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Exe Hammer 2016

Stand Up Paddleboard Challenge gets better each year & this time we went from Topsham to exmouth

3rd Exe Hammer Challenge brings 77 stand-up paddleboarders to the estuary
– Sunday 25th September 2016, Exe Estuary –


Over 75 stand-up paddleboarders took part in the third Exe Hammer Challenge on Sunday 25th September, bringing a huge display of colour and action to the estuary. This year, the start line was located at Topsham Quay where fantastic sunshine lit up the participants as they began the 12km stretch upstream to the finish line on Exmouth seafront. The event drew a crowd of spectators to the seafront to cheer on the finishers as they dashed by the beach with their boards to complete the race. Competitors and spectators enjoyed a glorious evening on the seafront as the sun set on the after party where participants gathered for drinks and the official prize giving.

The paddleboard armada’s course ran towards Turf Lodge and Starcoss then towards the mouth of the River Exe and the landing at Exmouth Lifeboat station for the finish. Participants faced a strong headwind as they turned the first corner and paddled away from the Goat Walk in Topsham. The front of the fleet was quickly dominated by the more experienced paddlers who used the river’s topography to gain extra distance on their rivals despite the challenging wind.

From the start, it was clear that previous Exe Hammer winner, Paul Simmons from Salcombe was a strong contender for another victory. Sticking hard to his line and focussed on perfecting each stroke, Paul took just 70 minutes to complete the challenge. He led by a clear 300 metres to finish ahead of Tim Bracy from Plymouth who took second in the men’s category, followed closely by ‘Maff’ from Exmouth who took third.

A really impressive performance from Marie Buchan, last year’s winner in the ladies’ category took Gold again this year, finishing just a few minutes behind her partner, Paul Simmons. The couple train and travel all over the world. Speaking after the challenge Marie said: “It is the variety of stand-up paddleboarding that is massively motivating. Some days you enjoy waves, other times there is flat water. The downwind big ocean racing is also incredible’. The couple will now head off to the World Championships in Hawaii. 

Anna Shekhdar from Cornwall took second place in the ladies category and celebrated her win in true style. She said: “The race was a really tactical challenge set amongst fantastic natural beauty; we are really fortunate to take part in this unique race on the Exe.”

In the other divisions, the popular 12ft 6” inflatable class was won by Callum Edge from Weymouth with Silver going to Carl Sawyer and bronze to Stuart Baker, both from Exmouth.

Meanwhile the Round Nose division – the most popular race for recreational paddleboarders saw Alex Large from Topsham take Gold; Ed Hill achieve Silver and Tim Wade take Bronze. In the ladies’ category Holly Henderson from Weymouth took Gold; Sherry Ettery took Silver and Sue Piggott from Lympstone took Bronze. 

The Exe Hammer Challenge’s youngest ever competitor, nine year old Skyla from Lyme Regis completed the event with her father coming a respectable 47th place. 

Matthew Skilton of Exeter City Futures said: “We were delighted to sponsor the Exe Hammer Challenge this year. Keeping fit and having more time to enjoy outdoor activities is really important to people, the Exe Hammer is a wonderful example of a local opportunity to do just that.  It’s also an event that’s inclusive; as well as a handful of impressive elite paddleboarders, there were also local people of all ages and abilities taking part, including young families and even a dog! Steph and Eric Bridge of Edge Watersport organised a stand-out event and we encourage everyone to put a note in their diaries to take part in 2017.”

The Exe Hammer Challenge was also sponsored by Hannlons Brewery and the Pig & Pallet who provided beers and hot food for the after party.

To find out more about The Exe Hammer Challenge, visit: www.edgewatersports.com/index.php?page=exe-hammer