Gama San, to have invited me to the event in Zamami, giving me the chance to experience an incredible competition at one of the most special locations I have ever paddled! It has been my honour to represent the Team and my biggest pleasure to start the year with a strong Victory, with an elite field that turned out to be very competitive, considering the presence of the TOP 3 Japanese riders (Kenny Kaneko, Rhuhei and Kota), sup superstar- Jake Jensen and Paul Jackson from Australia, making every stroke count in well competed battle!

            Once again, in my eyes, it has got clear that the Japanese market and mostly their event organisation is a far step ahead of any other Asian country and the rest of the world.

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            Kerama Blue Cup in Zamami island has been by far one of the most professionally run and broadcasted event I have ever entered. There was the national Sports television doing a full live show, with complete 6 people camera crew, 2 drones, 2 famous MCs (comedians) to make it exciting for everyone! Interviews before and after the race, exciting footage, great atmosphere on the beach! Good music, good food and heaps of smiley faces!

            The ocean around Okinawa looked already astonishing, but arriving with the 2 hour ferry ride to the little island of Zamami has just turned all the sense of our body to a higher frequency charging every receptor with the cleanest air, the most vivid colour combination of blues and greens and the sweetest melody of nature, pampering our soul for the entire weekend!

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            Kerama Blue Cup was a 2-day event, featuring a 15km Elite Long-distance (that turned out to be one of the most gruelling 30knots upwind-sidewind challenges of my career), 6km and 3km for the adventurous sports lovers, 1.5km for the kids and first-time paddler, a Pro Sprint Race and many fun relays!

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            As a big contrast to the Paradise, the has welcomed us on the first day, on Saturday, the weather has drastically changed and nature showed his real power, raising wind gusts up to 30knots and proper ocean swell conditions. The race course was extremely entertaining, combining, channel crossings, island rounding, crazy upwind leg and a big flat water section at the end of the bay…lucky nature spare some action for us and kept on turning the wind direction transforming the race to one of the most challenging/ man-proving race of the season, giving the chance to test our belief in ourselves and to push our limits to a new level!

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            Considering the big flat water part, I raced with my favourite board STARBOARD SPRINT 12’6×23 that despite the incredibly choppy waters, has performed great and almost managed to close the gap with Jake’s “Ace” shaped ocean board, which has shown a potential of our flat water missile! Jake has used really well his ocean experience, while I flex all my flatwater muscles and the outcome was a big smiley 1st and 2nd place after an intense battle with the elements! A huge Congrats to everyone who has finished the race! Especially the girls! And even more a MASSIVE Congratulations to YUKA Sato, for smashing 1st place at the Woman division, leaving Angie Jackson (who has hit a big wall on the upwind leg, where even us with Jake were averaging around 5km/h) at her back!

            15 km. Race result

            Winner: Jake Jensen
            First runner-up: Daniel Hasulyo
            Second runner-up: Kenny Kaneko

            Sunday Zamami rewarded us for the hard work of the day before, the sky cleared up, the wind stopped blowing and the whole island switched back to his unreal beautiful magic, giving the most spectacular colour frame to the Sprint and Fun races, making Kerama Blue Cup the most breathtaking events of the Year!

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            I felt good in the morning, snorkeling around with my girlfriend, Sai, discovering the unlimited amount of fishes, corals, shells and turtles, really gave me a positive charge and I knew that with the best equipment laying on the beach ready to race, I only had to do what I love the most! The board was flying, my muscles were pumping and the crowd went crazy at the last sprint of the Final (Paul Jackson, Kenny Kaneko, Jake Jensen, current Japanese Champ Ryohei Yoshida, Kota Kayashima and myself) when from Start to Finish I paddled my Starboard SPRINT to Victory, I knew that Bruno was 1st at the Golden Bouy at Carolina Cup among 150 elite Paddlers, so I knew that I got to paddle at least as fast as my little brother to conclude the weekend with a great Sprint SUPBROz Style!

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            SPRINT Result

            Winner: Daniel Hasulyo

            First runner-up: Jake Jensen
            Second runner-up: Kenny Kaneko
            4 – Ryohei Yoshida
            5 – Paul Jackson
            6 – Kota Kayashima

Daniel at Kerama Blue Cup_Okinawa 9

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            The rest was a gift nature and life! The relay was very fun, with completely mixed teams laughing and rolling around! Everyone was on the water and the water was everywhere!

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

Photo Credit: Kiyotaka Kitajima

            Thank you very much for the organisers and all the sponsors for this great weekend! Mark your calendars for next year if you want to participate in the MOST BEAUTIFUL RACE OF THE YEAR and never forget to love the Ocean, because that where we are all coming from!

            Thank You STARBOARD Japan! See you soon in a few weeks in Tokyo!

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